A private car is a real money sink, guzzling more than CHF 10’000 a year. Here we break down the costs of maintenance, insurance and depreciation and compare them to the Mobility car-sharing scheme.
You’re as pleased as Punch. There it is at long last: your dream car. It gleams proudly in the sunlight in front of your garage. The salesman was extremely friendly and served you a pot of complimentary coffee, the test drive was exhilarating and the purchase price is just within your budget. You fell in love and signed on the dotted line. So everything’s hunky-dory then, right?
Not exactly. Because it’s highly likely that you’re underestimating the annual cost of your ride: an average of CHF 10’500, as calculated by the Touring Club (TCS). Let’s unpack that number.
In Switzerland, you can’t avoid third-party liability insurance for motor vehicles. Naturally, the premium will vary depending on the insurer, vehicle, type of cover and no-claims bonus. But on average, you pay CHF 1’000 for vehicle protection – year in, year out. Incidentally, leases incur a higher amount, as they are also subject to fully comprehensive insurance and special surcharges.
Cars also need a roof over their heads. Or at least an outdoor parking space where they can sit motionless for 23 of the day’s 24 hours. Yes, you read that correctly – a car in Switzerland is only driven for an hour a day on average. That adds up to CHF 1’600 for the parking space.
Annual maintenance costs come to CHF 850. This includes motor vehicle inspection, exhaust emission maintenance and servicing. When it comes to the latter, the bigger the car, the more expensive it is. Then there are repairs following accidents or breakdowns to take into account.
The human brain has an important capacity: the ability to forget. Without it, burdensome memories would always make life difficult for us. This is probably why many people seem to push the purchase price of their car as far to the back of their mind as possible. Experts reckon that a car will lose all its value after ten years, with the level of depreciation being disproportionately high over the first two years. Or to put it simply: every year, on average, you can flush 10% of the purchase price down the drain – equivalent to CHF 3’500 for the average car as defined by Touring Club Schweiz. Ouch. But it’s not just the age of a vehicle that counts, it’s also the number of kilometres it covers: 2% of the original price is slashed for every 10’000 kilometres driven.
Yes, they cost money too. CHF 1’600 is spent at fuel pumps and CHF 500 goes on tyres. Tyres are an important safety factor and must be replaced after around 30’000 kilometres, depending on driving style. The tread should be at least 1.6 mm deep (for winter tyres it should be 4 mm).
Taxes, interest and other expenses come in at CHF 850.
Conclusion: very few people are aware of how expensive a private car actually is. If you’re thinking of spending more than CHF 10’000, you should think twice – even if you’re only considering a second car. Mobility and public transport combined are the perfect alternative, especially if you live in a city. Of course, these means of transport are not free either, but they will save you CHF 4’000 a year.