According to research by Kwik Fit, the average UK driver spends £1,295.52 per year on car maintenance and servicing. This includes the price of fuel, taking the car to be cleaned and any repairs or breakdown recovery needed.

Want to find out how you can cut costs on car maintenance to help you save? Discover what choices you could make to reduce the amount spent on keeping your car running.

What do I need to spend on car maintenance each year?

To get an idea of what you'll need to spend on average each year for car maintenance, see a full breakdown of costs in the table below.

ItemAverage monthly spend
Routine maintenance and servicing£15.96
Unexpected repairs and breakdowns£13.26
Breakdown cover£6.96
Monthly average total£107.96

Lease car maintenance cost

If you're looking to lease your next car, you'll still need to have the car maintained in order to avoid damage charges from the leasing company.

Optional maintenance packages are available for most car lease deals which will cover routine maintenance and servicing, plus the cost of an MOT if your deal is longer than three years. With leasing, you don't need to pay for an MOT for the first three years as the vehicles are brand new.

The cost of any maintenance package will usually be included within the monthly payment for the car, although you can often choose to pay it separately. As an example, a Ford Focus agreement with maintenance would cost around £13 more per month* than a deal which doesn't include it. In this instance, maintenance works out slightly cheaper than the average cost of work carried out without this package.

Remember: The additional cost of a maintenance package will differ depending on the make and model of the car, plus the terms of your contract (i.e. annual mileage, contract length and initial rental).

Because lease cars are brand-new and covered by the manufacturer's warranty, you won't have to worry about forking out for unexpected repairs or breakdowns either. Using the maintenance pricing table above, this could mean you save around £159 each year on unexpected repair work if you decide to lease.

*Prices based on Moneyshake deals with three months' initial rental, a 36-month term and 8,000 miles per year. Accurate as of July 2023

How to reduce my car maintenance cost?

Kwik Fit's research found that 8% of drivers tried to cut costs on car maintenance by not having it cleaned or refusing to have routine servicing. However, the experts dubbed this as being a 'false economy' which could actually wind up costing you more in the long run.

We agree, too. It's crucial that you ensure your vehicle is running efficiently by regularly maintaining it. Otherwise you're likely to pay a bigger price if problems go undetected and lead to a costly repair bill. What's more is if you're selling a car you own, you could lose out on the cash value through depreciation if it hasn't been looked after.

Alternatively, if you're leasing a car and keep it in good condition, you don't need to worry about damage charges.

Here are five ways you can legitimately reduce the cost of car maintenance.

5 ways to reduce car maintenance cost

1. Consider an electric car

Electric cars are renowned for being cheaper to maintain because their engine consists of fewer moving parts. On top of this, charging an EV is much cheaper than fuelling a petrol or diesel model too.

According to industry research, EVs are around 23% cheaper to maintain than their ICE (internal combustion engine) counterparts. On average, this would mean a saving of £297 each year.

2. Clean your car yourself

The same study from Kwik Fit found that drivers spend an average of almost £50 per year on having their car cleaned at a car wash. Although this doesn't sound like a lot of money, over the course of a car's lifetime (roughly eight years) you could save almost £800 in maintenance costs by cleaning your car yourself.

3. Take your car for a regular service

Most manufacturers recommend that you take your car for a full service every 12,000 miles/12 months (whichever comes first).

Although the fear of unexpected repair costs can cause you to avoid taking your vehicle for a service, this can wind up costing you more when you eventually have an MOT. In fact, the RAC found that 57% of drivers who didn't have a regular service paid between £300-£1,000 in order to pass the MOT.

4. Perform regular maintenance

Knowing when and how to maintain your car for little or no cost will save you a lot of money per year when it comes to taking your vehicle to a garage.

You can look after all the key components of your car (i.e. tyres, brakes, engine etc.) each week by checking out our maintenance checklist mentioned earlier.

5. Drive carefully

Extending the lifespan of your car's wearable parts can simply be a case of taking more care while driving.

The brakes, clutch, transmission and tyres of your car can all last you longer if you're safe and sensible behind the wheel. This includes doing the following:

  • Braking gradually - by paying attention to what's happening up the road as you're driving, you can brake gradually when needed. This will prevent brake pads and discs from wearing out sooner than if you were to regularly hammer on them, which generates friction and wears them out quicker.
  • Not riding the clutch - in other words, keeping the clutch pedal pressed in after changing gear. Because the clutch isn't fully re-engaged, this will cause the plates to slip on the gearbox shaft and could cause significant damage over time.
  • Avoid hitting potholes and speed bumps - your car's tyres, undercarriage and exhaust can suffer a lot of damage by hitting potholes and speed bumps too quickly. This can lead to expensive repairs if you don't avoid potholes or slow down when going over speed bumps.