The total cost of owning a car can be determined by several different factors. While the price you pay for the car is certainly a large factor, it's not the only cost that needs to be considered. You must also consider how much it costs to maintain, insure and fuel the car.
Why do these other costs matter when you're determining the total cost of owning a car? Let's say that you spent $1,000 putting new brakes on a car that you paid $500 for. With that additional cost, you have now effectively paid $1,500 to provide yourself with a vehicle. If you pay $500 a year over five years to insure the car, that will add up to an additional $2,500 to keep your car on the road. If you spend $100 a month on gas for your car, you will end up spending an extra $1,200 per year.
There are many tools available to those who wish to compare the cost of ownership of one vehicle with another. For example, if you wanted to compare a Sonata with the , you can get a rough estimate of how much it would cost, over a period of several years, to own the Sonata as compared to the Tacoma.
If you don't like the thought of putting a lot of money into a vehicle, it may be worthwhile to buy new instead of used. While a used car may still come with a warranty, a new car will also come with a warranty, but may also have better gas mileage and cost less to insure.
Getting the best value for your money when you buy a car is easier to accomplish when you understand the factors that go in to the total cost. Knowing this figure will help you to determine if you want to buy new as opposed to used, or if buying a car with a lower sticker price is really the better deal compared to a car that may have a higher sticker price.