There are expected and unexpected car expenses for first time car buyers. Here’s what you need to know.

Buying a new vehicle is exciting, especially when it’s your first set of wheels, so the last thing you want are unexpected car expenses that derail your budget and take the fun out of owning a car. Some expenses are fairly predictable, such as the cost of keeping gas in the tank or even making the initial purchase, but the unpredictable costs are important to know about, too. The expenses you need to know about so you can plan your budget are basically centered around buying the car, keeping it legal, and maintaining your ride so it lasts for years.

Initial Car Expenses When You Buy

When you’re done shopping and you’ve found the perfect car, know the amount of the down payment and the number of monthly payments you can afford to cover. Meanwhile, a couple of less obvious initial expenses can also impact your budget. Along with the actual cost of the vehicle, you’ll pay sales tax and interest. These costs are included in the total amount you end up paying for your new car, so you don’t always notice exactly how much they add up, but they can push your monthly payments up and extend the term of your loan, so it’s important to understand and be aware of them when you’re signing the paperwork to buy a car.

Expenses to Keep a Car Legal

In addition to the initial costs of buying a car, it’s going to cost some money to keep it legal. You have to pay for parking in some urban areas, as well as car insurance, registration, and emissions inspections in some states and regions. For example, the Georgia Clean Air Patrol published details about the frequency and the costs of emissions inspections in the Georgia counties that require them to protect air quality. These legal compliance expenses can arrive monthly, annually, or even as far as a few years apart, depending on the way you select to pay insurance premiums and parking fees, and the specific registration renewal requirements in your state.

Car Maintenance Expenses

Maintaining your new car has an effect on how it looks, how it drives, and even on its long-term value, so it’s important to include maintenance costs in your automotive budget. The Internal Revenue Service detailed ordinary car expenses when explaining the vehicle costs business owners can deduct, but the listed maintenance fees are common to all car owners. Basic maintenance expenses include oil changes, topping off fluids, and the cost of keeping your car detailed, such as washing, waxing, and having it vacuumed out regularly. Bigger repairs you should budget for include the costs of fixing things that break or wear out, such as batteries, brakes, exhaust pipes, and tires.

Avoid unwanted surprises and make sure you get the right car for your lifestyle—and your budget—by understanding the costs associated with buying, maintaining, and keeping your car legal before you buy. That way, you get a car you can be proud of and enjoy on a long-term basis.

About the AuthorLaure Justice

Laure Justice Is an automotive and personal finance writer who also frequently writes about business, pets, crafts, sewing, home care, remodeling, the power of positive thinking, fashion and beauty care, as well as environmental and health issues. With several e-books, including her book Personal Finance for Women: How to Stop Struggling and Make the Best of Starting Over which was positively reviewed by US News and World Reports, plus well over a thousand articles to her credit across numerous websites, Laure brings a great deal of proven writing experience along with enthusiasm for a wide range of topics.Justice writes using the same friendly approach she would use speaking to a friend. This makes her writing easy to read and easy to understand, even when complex topics are involved.Some of the Site's Featuring Laure's Work Include:* GMC* Buick* Lynda* Consumer Affairs* Angie's List* Kudzu* Internet Auto Guides*eBay Buyer's Guides* eHow Auto* Chron* Iron Mountain* Buyer Zone* Purina Petcentric* Bankrate** eHow Pets* The Nest* Pawnation* Daily Puppy* Bounty Paper Towels* Stitching it Right* Upholstery-Girl* Lowe's* Dremel* Angie's List* Kudzu* The Get Organized Club* Everyday Health* Colgate* Daily Glow* Type F* Buy Costumes* TravelocityTo read some of Laure's work, browse through the links provided as part of this profile, contact her via Skyword, email her at, or look for her work on the some of the sites listed above.