5 Costs of Car Ownership in S’pore That Dealers Definitely Won’t Tell First-Time Buyers

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Singapore cars are, if I may say, bloody expensive. For comparison’s sake, let’ look at two similar cars in Singapore and Malaysia: a 1.5 Honda Jazz.

In Singapore, the selling price is SGD$114,999, in which we can drive for ten years. In Malaysia, the selling price is SGD$26,382, in which we can, well, drive forever.

That’s almost four times more expensive—and we’ve yet to factor in the fact that a car in Malaysia can be driven forever. In other words, buying a car in Singapore is almost akin to marriage: the commitment is high.

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With such high cost (and therefore high commission), dealers always try to entice first-time buyers by just disclosing the monthly instalment of the car, and not telling them the crazy hidden costs associated with it. Wait, you mean you didn’t know that the high cost of $114,999 is just the tip of the iceberg?

Well, firstly, welcome to Singapore, and secondly, here is a list of the hidden cost that may surprise you.


It’s hard to explain to new owners, so let’s just put it this way: It’s against the law not to buy an insurance policy for your car. And depending on your car, your profile and your driving experience, it can be less than $1,000 to more than $4,000—per year.

A new owner’s insurance premium is usually crazily high, so putting $3,000 is a safe bet, but if you’re young with a powerful car, don’t be surprised to see a $5,000 premium.

Now, if your monthly instalment for your car is at $400 per month, your insurance is $5,000 a year, it effectively means that your insurance premium is more expensive than your car. Average: $3,000 a year (or $250 per month)


One litre is about $1.90++, and you can usually travel 8 to 12 km with one litre.

Ignoring the boring maths, you just need to know that Singapore traffic is crazy—you’ll experience jam here and there, traffic lights are everywhere and you need to floor the accelerator sometimes to turn into a road. In other words, it’s way more expensive to drive in a city, and you can spend almost $400 to $600 on petrol alone. Average: $450 a month

Parking / ERP / Road Tax

City parking is usually more expensive, and on average, you can spend almost $200 just on parking.

If you have to pass a toll every weekday for work, that could go all the way up to $250. Every six months, we still have to include a Road Tax fee. On average, let’s just put it at $300 per month.

Average: $300 a month

Servicing / Maintenance

Many people think of this as the only hidden cost. On average, a car needs to service once every six months.

Usually, people thought that it’s just basic changing of oil—nothing could be further from the truth! You see, a car is all about wear and tear—you’re essentially rubbing the surfaces of things (like a brake pad) for things to work.

It will eventually wear off. Think of these “wear-and-tear” parts as petrol that needs to be replaced every one year or so. With so many parts, sometimes, one servicing can go all the way to a few thousand dollars.

Average: $2,000 per year (or $166 per month)

Minor Accidents / Summons

Unless you’ve driven for only one month, you’ll know that it’s very difficult not to be slapped with a parking summon.

As for minor accidents, even if you’re the safest driver, you can still get into one—for example, reversing into a column at a very dark car park.

Every seasoned driver will set aside at least $300 per month for this unexpected expenses.

Average: $300 per month

Now, let’s presume that you buy the Honda Jazz. Technically speaking, you can no longer get a ten-year loan, but maybe you’ve bought it a few years back, so you got that loan.

You’re paying an average of about $958 (before interest) per month just for the car instalment. The hidden cost per month? $1,466. You think the dealer want a first-time buyer to know that?

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