Car buying/maintenance overall Swiss strategy and approach

I know cars are a very individual topic but I would like to know what are your strategies for your vehicles.

I drive a 2005 Ford Focus kombi 1.6 ti-vct MK2 I bought it in 2011 for 6000£~9000chf (I lived in south spain at that time) and made around 70k km in it. The car turned out to be surprisingly decent and cheap to drive and maintain. I pay 660 for Partial Casco with roadside assistance .
For maintenance I can cheat a little as I come from Poland so each year when I drive with my family for christmas I take my car and do the maintenance there. But for the past 2 years the maintenance has in my opinion gone up significantly and costs me around 1000chf each year so seems that the car is getting old. How do you guys approach your cars, do you drive them into the ground and when they fail you replace them or do you replace them each 10 years for example? How do you budget for the new car do you take one tenth of your net income and buy whatever fits in the amount or do you have a different approach? Please share yours with me.

I drive myself a 2009 Hyundai i30 that I bought new but at a strongly reduced price. I am able to do quite a lot of maintenance myself and for that purpose I purchase the usual parts suggest to wear in Germany with delivery in Switzerland (oil, coolant, brake fluid, filters, disc and pad for brakes) as it can cost one third for similar quality. My experience has shown that when the car gets older the yearly cost is not the main problem but the reliability. It is never great fun to be in the parking of the supermarket with a car that refuses to start because a sensor is defective. As long as the car is relatively precise and reliable I do not see any reason to change it. If you are used to maintain the car yourself you know when it is better to get something more reliable.
There is no specific budget for the new car which is considered as some kind of consumable whose purchase price is smaller than the yearly fluctuation of my income.

How do you manage do those yourself do you have a garage? Or you are in one of those rent by hour places when you can rent tools and a lift? I think i30 is a great car I drove one once as a rental (it was a diesel and I got a crazy mileage from it something between 4.5-5l/100km) My car has quite low mileage for its age 120k and mechanics say its in excellent condition so there is no immediate need to change. If I can stick it out I will drive it until it gives up :slight_smile:

Where I work there is a small fleet of cars as well as two heavy duty trucks (LKW) and some facility for the maintenance that I am allowed to use on evenings or saturdays.
I30 is a great car, mine is petrol as I avoided Diesel even years before Dieselgate.

I’m not an expert, but 1000chf per year in Poland is either a fraud from your garagist or your car is getting reeally old.

yeah I always had similar feelings towards diesel cars for quite some time + with us driving 10k km a year makes no sense to buy one even if we would overlook the pollution effect.

It may be a bit high but mind you that its in a bigger city + not your average mechanic but more like service place (I need to be sure that the service is done once and its good because once back in Switzerland I cant go back to redo something) Poland is also getting more expensive than it used to be, the car is getting oldish 2005 so 13 years this year, 2 years ago I had to do some body repair and painjob because some one hit my car on parking and drove away this year had to replace several suspension parts but hey the original ones held 12 years so no complaints. Poland

I got my bicycle for £300 in 2012. It’s a large heavy trekking/hybrid bike so performances are not great but it’s a workhorse and quite comfortable. Besides commuting I have toured with it a fair bit. I don’t keep a specific budget but I estimate I spend about 100-200 CHF per year in maintenance on average. If I need to replace it for some reason I expect to buy one from Germany or France for under 500€ but I don’t really see any reason to unless the frame breaks or I want something completely different.


I got mine in 2015 for 300chf and I think my annual maintenance cost is similar to yours. I will replace it only if there is some catastrophic failure to the frame as it does all I need from it at the moment.

soooooo we may buy a car. we lived without (bike + mobility) but the second child makes it all so more complicated, with all those safety seat stuff and so on. Until now we would just take the seat with us for the oldest one, but in some months the second child would have outgrown the models that clip into a child carrier (kinderwagen/poussette) and we would need to transport two seat to the mobility station which sadly are a couple of bus stops away. When one parent needs the car, alone, it will be doomed :smiley:

what are some model/make suggestions? I am a completely newbie in cars. I just saw that the only car manufacturer with decent warranty is Kia (7 years) and that they are regularly in the top reliable cars in the latest year.
My expected km usage is around 3000 km per year (I’m quite confident because we just had a car at disposition for 5 months (brother in law doing an around the world trip) and I measured how much we used it). External parking spot in the open, no garage.

What are thinks that you should look for when buying used? I have no idea I have never bought a car. I would prefer a quality used car because my guess is that it is cheaper, and don’t want any leasing, but am open to reconsider if there are arguments I didn’t think about. I wouldn’t take any kasko insurance, only Haftverplfichtung

Hey Grog,
i am no car expert, but i know that MMM dealt with this problem of picking good-value cars. i cant remember exactly, but check out this

ofc his bloc is US-based, some tings you have to translate to 2018’s Switzerland.

other than that i only know to google “most cost efficient cars” and find pages like

I myself have a motorbike from 1985, where i can fix almost everything myself. costs CHF 80 in taxes each year^^

well you can approach this in several ways. Do you want big, small, kombi, hatchback, sedan? automatic manual transmission? for new cars I would suggest only buying when they are heavily discounted or use or they sell heavily discounted new cars. As you don’t plan to do a lot of kilometers I would suggest buying just petrol car (diesel and hybrid tend to be more expensive to buy for the promise of lower consumption, they are also usually a bit more complicated to service/repair) If you live in the french area and decide to go for a second hand car I can come with you and act as a unbiased judge (so you don’t do a impulse buy)

Since this thread is alive again, I thought I’d ask. Can you give any mustachian tips to making a driver’s license in Switzerland? I didn’t manage to do it in Poland, and now it’s too late to do it there, I think. Switzerland will only exchange your driver’s license to a Swiss one up to 12 months after arrival, right?

In Poland the whole course 30 hours theory + 30 hours practice + exam costs 300-400 CHF. I heard in Switzerland you have to pay at least 3000 CHF. Hence the question. Anybody here who has done it in Switzerland?

I am currently on it and I can confirm your 3000 figure, I might actually go over if I screw up the next attempt (I failed the first one but I also was pretty unprepared). Next week I will know.

can you do the and then do the costs (does not seem to be crazy)

Thanks Stan for the insightful reply! And nugget too :wink:
I didn’t know both websites, they look interesting.
We are thinking small combi/limousine like a Kia Ceed sw or a Skoda Fabia Combi, those kind of car. I agree that petrol car make more sense. Is funny I know a lot about engines, but I have no clue about models and make of cars.
Thanks for the offer, that’s really nice of you! For the moment we are not stressed out to buy a car, I’m just gathering informations.

I did it in Poland because it was much cheaper, but here’s the catch - formally you can’t do it if you’re resident of Switzerland. I had to submit a special form to ask them for forgiveness and to accept my new driving license because I didn’t know about the law. Eventually, they accept it but they could reject it and then I’d have to make the driving license again in Switzerland.

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Both of cars make sense I would suggest kia as they have a sensible non turbo 1.6 and VW/Skoda/Seat have those small FSI engines which don’t have the best reputation I would imagine that Kia will be cheaper to service.

Cool story! But if they rejected your plea, then you would still have a valid Polish license, that you could use everywhere in the World, except Switzerland, right? :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, I realised the problem after 12 months, when I had to exchange my driving license to the Swiss one. They confiscated my Polish license with the exchange application, but I assume they would give it back if they rejected my form.

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