Fixed costs: What you have to reckon with
Fixed costs are those costs that you will have to pay not matter what or how you drive. The TCS estimates annual fixed costs to amount to around CHF 6,000. This includes the following outlay:
In order to be allowed to drive your vehicle in Switzerland, you must register it. You do this at the driver and vehicle licensing office in your canton of residence. Provided that all the documents are in order, the driver and vehicle licensing office will issue you with the license plates and the vehicle registration document. In the canton of Zurich, the plates, including the vehicle registration card, cost about CHF 80.
To learn how to successfully register your vehicle, read our blog post "Vehicle registration? This is how it can be done quickly and easily".
In Switzerland, motor third party liability insurance is mandatory. It covers damage to other vehicles, people or property caused by your car. In addition to the mandatory motor third party liability insurance, you can also take out fully comprehensive or partial casco insurance. With leasing, fully comprehensive insurance is usually mandatory.
n our blog post about fully comprehensive and partial casco insurance, you can read about which insurance is worthwhile for you.
Your car loses value every day – even if it's just sitting in the garage. As a rule of thumb, you can expect a loss in value of around 10% per year. New cars lose significantly more value than older vehicles, especially in the first year.
Lease or loan installments
If you lease your car, then you have to pay your lease installment every month. How high this is depends on various factors, such as the vehicle costs or the contract duration. If you have taken out a loan, the loan installments are due every month.
Motor vehicle tax
If your vehicle is registered, you must also pay motor vehicle tax each year. The amount of this varies from canton to canton. The cantons may use the following factors to calculate taxes: Engine cubic capacity, power (hp), gross weight, curb weight, or CO2 emissions. Environmentally friendly vehicles even receive tax relief in some cantons. And e-cars are completely exempt from traffic tax in certain cantons.
Motor vehicle inspection (MVI)
At regular intervals, you will be asked by the driver and vehicle licensing office to bring your vehicle for inspection. The motor vehicle inspection is used to assess whether your vehicle meets the legal requirements. In the canton of Zurich, the MVI for a passenger car costs around CHF 56.
Motorway tax sticker
If you are driving your car on a Swiss motorway or freeway, you need a motorway vignette or tax sticker. This costs CHF 40 per year.
Your car will need a parking space. It is best to have a parking space at your home and also at your place of work, if you drive your car to work. A parking space in an underground car park can be a rare and expensive commodity in cities. A less expensive alternative is the resident parking card, which is available for certain districts and neighborhoods. With this you can park your car in the Blue Zone of your residential district. In certain communities, you also have the option of parking your vehicle overnight in a public car park lot or street. As a so-called "night parker" you pay a monthly fee for this.
Variable costs: Vehicle operating costs
Variable costs refer to maintenance costs that depend on the vehicle and personal driving behavior. They are the operating costs, those expenses that ensure your car can run. The TCS estimates variable costs to be around CHF 4,000 per year. These include:
Whether petrol, diesel or electricity for the electric car: The more you drive, the more you spend on fuel. The cost of these varies significantly.
The same applies to tires: The more often you drive your own car, the faster your tires will wear out. Buying four new tires can be quite expensive. Furthermore, you will also need summer or winter tires by the next season at the latest.
Service and repairs
On average, you can expect to pay CHF 600 to CHF 1,000 per 10,000 kilometers driven for services, emissions maintenance and various repairs. However, these costs can also vary greatly.
You will also have with monthly maintenance costs for cleaning, oil changes or accessories. Additional costs may unfortunately also find their way into your mailbox in the form of fines.
Reducing your costs when traveling by car
The rule of thumb is: The smaller and more economical the vehicle, the lower the maintenance costs. So an inexpensive small car like the VW Golf will cost you less than a big, heavy SUV. Whether new cars or used cars are cheaper to maintain cannot be said in general. This means that even a new, modern compact car with a factory warranty and free services can be comparatively inexpensive to maintain.
Good to know: As the owner of an electric vehicle, you can use Zurich Z Volt to charge your e-car at low prices.