Owning A Car In Singapore – The Seen and Hidden Costs


It’s no secret that purchasing a car in Singapore is no easy feat – along with the cost of the car itself (Open Market Value), there’s the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), Registration fee, Dealer’s cut and the list goes on and on. Apart from being the most expensive car market on the face of the earth, Singapore is notorious for also having a high cost of owning a car as well. As if these insanely high prices aren’t enough, owning a car comes with its own set of costs on top of that: from costs that are “seen”, as well as “hidden costs”, owning a car in Singapore is a monumental undertaking.

Seen Costs

Insurance cost

Insurance coverage in Singapore is compulsory for all motorists, which means that this is a must for all drivers and car owners.

Budget Direct Singapore has produced an estimate of insurance costs for a Toyota Altis, based on a 45 year old single male, with 5 years of driving experience and a 0% NCD. Based on this estimation, insurance could set you back $S1 473 every year.

Of course, this will fluctuate depending on your needs, driving experience and coverage.

Service and Maintenance Costs

Making sure that your vehicle is in tip-top condition is a must for all car owners. From oil checks, to wheel alignments, cars require maintenance and care for as long as you have them for. Most cars need maintenance and servicing every 10 000kms or every 6 months (whichever comes first). For most Singaporeans, this means around two services per year for their vehicle.

Unfortunately, this means an added cost for you – servicing fees, which are estimated to cost $S621. Like insurance cost, this will depend on your needs and will most likely change with the specific requirements of your car.

Road Tax

Not only does it cost money to own and use the car, but to use it on Singaporean roads also costs you!

The amount you pay for this road tax will definitely vary from car to car, as the LTA calculates it based on engine capacity or CC of the vehicle.

For a Toyota Altis, this road tax sums up to be S$742 per year!


Unless your car somehow doesn’t need any fuel to run – there’s no way that you use your car without the use of petrol.

Like with all things cars, this is also going to cost you – an estimated S$2 341 per year.

Hidden Costs

Financing and Interest

The hefty prices of cars in Singapore means that the chances of you buying your car outright is little to none. The more realistic option for most Singaporeans is to take a loan and finance the car.

What this means, is a purchase unlike most others. A candy bar: pay for it, get it, then only need to pay again if you want another one. Your car, very different story.

Not only will you need to repay your loan (as per your loan agreement), but the interest on top of that!


As soon as you drive that car away, it goes down in value and continues to do so for the rest of its life. This means that if you were to ever sell your vehicle, there is no way that you would be able to sell it for more than what you bought it for.

Although this isn’t a cost you’ll literally be paying for year on year, it does represent the decrease in value as it experiences wear and tear, as well as obsolescence as newer models get released.

Depending on the make and model of the car, anywhere between 10-15% of a new car’s value goes away the minute you drive off. To make matters worse, this dip in value only continues the longer you own the car.


Finding somewhere to place your car typically comes with extra costs.

From parking at home (If you live in a HBD block) to parking near the office, simply placing your car in a spot to sit will definitely cost you.

These costs will vary depending on location, time spent parked and also the day (weekends and public holidays typically have higher rates of parking fees).

Owning A Car In Singapore - The Seen and Hidden Costs (Visual Asset)



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