Tips, Tricks & Trends

Biggest Car Costs That Aren’t Your Monthly Payment

Buying a car responsibly usually required a lot of budgeting and a lot of research. Even the most thorough driver can forget that the car payment each month is far from the only cost your car can, or might, have. In fact, there are some costs that add up pretty quick and some that are less frequent but just as expensive. When you’re looking for your next car, it’s important to keep all of these big expenses in mind, besides what you can finance.

Insurance, registration, and inspections

Let’s start with the bare minimum. Every state requires your surface-street driving vehicle to be registered, and even though each state has different laws on how much insurance they require, you are required to have insurance to register your vehicle as well. Insurance can be completely in monthly installments or as big chunks every few months and can vary drastically based on the car and driver themselves.

Registration varies by state as well, but it is never free. If you live in a state that requires an inspection to maintain your registration status, you have to pay for that too, and if you’ve ever taken your car to be inspected, you know that the costs of necessary changes can stack up quickly.

Car Insurance Premiums
Car Insurance Premiums | Steve Liss/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

All of those cool features that actually require subscription

Walking around a dealership lot, the sales team isn’t shy from boasting about all of the cool new technology and features each car has. A lot of them sound great but aren’t really that practical. Some features, like WiFi and hotspot, require a monthly subscription to maintain. Sure, the first month or two after you buy a new vehicle, you will enjoy those subscriptions for a free trial period. Just long enough to get you hooked.

It is becoming more and more common for car features to be based on a monthly subscription, which just means more money out of the consumers’ pockets. While we understand paying for services like internet connectivity, some companies have threatened to make a basic choice like heated seats a subscription that you have to pay monthly to enjoy.

Wifi hotspot in car
Man uses smartphone in car | Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

RELATED: BMW Wants to Make Heated Seats a Subscription Service

And, of course, repairs and maintenance

Repair costs and maintenance costs are the downfalls of buying a used luxury car. While luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW depreciate like crazy to the point where you can actually afford them, the cost to complete repairs or even basic maintenance like oil changes is much higher than it is in your average car.

An employee prepares a new BMW 328i for display during its presentation in the southern German city of Munich | ANDREAS GEBERT/DPA/AFP, Getty Images

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While buying a used Porsche Cayenne for under $30,000 sounds like a bargain, it is a trap that many people, unfortunately, fall for. When the mechanic bill for your BMW 328i starts racking up and you end up ditching the car, it isn’t as affordable as you probably thought to start.