What’s The True Cost Of Vehicle Ownership?

What’s The True Cost Of Vehicle Ownership?

Malaysians often complain of high car prices in the country, due to the excise duty. It was reported that KL is the fifth most expensive city to buy a new mid-size car compared to 54 other cities across the globe.

However, according to the same report  we come in as the fourth cheapest when it comes to petrol prices. Despite the high cost of car, Malaysians seem to be on a roll when it comes to car ownership as the number of Malaysians using vehicles is projected to increase 1.4 times to 31 million by 2030.

If you are looking to buy a car soon, it would be wise to do your research on how much does a car exactly cost. The cost of car ownership is not as simple as paying for your car loan, but it also involves the cost of day-to-day running of your car.

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The total cost goes beyond its purchase price when you consider out-of-pocket expenses like petrol and insurance, plus the car’s loss in value over time (depreciation).

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Let’s examine the true cost of owning a Proton Preve 1.6 CVT Executive at RM61, 090.94 for five years.

1. Financing

Unless you started saving the day you were born just to buy a brand new Proton Preve, chances are you will have to get a hire purchase loan to afford a car in Malaysia.

If you go the usual route, you will have to fork out 10% of the car price, and the rest of the 90% will be financed. Here is how much you will have to pay in interest over a five-year tenure:

Interest rate: 3.5%

Tenure: 5 years

Monthly Installment: RM1,076.71

Total interest over loan tenure: RM9621.80

*Calculation is based on Proton car loan calculator

With the maximum hire purchase loan tenure at nine years, car buyers who choose the longer loan tenure will have to fork out more on financing over time. Find out how much your will be paying in interest on a longer loan tenure.

2. Depreciation

Depreciation is one of the highest costs in owning a car. It is how well the vehicle holds its value over time. This is particularly important if you keep the car for less than five years as the depreciation rate is always higher in the initial years of ownership.

The moment you receive the keys from the car dealer, you’ve already lost thousands of Ringgit, and this crazy phenomenon is known as depreciation.

To illustrate how much depreciation will cost you for a 5-year-old Proton Preve:

Calculation of depreciation of a Proton Preve

Price of a brand new car: RM61,090.94

Depreciation rate: 51%

Depreciation value: 31,156.38

Value of a 5-year old Proton Preve: 29,934.56

Factors that can accelerate the depreciation rate of a car are the mileage, brand, and history of reliability, degree of wear and tear, modifications and who you sell your car to (selling your car to a car dealer will lower your selling price further).

3. Petrol consumption

Surprisingly, petrol is the second highest cost of vehicle ownership.

Choosing a car with good rated economy may be able to help you lower this cost. A Preve boasted a 6.6 litre per 100 km at 90km/h. Assuming an average of 1,000 km a month, here is how much you are estimated to pay for petrol over five years.

Petrol consumption over 5 years

Petrol price: RM2.08/litre*

Total mileage: 1,000km x 12 months x 5 years = 60,000km

Total petrol consumption: 60,000km ÷ 100km x 6.6 litre = 3,960 litre which costs RM8,236.80

*Calculation is based on the current petrol price and will fluctuate according to petrol price.

4. Maintenance and repair

The key to keeping vehicles running well, and repair cost low down the road of car ownership is to do routine maintenance.

Though many new cars today comes with a 5-year warranty, the manufacturer warranty usually does not cover service cost. The general service maintenance schedule for Proton Preve is as follows:

Distance and timeMaintenance cost
10,000km / 6 monthsRM121.09
20,000km / 12 monthsRM184.76
30,000km / 18 monthsRM191.05
40,000km / 24 monthsRM384.05
50,000km / 30 monthsRM191.05
60,000km / 36 monthsRM730.19
70,000km / 42 monthsRM191.05
80,000km / 48 monthsRM384.05
90,000km / 54 monthsRM255.14
100,000km / 60 monthsRM378.95
TOTALRM3011.38

Some of the common maintenance routine involves engine oil, engine oil filter, drain plug gasket, spark plugs, and air filter while the relatively uncommon ones involve fuel filter, transmission oil and FEAD Belt.

As the Proton Preve comes with a 5-year warranty, you can save some money on repairs, assuming that the warranty covers the repairs you require. However, to be on the safe side, the general rule of thumb is to allocate 1% of your car value every year for maintenance purpose, and to have an emergency fund of 10% of your car value for unexpected servicing cost.

5. Road Tax

Depending on where the car was bought (Peninsular or East Malaysia), type of vehicle ownership (private or company) and engine capacity, road tax is one mandatory cost that you are unable to escape from.

For a Preve of 1.6cc in Peninsular Malaysia, the road tax rate is RM90.00 a year. That amounts to RM450 over five years.

6. Insurance

Another annual cost of owning a car is motor insurance premium. This can be significantly higher than your road tax cost as it depends on the value of your car. You can use our car insurance calculator to find out your car insurance premium.

Here’s the estimate of the annual motor insurance premium for a Preve:

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* The above calculation is based on comprehensive motor insurance coverage, not inclusive of windshield cover or no claim discount (NCD).

For those who stay or commute in flood-prone areas, it will save you a lot of money if you opt for flood coverage for your motor insurance.

7. Parking and toll

Unfortunately, the cost of vehicle ownership does not end here. There are still other miscellaneous costs that may look insignificant, but can add up to quite a sum. Here are some hidden costs that you may have overlooked.

If you are unfortunate enough to work in the city centre, be prepared to fork out at least RM200 a month for a parking bay. This does not include the various parking fees we pay when we go for meetings and shopping.

Let’s assume a city driver spend about RM230 a month on parking alone.

There are still toll payments to consider. Almost every major highway in the Klang Valley has a toll booth. You can easily pay at least RM80 a month in toll, if you happen to drive pass a tolled road to work every day.

In five years? That will come up to RM13,800 in parking fees and RM4,800 in toll! That’s a cool RM18,600 out of your pocket in five years.

Do bear in mind that the parking and toll costs can vary greatly depending on where you are located and your driving habits. Someone who don’t commute to the city centre, and lucky enough to get free parking at work, may see a very low cost in this category.

How much would you be paying? 

Vehicle cost gfx

This means an individual needs to pay RM78,771.36 to own a local car for five years!

Though it’s easy to be a car owner in Malaysia, it is one of the main reasons why our disposable income is as pathetic as it is right now. Owning a car may still be essential to us, but it sure does not come easy.

With the MRT and more LRT lines coming up, let’s hope having a car becomes less of a necessity for Malaysians.

Find out how you can save money on petrol by answering this simple quiz.

This article was first published on Jan 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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