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Old 07.11.2015, 12:41
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What is the real cost of car ownership

Hi All,

I have been here in CH for 7 months now, and am seeing the need to buy a car. Nothing fancy or special, just something like a VW Golf or similar. I am hesitating because I don't really know the cost of car ownership. I'm coming from Florida. I'm 53 years old, with a clean driving history. I was paying about US$1,200 / year for insurance, and annually to renew my car registration an additional $65.00 or so. In Florida we're quite lucky because there isn't the additional cost of an emission / safety inspection. So my question is, what can I expect to pay for insurance and any additional costs? I realize that insurance is dependent on the type of car etc, so I'm not looking for an exact number, just a realistic estimate. Thanks in advance.
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Old 07.11.2015, 13:28
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

If you want a garage parking place, figure around 1700-2000 CHF a year for that. Unless you're on the outskirts, finding a parking spot can be a pain.

I had a car the first year or so I was here, and found that, for what I needed, Mobility and hire cars (and more recently, Catch-a-Car) was good and a lot cheaper in the long run.

If you go to http://comparis.ch, you'll get a better idea of insurance costs.
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Old 07.11.2015, 13:39
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

Thanks for your reply. The parking in my apartment building isn't an issue - it's included in the rent. Or rather, the parking place wasn't negotiable. Other than insurance, are there any other costs?
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Old 07.11.2015, 13:45
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

On a 1.6 mk5 golf, my guesstimates are:
Insurance, 3rd party plus a couple of extras, 600 to 800
Full casco, 1500

Servicing (no problems, not main dealer) 500 to 600

Garage for parking 130 to 150 a month

Car tax, 300 to 500 or a smallish petrol (guessing here)

Convenience, priceless

Depreciation is another topic.
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Old 07.11.2015, 13:48
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

It's been a while since I owned, but from memory, there was an annual tax, which varies according to the size of the car (or engine), which was a few hundred IIRC. Maintenance can be expensive in Switzerland, but you can pop over the border for that.

It's worth having a budget for speeding fines, they're pretty easy to pick up for minor offences.
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Old 07.11.2015, 13:49
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

TCS calculates annual costs for a car at CHF 10'932, of which CHF 4'399 are operating costs and CHF 6'533 fixed costs:

"Mit den TCS-Berechnungsansätzen ergeben sich bei diesem Musterpersonenwagen feste Kosten von jährlich ca. CHF 6'533.- sowie bewegliche Kosten von ca. CHF 4'399.-.
Insgesamt kostet unser Musterauto CHF 10’932.- oder ca. 73 Rp./km."


https://www.tcs.ch/de/auto-zweirad/a...usterautos.php
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Old 07.11.2015, 13:53
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

Thanks, this gives me some better info for making a decision.
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Old 07.11.2015, 14:06
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

11,000 per year is outrageous! My insurance is 900 per year. Parking is 1,450 (I could get it for half of that if I want to park outside). In all the years I've been driving here, the max I had to spen on repairs and servicing in one year was 3,000 when I had to get the exhaust thingy replaced on a toyota. Most years it's just a few hundred. Petrol is what it is.... Oh, and a few hundred for the tax stuff.

How did they come to this figure?

I live in Adliswil now, but it was more or less the sae when I lived in Wollishofen.
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Old 07.11.2015, 15:06
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

Canton Bern vehicle tax is based on weight.
Get a Smart Roadster or an Ariel Atom. https://www.pom.be.ch/pom/de/index/s...rrechner1.html

PS: The TCS value is all in, including depreciation and amortisation of a new 35k car.

Last edited by aSwissInTheUS; 07.11.2015 at 15:53.
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Old 07.11.2015, 15:27
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

in Vd a golf mk4 (2002) with the 1.6 l goes as follows for my wife 28 with clean record

900 for insurance (comprehensive) so its the middle one a year
120 to get the plates and transfer of name
40chf for the vignet to drive on the highway

I believe it was 600 yearly for the roadtax (might be a tad bit more)

Last service was 850 (650 just for oilchange and fluids)
Change of tires was 25 per tire (Switzerland you need winter/summer tires)

I have put in around 1000 in parts and work myself.

Then there is petrol etc. and car loan etc etc

running a car is pretty spendy but IMO totally worth not having to take public transportation.....

The 11k mentioned above is an absolute joke. for a normal car. Figure more like 5k on the absolute highnote. Unless ofcourse you go and buy a rolls or something of the like....

(MY truck is 3x all the above mentioned rates.....)
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Old 07.11.2015, 16:32
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

The 11k has deprecation included, on a 35k car.

The more expensive the car originally was, the more brutal the deprecation in the first two or three years.
There have been some eye-watering examples here in the forum.

You can also check prices of cars like RS6 Avant. New vs. used...
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Old 07.11.2015, 18:51
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

A while back I was doing some very rough back of an envelope calculations. Assuming I was buying a car that's a couple of years old I was budgeting about 20k. Then, thinking I'd probably keep it 5 years, and with poor negotiation skills, I'd maybe get 5k back, so 3k a year in depreciation.

Then, was looking at something like 1'000 a year insurance, 1'000 parking, and 1'000 servicing (assuming no major work was needed), I came up with 6k a year, or 500,- a month before even driving anywhere, which for me is a lot of mobility hours!
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Old 07.11.2015, 19:33
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

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TCS calculates annual costs for a car at CHF 10'932, of which CHF 4'399 are operating costs and CHF 6'533 fixed costs:
. . . [/url]
The TCS omit fines like for say speeding parking etc. in its calculation whereas Autoscout include these: (Ger: ) http://www.autoscout24.ch/Cms/Article.aspx?cmsaid=3362
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Old 07.11.2015, 19:40
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

I drive a cheap nothing of a car, and I do mean dirt cheap so I've not really thought of amortization as part of the running cost. But that said:

Insurance ca. 900/yr
Road tax ca. 600/yr

Servicing ca. 800/yr - but this was from the dealer garage. Now that the guarantee has expired and I will use a local garage I hope to save a few Francs going forward.

Tire change ca 400/yr - again, this was using the dealer garage so I hope to see that reduced in the future.

TCS membership ca 140/yr

Fuel: ca. 2500/yr
Highway sticker 40/yr
Parking lot fees as I run errands here and there: ca 100/yr

And add in a bit for unplanned 'stuff'.

But for me the real question is: What is the cost of not having a car?

Given where I live and what I do a car is an absolute necessity, couldn't be without one.
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Old 07.11.2015, 21:15
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

That TCS calculation is not very transparent, it might be based on someone that wants to change his audi every 3 years and has to pay home parking in a city. Gasoline prices are lower now too.
I think in your situation (golf, free parking, maybe 15k km/year kilometrage?) you can spend half that if you want, including depreciation.
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Old 11.11.2015, 16:51
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

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Tire change ca 400/yr - again, this was using the dealer garage so I hope to see that reduced in the future.
Well holy I-can't-believe-I-didn't-get-Switzerlanded, batman!


Just got the tires changed at the local garage and the cost was... drumroll...

All of 40 Chuffs. Altogether.

The dealer had been charging me 5 times that!


Guess who will be getting my business from now on.
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Old 11.11.2015, 17:28
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

My big car is costing me about 7-8k/year and lot's of it is more than 1k/year on ZH tax that doesn't like a two+ tonne 4.3 lt car...

Blue zone parking and spend the change on car washing and detailing (could be a false economy that one actually) and do most of the maintenance myself except for big items that I've done during my greek vacation this summer.

But this sum greatly depends on how you treat your car and what choices you make. Street parking vs garage can easily mean 1k/year (if not more) and things like paying 500CHF for a fluid change vs 100CHF to do it in an evening yourself, or 500CHF tire change vs having a second set of wheels (free) or going to a normal place where it would cost you less than 100CHF even for bigger wheels, it all adds up.

For a second hand VW Golf, I guess you could safely say it's anything from 5 to 10k, beyond any side of that spectrum would be really pushing it
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Old 11.11.2015, 17:48
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Re: What is the real cost of car ownership

I bought a Peuogeot 308 SW this past february. 5 years old, excellent condition (large company car so most probably well serviced), 34k km. List price new around 35k new, I paid 9k.

I think it was a bargain, would expect to pay perhaps 1/3 of list price. But anyway if you buy a 3-5 year old car you avoid most of the writeoff yet the car is still in a (very) reliable state.
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