There are many ways of calculating the cost of owning a car in Singapore. Some people simply look at the sales price of the car while others may calculate how much it cost them on a monthly basis.
In Singapore, one way of finding out the cost of owning a car is to calculate how much you are likely to spend over 10 years. A 10-year period is a good basis to calculate cost, since new cars bought will come with a 10-year Certificate of Entitlement (COE).
In this article, we will explore how much you can expect to spend on a car over a 10-year period.
Cost Of Owning A Car
In general, there are six main cost areas to consider when we are calculating the cost of owning a car in Singapore that we have to consider before purchasing it.
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Each of these cost areas will differ, depending on the car that you are driving, your profile and your usage.
To help us with the calculation, we will base the estimated cost of owning a car on the Toyota Corolla Altis. As of the time of writing, a Toyota Altis costs $137,888.
Cost Of Car
The sales price of an entry-level Toyota Altis is $137,888. This includes the cost of the COE (the COE price is $78,889 at the point of writing).
However, to say that the car costs $137,888 is not entirely accurate. That’s because consideration has to be given to the fact that car owners receive some money back if their cars are deregistered after 10 years, when the COE expires. This is known as the PARF rebate.
For example, a Toyota Altis will receive a PARF rebate of $9,699 if it’s deregistered after 10 years. This means the actual cost of the car is actually $128,189 (inclusive of a COE that based on the current market will be approximately $137,888). Do note that if you extend your COE, you will not get any PARF rebate back.
Cost Of Car – $128,189
Unless you intend to pay the sales price of the car in full, interest is a cost area that you cannot ignore. Simple math suggests that 1) the more you borrow and 2) the longer your loan duration is, the higher your interest cost is going to be.
There is a limit to how much you can borrow as well to finance your car purchase. For cars with an Open Market Value (OMV) of up to $20,000, an amount of up to 70% of the purchase price can be loaned. For cars with an OMV of more than $20,000, an amount of up to 60% of the purchase price of the car can be loaned.
In our example, we will assume that a buyer pays a 40% down payment ($55,155) and borrow the remaining 60% ($82,733). If we assume a 2% p.a. interest and loan duration of 7 years (maximum allowed), the total interest incurred would be $11,582.
Interest Cost – $11,582
The road tax for a Toyota Altis is $742 per year. Over a 10-year period, car owners would pay $7,420.
Road Tax – $7,420
In Singapore, car insurance is mandatory. How much you pay for your insurance depends on a few factors including 1) the coverage you want, 2) the car you own 3) your current age and 4) your driving history.
If this is your first car, you can expect to pay about $1,500 per year. Over a 10-year period, you can expect to pay about $15,000. However, if you go accident-free during that period, you can progressively enjoy a no-claim discount (NCD) of 10% each year, up to a maximum of usually 50%.
Car Insurance – $15,000
Parking, ERP & Petrol
If you are buying a car, we expect that you intend to use it regularly. This means additional costs being incurred for parking, ERP and petrol.
Season parking at HDB estate is $110 per month. Additional parking may apply if you have to pay for parking at your workplace.
We will assume ERP charges to be $30 each month.
A full tank (50 litres) for the Toyota Altis gives you about 750km (on paper 15km/l). Assuming you drive on average about 25km per day and are able to achieve the fuel consumption being advertised, you will find yourself pumping a full tank once every month. This should cost you about $150 per month, assuming a cost of $3.00 per litre. This is an extremely conservative estimate and you should expect to spend more if you drive often and are not able to achieve the fuel consumption stated by the manufacturer.
The total cost for parking, ERP and petrol will be $290 per month. Over a 10-year period, you can expect to pay about $31,800.
Parking, ERP & Petrol – $34,800
Servicing is trickier to calculate since that depends on how often you drive your car and how well you maintain it.
Generally speaking, you should not be expecting any troubles in your first five years unless you bought a lemon though regular servicing will be required. When the car becomes older, the probability of a major servicing required with parts being replaced increases substantially.
In our case, we will assume a servicing cost of $500 per year for 10 years and an additional amount of $5,000 set aside for major parts replacement and repair over a 10-year period.
You may not need to spend that much if you take proper care of your car but it makes sense to set that money aside first.
Servicing – $10,000
Total Cost Of Our Toyota Altis (Over A 10-Year Period)
|Type of Cost||Cost|
|Cost of car||$128,189|
|Parking, ERP & Petrol||$34,800|
|Total Cost (Over 10 Years)||$206,991|
From the table above, we can see that the total cost of owning a car over a 10-year period is about $206,991 based on our estimate. This is about 50% higher than the listed sales price of the car.
The calculation is also based on our vehicle usage assumptions. However, if you use your vehicle more frequently, your petrol, parking, and servicing costs will be much higher, in tandem with your increase in usage, and this would increase your overall cost. For example, even an extra $150 spend on petrol each month (the approximate cost of a full tank top-up) would add up to $18,000 over a 10-year period. So, it’s possible that the cost of owning a Toyota Altis could be close to about $220,000 to $230,000 over a 10-year period.
Before buying a car, it’s important for you to ask yourself whether you are able (and willing) to spend more than $200,000 over a period of 10 years for the privilege of owning a car. The convenience and prestige of owning a car may be tempting for some, but so is having $200,000 more to save and invest towards your retirement nest egg.
This article was first published on 6 July 2018 and updated with the latest information on COE and car prices
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