Don't Forget to Consider These 4 Costs Before Buying a Vehicle

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  • Before buying a new car, you should think about the everyday costs you'll pay to use it. 
  • Car insurance and vehicle repair costs are two examples of expenses you should research before replacing your car. 

Don't focus only on the price tag when buying a new car. Consider these costs, too. 

Whether purchased used or new, a vehicle is a significant expense for most people. The price of the car itself isn't the only expense. If you're planning to replace your car soon, you want to make sure you consider all of the costs associated with your purchase. Find out what other expenses you should plan for when figuring out what vehicle to buy: 

1. Car insurance

Car insurance is a requirement in almost all U.S. states. If you're paying for car insurance now, you should know the price could change when you switch vehicles. Some cars are cheaper to insure than others. 

Your insurance needs may also change. If you own the car outright, you may have less coverage. However, if you're looking to get a new vehicle and plan to finance your purchase, you'll likely need to boost your coverage. 

It's good practice to price out the cost of car insurance before buying a car. Insurance rates can help you determine which car to buy. 

Check out our list of best car insurance companies to get a quote for car insurance coverage. 

2. Tire costs

Tires are a necessary part of any car. Depending on the type of vehicle you drive, new tires can add up. A larger vehicle like a truck or SUV will require different tires than a smaller vehicle like a sedan. If you switch vehicle types, you may pay more for tires. 

A recent Consumer Reports survey looked at what prices members paid for replacement tires:

  • The median purchase price per tire for sedan, hatchback, and wagon vehicles was $137. 
  • The median purchase price per tire for SUVs was $162. 

That's a difference of $100 for a full set of tires. These costs also don't include installation charges. 

There will come a time when you need to replace your tires, so you want to make sure you understand what you'll be paying. Do some research before you commit to a new car.

3. Repairs

Not all vehicles have the same repair costs. Some car parts may be more expensive or rare, while others are more affordable and common. Some brands and models may be less likely to break down or need repair work beyond regular maintenance. 

Before getting any vehicle, you should research car part costs and repair costs to get a feel for what expenses you might pay in the future.

You can use Kelley Blue Book to research repair costs and typical vehicle issues by make and model to make a more informed buying decision. 

4. Gas

Unless you're planning to buy an all-electric vehicle, gas prices are another factor to consider when getting a new car. Not all cars are fuel efficient. Before you go car shopping, check the vehicle's fuel economy.

A car's fuel economy is a number that tells you how far a vehicle can drive using a certain amount of fuel. In the United States, the standard measure is miles per gallon or MPG. The higher the MPG, the less fuel a car uses.  

Choosing to buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle will save you money on gas costs. The United States Department of Energy's website outlines the MPG for cars.

Whether you buy a new vehicle or one new to you, don't only look at the price tag -- plan for other vehicle expenses to ensure your purchase fits your budget and financial plan. 

For other ways to save money, check out these personal finance resources.  

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