Owner responsibilities and running costs of a car

As a car owner you have certain responsibilities that are legally required to run a car on Britian's roads. The running costs of a car cover several different areas including Road Tax, Insurance to cover yourself and others for costs incurred as the result of and accident, as well as safety requirements such as an MOT Certificate to prove a vehicle meets the safety criteria to be used on British roads.

Below is a brief overview of these car running costs.

Car Tax

Whatever you call it Car Tax, Road Tax or Road Fund License, there are several ways in which the cost is calculated. For cars registered before 1 March 2001 the rate of Car Tax depends on its engine size.

The rate for cars registered on or after 1 March 2001 is dependant on the efficiency of the engine which is measured using the car’s CO2 emissions and fuel type. Should this information not be available then the old system will be used to calculate the Car Tax.

MOT test

It is a legal requirement for all cars over three years old to be tested annually at a Government approved MOT testing station.Always choose an MOT testing station based on reputation and recommendation rather than just on price.

You can possibly save some money by doing some basic checks before your car is tested – make sure all the lights, indicators and horn work, also fill the windscreen washer bottle and if you live close to the testing station give your car a run to make sure the engine is warmed up and running well. Another critical area to check is the tread on your tyres and for any damage to the side walls.


Drivers who have just passed their test and are under the age of 25 tend to pay higher insurance costs and if you have speeding tickets or a conviction (eg. for using a mobile phone) your premiums will be greatly increased or you may even be refused cover completely by some insurance companies.

Insurance quotes can vary wildly, so shop around for the best deal…


Fuel is very expensive and prices are unlikely to fall significantly. Try and choose a car with low fuel consumption and then follow some basic eco-driving tips to save a bit more. Being light on the throttle not only saves you money on fuel, it also helps maintain the condition of the engine and makes for a more relaxing drive for you and your passengers.

Servicing and maintenance

Regular servicing is essential, however depending on your mileage most cars only need a service once a year, so it is good to put some money aside for this. Main dealers are often expensive so ask family and friends if they know a good independent garage. A good independent garage will service the car inline with the manufacturers guidelines whilst saving you money.

The car you purchase should be supplied with its service history/service record and some include the service schedules, which list the work that has been done at each service.

Below are some cars that could be considered by first time drivers…



Used Car Search

Used car options based on budget

Have a look at some relevant used cars for your budget...

First time driver used cars or used cars for those on a tight budget Under £2000

Used cars available for buyers with a budget from £2000 to £6000

Used cars available at our Bournemouth showroom priced from £6000 to £12000

Newer used cars and prestige used cars at our Bournemouth showroom from £12000 & Above

Ideal First Car

VOLKSWAGEN POLO Hatchback 1.4 16V 5DR

Volkswagen Polo 1.4 16V 5dr

Price: Year/Reg: Mileage: Engine size: Fuel type: Gearbox: Body style: Colour:
£1,490 1997 (R) 101,000 1.4L Petrol Manual Hatchback Metallic Green

Other features - Very good condition throughout, Power steering, Height adjustable drivers seat, Electric windows, Central locking, Airbags, Alarm, CD Player, Folding rear seats. Hpi Clear, Comprehensive Warranties, All Cards Accepted.

Please call Darren on 07971 289371 or Anthony on 07831 816672

   01202 530100
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Alternative times available by appointment.

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