19 October 2021 (updated)

Is Car Ownership Right for Me? Figuring Out Your First Car

Getting behind the wheel is an exciting rite of passage! Whether you’re buying, leasing or being given a car, it’s important to know the ins and outs of car ownership

Getting a car can be an important signpost in a person’s life! There may be fewer people purchasing vehicles these days, but driving is still popular for the accessibility it provides. But, before making any big investments in a vehicle, it’s important to consider all the variables. Car ownership can come with a lot of responsibility and cost, so be sure you know what you’re getting into!

Should I Buy a Car?

What’s Involved in Car Ownership?

It’s easy to be lured by a ruby-red convertible, but it’s important to know what car ownership really entails. To keep your car highway-ready and maintain safety, you’ll need to stay on top of all the necessary maintenance! Make sure that you check your vehicle’s fluids once a month. You can review your vehicle manual to ensure the oil, windshield fluid, coolant and antifreeze are as they should be. It’s also important to have an oil change every three months so the engine runs well. Annually, you’ll want to do the following things:

  • Check the brakes
  • Change the air filter
  • Refill the antifreeze
  • Lubricate the chassis
  • Test Wheel Alignment
  • Replace the Wiper Blades

Like a house or having a child, a car is a significant investment. For this reason, it’s important to know your options whether you’re considering a Volvo or a Tesla. The popularity of public transit means that a car may not be necessary if you’re centrally located. There are also a number of rideshares that can put you on the road without a car! However, if car ownership is your goal it’s important to ask the right questions. In addition to deciding the type of car, you’ll need to determine your budget and go on some test drives. Taking the time to understand car ownership trends will ensure that you’ll be investing in something you feel good about.

What’s Involved in Car Ownership?

How Much Does a Car Cost?

Whether you’re investing in a Ford or a Jaguar, knowing the car ownership cost per year can be eye-opening. Beyond the monthly payment, the average cost of gasoline in 2016 was $1909 annually (U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics). But, there are other costs, like oil changes and car maintenance, which add up to approximately $2884. This doesn’t include an additional set of tires either!

It’s easy to forget that about parking, but this will also set you back. And, while many buyers don’t think about vehicle depreciation, your car will lose value each year. Investing in real estate and stocks increases net worth, but a car is money you won’t get back!

How Does Car Insurance Work?

You might think it’s alright to forget about car insurance if you stick to the speed limit. But, it’s an important part of car ownership, and the penalties can be big for not getting insured! Not only does auto insurance provide you with property coverage, but medical and liability coverage. Most states require a liability insurance policy that covers injuries the insured may cause someone else. It also covers damage to another car and may extend to external damages to buildings and fences, etc. Personal Injury Protection guards the driver and passenger for injuries sustained while comprehensive coverage covers disasters like earthquakes and floods. It’s difficult to predict what happens on the road, but insurance means you’re not on the hook if something goes wrong.

Owning a car can be exciting, but it’s important to know car ownership costs before signing on the dotted line. If you’re currently considering purchasing a car, share your knowledge with us in our comments section or your loved ones on FamilyApp! Whether you decide to buy, lease, or rideshare, the freedom, and self-sufficiency of driving can be worth the money.

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