0508 588 522

How To Save On Car Running Costs

05 November 2021

The cost of buying a car is about far more than just the price tag – many first-time car buyers don’t realise how much they’ll end up spending on car running costs. With everything from petrol to registration and regular WOFs, the costs can certainly add up. However, not all is lost – there are a few good ways that you can save money on your car running costs. 

More than anything, it’s the variable costs that offer the opportunity to save yourself some serious cash. Keep reading to find out what they are. 

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Car NZ?

Fixed Costs

The fixed costs of owning a car don’t change too much. However, we have a few hot tips for how you can save yourself a little bit of money on these expenses!

Cost of Servicing

When people buy a car, not many consider the cost of servicing the vehicle. Others don’t bother getting their car serviced at all. However, paying for regular car services can save you from spending on costly repairs in the long run. The mechanic servicing your car can catch any issues early before they come larger, more expensive problems. So the investment is well worth it!

It will cost you roughly $300 a year to get your car serviced.


To drive a car in NZ, you must first register it. When you register your vehicle, you get to choose to pay for it every 3, 6, or 12 months. The cheapest option is to pay for your registration one year at a time – although this is a larger cost than the other options, you will have to pay it less often, and it works out to be a lower cost per month.  

You can expect to pay around $110 a year for the registration.


One unavoidable cost is your Warrant of Fitness. These checks are required every 6 – 12 months, depending on the age of your vehicle, to determine whether your car is roadworthy. 

If you want to save on car running costs, buying a newer car can help you to do this. While newer cars are a more significant upfront investment, you can get WOFs less regularly, and newer vehicles are also likely to incur fewer repair costs. 

The amount you spend on your WOF (if it passes each time!) will be roughly $50 - $130 each year.

Variable Costs

It’s in the variable costs that you gain more control over how much you spend on your car. The below list has some opportunities to save money on your car running costs. 

Fuel Costs

One of the most significant car running costs is the amount you spend on fuel. If you use your car to commute to work every day, you’ll need a lot more fuel than someone who just drives to the shops once a week, so fuel costs are highly dependent on the owner. 

However, you can expect to spend roughly $2,310 or more each year on petrol (this is the amount for an average car travelling 14,000km a year that has a 4-star fuel efficiency rating). 


Before you even buy a car and sign on the dotted line, you’ll usually lock in your insurance. This can be one of the biggest ways to save money on the costs associated with your car. Make sure that you compare insurance policies to get the best deal. You may even want to tell an insurer what someone else has offered you to see if they are willing to beat it. 

Although you’ll want to save money on insurance, make sure that you book full cover. This will be important for saving money in the long run if you are unfortunate enough to get into an accident. Third-party insurance won’t cover the costs of damage for your own car if you get into an accident, so comprehensive cover is a must so that you can afford to replace your car if the worst happens. 

The annual estimated cost of insurance is roughly somewhere between $400 and $750 for comprehensive cover. As you can see, there is quite a range, so there is a lot of room for cost saving here. 

Car Maintenance

Now we come to the bulk of your car’s ongoing costs – maintenance. This one is the hardest to predict. You never know when the need for repairs will rear its ugly head, giving your finances a bit of a shock. You’ll often be notified of both current and upcoming car repairs required when you take the vehicle in for a WOF. This is useful, as the mechanic may let you know that you need new tyres or a replacement cambelt before you come in for your next WOF, giving you time to plan out the repair costs. 

The type of car you purchase also dictates how expensive the repairs will be. For example, you’ll likely pay less on replacement car parts if you have a Japanese vehicle compared with pricey European imports. Parts from Asian car manufacturers are often easier to locate in NZ, making them much cheaper. 

Fuel Saving Tips

Fuel Efficiency

Choosing your car wisely can significantly reduce the amount you spend on fuel. One important thing to look out for is the fuel efficiency rating. Don’t be fooled by cars boasting 5 stars – the rating actually ranges from 1 – 6, with 6 stars being extremely efficient. The more stars the vehicle has, the less you will spend on petrol. 

For example, a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 1-star rating could cost you $4,700 / year in fuel if you drive it 14,000 km per year. By comparison, a Toyota Corolla with a 6-star rating would have you spending $1,200 / year on petrol to cover the same distance. 


One thing many people don’t think about when considering ways to save money on fuel is the tyres. Having your tyres at the correct pressure can reduce resistance while driving, and therefore the consumption of fuel by as much as 2%. Even better, having your tyres at the right pressure can help them to last longer.

Empty the Boot

Do you keep lots of things in your boot because you forget to take them out? A lot of people do this, but having a heavily loaded vehicle can add to your fuel consumption, so you need to get around to taking things out of the boot quickly, so they don’t weigh down your car.

Drive Sensibly

Braking suddenly, driving over the speed limit, and accelerating quickly can all add to your car’s fuel consumption. By slowing down and driving sensibly, you’ll not only be safer but also save money on petrol costs. 

Money-Saving Tips

Other Transport Methods

Many people are now switching to alternative forms of transport. If you haven’t yet bought a car, you might consider purchasing an electric vehicle. If you do this, you could be eligible for a government rebate, and you won’t have to pay for petrol! The amount you’ll spend on electricity to recharge the car is minimal, so this is a great option for many people looking to save a few bucks.

Otherwise, consider walking or biking to work each day instead. Even using public transport can save you a lot of money you’d otherwise spend on fuel and parking. 

Go to a Dealership

One of the benefits of buying your car from a dealership is that they really know what the car is worth. When you buy a car privately, the owner wants as much as possible for the vehicle and may not understand its true value. By purchasing through a dealer like Stadium Cars, you are less likely to overpay as they are always happy to offer you a fair deal based on the actual value of the vehicle. 

Pay Less in Interest on Your Car Loan

If you choose to take out a loan to buy your next car, carefully choose the interest rate you accept. Stadium Finance offers competitive, low-interest car loans, with rates from 7.95% p.a. to 19.95%. Many other personal loan companies will charge you much more in interest and fees, so make sure to read the fine print before committing to a loan! 

Need a Loan for Your New Car?

Many kiwis turn to Stadium Finance when buying a new car. Apply online, and we’ll get back to you with our decision within 24 hours. The loan is easy to set up, with excellent interest rates and flexible payment options to suit your pay cycle.

We have a range of car loan terms available, from 12 – 60 months, depending on your situation. Apply before committing to buying a car, as we offer loan pre-approvals so that you know exactly how much you can spend on your new vehicle. 

With quick, easy car loans available now, apply online today with Stadium Finance and see how much you could borrow now!

Back to Articles