Maintenance costs: The costs of a car

Car maintenance

Maintenance costs: The costs of a car

Insurance, repairs, leasing: Even after the purchase, you will always have to spend money on your vehicle. You should therefore think about the car maintenance costs before you choose a vehicle. Because there's potential to save money.
A vehicle costs over CHF 10,000 per year to maintain. At least this is the conclusion of TCS. Whether you have to spend more or less money depends on your vehicle and your driving habits. You can divide the cost of car maintenance into fixed costs and variable costs.

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:

Vehicle registration
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.

Parking space/Garage
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.

Other costs
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.

Save money with car insurance:

Besides the vehicle itself, there are other ways to save money. For example, with the insurance. Because it’s also possible to save money with the insurance premiums. You can, for example, cancel comprehensive insurance or parking damage cover on older vehicles after a few years.

An interesting alternative to traditional car insurance, especially for people do not drive much, is Zurich MyWay car insurance. With Zurich Myway, you only pay for the distance actually driven, in addition to a small basic fee. 

Tip: Don’t just look at the premium with car insurance, be sure to look at the scope of the coverage and the services provided in the event of a loss. These vary considerably from one policy to another.

Zurich MyWay: Kilometer-based billing

Do you only drive a car from time to time? For example, only at the weekends or for shopping? With Zurich MyWay you can reduce your monthly costs. In addition to a small basic fee, you only pay when you actually use your car. 

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