UK Car Maintenance Stats: How Expensive is it to Run a Car in 2023?

By Vehicle Contracts08-11-2023

Owning a car, while providing the luxury of personal mobility and freedom, comes with its fair share of financial obligations. 

Over the years, the cost of keeping a car roadworthy can accumulate into a small fortune. From routine services to unexpected repairs, insurance premiums, and fuel expenses, the financial toll is a continuous one. 

In the UK, where the cost of living is already relatively high, car maintenance costs can be a significant chunk out of a household's budget. 

This article collates the most important car maintenance statistics you need to know to provide a comprehensive overview of car maintenance costs.

Routine Maintenance

Explore the intricacies of routine maintenance where costs and care converge, highlighting essential UK statistics and how they impact your annual vehicle upkeep.

  • The average annual car servicing and maintenance bill was over £700 in 2016, as per the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
  • The average car service price varies depending on the size of the car, with costs ranging from around £155 for a small car to around £395 for a large car.
  • The average labour rate for car servicing in the UK is £76 per hour.
  • A study by AAA (US) revealed that the maintenance and routine repairs of a new car could cost an average of $0.09 per mile. This includes costs for oil changes, replacement of windshield wipers, new batteries, brake pads, tyre rotation, and more​
  • On average, a household in the UK spends roughly £1,100 a year on car purchases and financing, which represents about 4.3% of their annual family budget. This budget encompasses routine maintenance among other costs​

Fuel Costs

Fuel costs are a significant aspect of car maintenance, and with diverse fuel options like petrol, diesel, electric, and hybrid, understanding the cost implications is crucial for car owners. 

  • In the UK, the annual cost of petrol or diesel for a car is estimated at £1,435.
  • On January 23, 2023, the price for ultra-low sulphur unleaded petrol was 148.21 pence per litre, and ultra-low sulphur diesel was 170.86 pence per litre​
  • As of October 4, 2023, the average UK fuel prices were 156.97p for petrol and 162.20p for diesel. In 2022, record highs were reached with petrol at 191.53p per litre and diesel at 199.05p per litre in July​
  • Unleaded prices increased from 143.5 p/litre to 149.1 p/litre, and diesel prices rose from 144.4 p/litre to 151.0 p/litre as of August 2023, with a price difference of 1.9 p/litre between diesel and unleaded​
  • As of October 1, the unit rate for electricity for dual-fuel customers on a direct debit system was 34p/kWh​
  • The primary cost for EV owners is the installation of an at-home charging point, which ranges between £400 and £1500 depending on the type and speed of charging required​
  • Employees can claim 45p per mile for the first 10,000 business miles in a financial year, and 25p per mile thereafter for using electric or hybrid cars, as per the Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAP) rates​


Insurance premiums are a substantial part of car ownership costs. Here, we examine the average insurance outlays for UK drivers.

  • The average price of car insurance in the UK has seen a significant increase, with drivers paying an average of £511 in the second quarter of 2023, marking a 21% rise from the previous year's £423​​.
  • Age plays a crucial role in determining insurance costs, with 20-year-olds paying an average of £2,395 a year for comprehensive car insurance. This cost decreases with age; for instance, 25-year-olds pay £1,566, those aged 35 pay £1,103, and at 55, the cost stands at £660​​.
  • A notable jump of 29% or £125 annually in the average price paid for motor insurance was recorded in the third quarter of the year, reaching a record high​​.
  • The average cost for comprehensive car insurance cover between April and June 2023 was £511, up by 22% from £419 a year earlier (Q2 2022), the highest since the ABI began collecting this data in 2012​​.


Repairs are an inevitable aspect of car maintenance. This segment focuses on the current market size and statistics for car repairs in the UK.

  • As of 2023, the market size of the Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair industry in the UK is £29.7 billion, a slight decrease from the previous year.
  • In 2018, the UK saw a peak in car repairs with a total of 1.89 million car repairs taking place.


Breakdowns can be both inconvenient and costly. This part sheds light on the frequency and causes of car breakdowns across the UK.

  • Between April 2018 and March 2019, a staggering 224,225 cars broke down in the UK.
  • The RAC reported that its patrols attended to over 8,100 pothole-related breakdowns between April and June 2023, marking the highest figure in five years.

Cost Breakdown 

Understanding the cost breakdown is essential for car owners. This section provides a detailed analysis of the major expenses involved in owning and operating a car in the UK.

  • The major expenses of car ownership in the UK are fuel (£1,435 per annum), motor insurance (£484 per annum), and repairs and servicing (£273 per annum).
  • For individuals without car finance, the average annual cost of owning a car in the UK is £3,406.80, while for those with car finance, the figure jumps to £5,744.40.

Market Trends 

Market trends offer insights into the automotive industry's health. This section explores the shifts in car sales, insurance values, and ownership patterns in the UK

  • In 2022, second-hand car sales in the UK decreased by 8.5% from the previous year, with a total of 6,890,777 units sold, partly due to supply chain disruptions following the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Car ownership in the UK has generally increased over time, except in London where the number of car-owning households decreased by 10% between 2003 and 2019. Conversely, North East England saw a significant increase of 28% in car ownership during the same period.
  • The UK motor vehicle insurance industry is valued at £19.1 billion as of 2023, marking a decline from £23.6 billion over the period from 2018 to 2023, with an average annual decline of 4.1%.

Vehicle Registrations and Production

Vehicle registrations and production numbers are strong indicators of industry trends. Here, we look at the latest statistics and what they mean for the UK market

  • In Q1 2023, the number of new vehicle registrations in the UK increased by 16%, with new plug-in vehicle registrations up by 13%.
  • During the same period, 653,000 vehicles were registered for the first time, including 114,000 plug-in vehicles and 76,000 battery electric vehicles.
  • The first half of 2023 saw an 11.7% increase in UK car production, with 450,168 cars rolling off production lines.

Future Projections

Anticipating future trends is crucial for planning. This final part projects the potential growth of the UK's vehicle maintenance and repair industry. 

  • The revenue from the maintenance and repair of motor vehicles in the UK is projected to reach approximately £29.5B by 2025.


These statistics not only offer a glimpse into the current financial commitments associated with car ownership and maintenance in the UK, but also highlight some of the evolving trends within the automotive industry. The figures further underscore the importance of budgeting and financial planning for car owners to ensure they are not caught off guard by unexpected expenses. Whether you are a current car owner or considering purchasing a vehicle, being informed about these costs can help you make more financially sound decisions.