Average Cost of Owning a Car in Singapore

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Image of a car in the spotlight with a bill in the background

You have probably heard of umpteenth claims that the cost of owning a car in Singapore is expensive. But do you actually know how much it will cost to own a car in Singapore? Today, we aim to break down the various costs of owning a car in Singapore to help you plan your finances before you get a car.

What is the average cost of owning a car in Singapore?

1. Buying the car

The cost of the car: Toyota Corolla Altis Elegance

Image of a Toyota Corolla Altis

Source: Toyota

Honda and Toyota have been the top selling brands in Singapore in the past 1.5 years. To align our article with most Singaporeans, we shall use Toyota Corolla Altis as our preferred car model. From Borneo Motors’ official website, the cost of a Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 Elegance – Sedan is around $70,000. (Note that this figure is working backwards since car dealers do not sell cars alone. The cars are usually packaged a COE, either guaranteed or non-guaranteed COE).

Image showing the cost of a Corolla Altis with COE

Source: Borneo Motors

Borneo Motors’ latest price for a Toyota Corolla Altis is between $110,988 and $113,988. This amount is inclusive of the registration fee ($140), in-vehicle unit ($160.50), number plate ($39.50) and six months of prevailing road tax ($372).

Hidden cost: Interest rate on your car loan

Under the new MAS regulations as of 2016, you can loan up to 60 percent of your car value. This means that you will have to take a loan of ~$44,400 from financial institutions or your auto dealer.

To calculate the interest rate cost of the car loan, we take the average interest rate that banks charge on car loans. While DBS offers a low-interest rate of 2.18%, most banks are still charging 2.78%. Thus, we will use 2.78% for calculation purpose.

At 2.78% and a seven-year loan tenure, you will eventually need to pay $53,040 on your loan of $44,400.

Cost of your car (including COE and Car Loan):$111,000 + $8,640.50 (Interest On Car Loan) = $119,640.50

Related: Car Loan Refinancing: Is It A Good Idea?

2. Regulatory requirements

Car insurance: Cost that you cannot avoid

Before your car steps onto Singapore’s roads, it is mandatory for you to be insured under the law. Thus, car insurance is a mandatory spending for you. Like all insurance, the type of car insurance ranges from basic to comprehensive coverage.

Most car owners prefer to go with the comprehensive car insurance as the coverage is more comprehensive for slightly more premium every year. The coverage includes death or injury to third parties, damage to third parties’ car, fire, theft and medical costs arising from a car accident.

For new drivers, the average cost of a comprehensive car insurance is around $2,000. But as your driving age increases, the premium becomes lower. In general, once you have more than three years of driving experience, your car insurance premium reduces to around $1,100-$1,500 per year.

For safe drivers who do not meet with any car accidents, there will be an additional discount from no-claim discount (which is capped at 50%). Overall, car insurance will set you back by ~$14,000 for a period of 10 years.

Car insurance: $14,000 over a 10-year period

Road tax: A necessary expenditure

Another necessary expenditure from owning a car is your road tax. For a new Toyota Corolla, road tax will amount to $744 per year. This means that over a ten-year period, the amount of road tax payable to LTA will be $7,440.

Road Tax: $7,400 for 10 years

3. Car maintenance

Maintenance: Third party workshop vs. authorised dealer’s workshop

Image of a mechanic leaning into the bonnet of a car

Source: Toyota

It is advisable for cars to be sent in for repairs once every 10,000 km and 20,000 km has been accumulated on your car. On average, it will take about six months to accumulate mileage of 10,000 km.

This means that every six months, you will need to send in your car for regular maintenance. You should also send in your car once every year for a major maintenance.

Each regular maintenance cost around $250 while each major maintenance cost $360. (Note that each maintenance is highly dependent on the parts that are being replaced and might exceed the average maintenance cost mentioned here). On average, you will need to fork out $6,100 for maintenance over a ten-year period.

There are two choices for you: third party workshops or authorised dealers. Authorised dealers offer reliable high-quality service and thus, charges more for their service. In comparison, third party workshops might offer cheaper rates. Based on estimates, third party workshops will cost 20-30% lower than authorised dealers’ workshops.

Car maintenance cost: $4,270 – $6,100 depending on choice of workshop

Parking: Don’t underestimate the fees

Season parking fee is another cost that you have to fork out every month. Season parking in HDB car parks has recently been raised to $110 for sheltered car parks and $80 for non-sheltered car parks. In addition, you might also need season parking to allow you to park your car at your office.

Image of the season parking rates at CBD

Referring to the season parking rates of CapitaLand’s commercial buildings, the average cost of parking at Central Business District (CBD) is $350 per month.

Season parking cost: $13,200 (HDB) + $42,000 (Office Season Parking) over 10 years

For those of us who visit the shopping centres on weekends, parking cost at shopping centres will be an additional discretionary spending that needs to be considered. Most of us spend an average of 5-7 hours at the shopping mall, depending on whether we are shopping for groceries, window shopping or simply enjoying a good movie.

Discretionary Parking Cost (Shopping Centre): $5,712 over ten years assuming one visit to shopping malls on weekends, spending seven hours on each visit. (Parking cost estimation: $1.70 per hour)

4. Petrol: At the mercy of oil prices

The fuel cost for each car is dependent on its fuel economy, which varies for different car model and car brands. This can be calculated using One Motoring’s fuel cost calculator to estimate the average cost of fuel. According to One Motoring, the annual fuel consumption for Toyota Corolla Altis is 6.1L per 100km.

To calculate the fuel cost, we use the pump price of Shell FuelSave 95 ($2.09) and Shell FuelSave 95 ($2.40). Assuming an annual mileage of 20,000km (consistent with maintenance assumptions), the annual fuel cost for your Toyota Corolla Altis is $2,549.80 and $2,928 respectively.

Fuel cost: $25,498 – $29,280 over 10 years

Related: 3 Must Have Credit Cards for the Petrolhead

And the total cost?

At the end of the day, owning a car provides us with lots of convenience and comfort. But it could also cost you more than you can afford. Use the costs we have below as a guide and see if owning a vehicle in Singapore fits within your budget.

  1. Cost of your car (including COE and Car Loan): $119,640.50
  2. Car insurance: $14,000 over a 10-year period
  3. LTA Road tax: $7,400 for 10 years
  4. Car maintenance cost: $4,270 – $6,100 depending on choice of workshop
  5. Season parking cost: $13,200 (HDB) + $42,000 (Office Season Parking) over 10 years
  6. Fuel cost: $25,498 – $29,280 over 10 years

Average cost of owning a car: ~$226,000 – $231,600 over 10 years

If this amount makes you fall off your seat, you can also consider buspooling or find ways to save money so that you can afford a car.


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