5 Hidden Costs Of Owning A Car In Singapore

9 Nov 2015

Extra! Extra!

Are cars affordable in Singapore? Some, especially those who bought their cars in the 2008-2009 cycle, may look at their monthly installments and nod in agreement.

Not anymore, obviously. And even if the COE is cheap, tacked on top of the high tax duties and COE are some hidden costs of car ownership many of us never really take into account when we sign on the dotted line at the dealership…

Such as:


1.         Traffic, ERP and parking violations

As careful as we Singaporean drivers are, some rules are meant to be broken. Like for example, speed limits. Who hasn’t received a warning letter for travelling over 80km/h along Lornie Road? What is it about this road that makes it such a nexus of evil? I’ve got three tickets alone, out of that oddly well-policed stretch over the last 3 years.

And then there’s of course, parking violations. Depending on where you committed the offence, a fine of 30 to 70 dollars may be imposed. And just occasionally, you’ll be beeped for not having enough cash in your cash card when passing under an ERP gantry.

In short, nothing new here for seasoned drivers. Still, for newer drivers, these costs may or may not add up, depending on your sensitivity to excessive expenses.

So, if you are counting your dollars for investments or savings next year, it’ll be prudent to set aside extra cash in your car expenses budget to cater to unforeseen fines and unintended violations.

For example, I know I get a speeding ticket once a year on average, and a couple of parking violations, so I’ve put aside $300 in my yearly car budget to pay these off.



2.         Servicing and minor repairs

As a good car owner, you’ll be sending your car for regular servicing. This will invariably involve oil changes, alignment checks, refilling of brake and steering fluids, change of air filters and other miscellanous items.

Depending on your frequency of service, and whether you get your servicing done with the dealer you bought the car from, you might have to set apart up to $450 a year for this.

This category of costs also includes minor replacements, because they sort of just creep up on you. I’m including new tyres, brake pads, windshield wiper blades and light bulbs into this spread of hidden costs, to remind you that a car consumes more than just petrol and oil, but is an almost organic mass of different parts that work as a system – and wear out, as a system.

Not to mention, the costs of calling a tow truck and replacements or repairs of flat tyres.


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