Car: Total Cost of Ownership

I’m sure many of you keep track of your costs in some Excel workbooks, and that includes your car. Would you share with me all the costs that come with owning a car, for your case? Ideally, I would like to see the fixed costs (per year) and variable cost (per km). What comes to mind:

  • financing/cost of capital
  • depreciation
  • registration
  • insurance
  • service/checkup
  • repair
  • seasonal tire change
  • tire replacement
  • gas/charging
  • parking
  • car wash
  • windshield wipers, fluid, engine oil

Background: I rent a Model 3 and pay a simple price of 0.50 CHF per kilometre. The owner said he calculated the total cost and that what I pay barely covers the cost. But I thought that this depends on how much you drive. If I go to Poland and back, that’s 2400 km, so it costs me 1200 CHF. So I will always think twice before going on longer trips. That’s why I was considering buying a car, so that I don’t have to think about the cost of each kilometre driven. But the friend says I won’t get the cost down unless I drive over 50’000 km per yer. And he brought up the fact, that companies will refund you 0.65-0.70 CHF per km driven for business reasons in a private car, a number which exists for a reason.


Really depends how much you drive. Let’s assume for simplicity all your listed costs are 10’000 CHF per year for a 5 year timeframe with a new car and you pay 80 CHF per 1000km driven.

10’000km: 1.08/km
20’000km: 0.58/km
30’000km: 0.41/km
40’000km: 0.33/km
50’000km: 0.28/km

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Yeah that’s how I see it. I’d like to see some numbers and then maybe I could make him a suggestion to adjust the model to a fixed monthly/daily component + lower per km cost, like 0.30 CHF.

Interesting topic, I don’t have a car and I don’t think to purchase one in the following 2 years as my girlfriend and I can do everything by public transport, bike and walk. However, I am interested for the future :slight_smile:


You can play a little bit with this: Katalog | Verbrauchskatalog

For the M3 LR it estimates 62 cts/km with 20k km/year. You can adjust the km/year and see how things change.

Consider that the 60-70 cts/km the companies usually pay cover the costs of a “cheap” vehicle (30-35k purchase price)

edit: this link is better as it also shows a split between the different costs they take into account

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Looking forward to having a database on this.

My number are representative only of my own situation:
2.5 years old Dacia Duster 4x4 dci
driving roughly 20,000 km/year
Prices with taxes included

  • Cost of vehicle: 24,241.95
  • Cost of financing: 2,338.4 for a 4 years lease (2.48% p.a. / 584.6 per year / 48.72 per month) - RCI Finance
  • One time registration tax: 93.65
  • Liability insurance (helvetia): 447.5 per year
  • Full Casco (helvetia): 319.4 per year
  • Partial Casco (helvetia): 300.75 per year
  • Parking insurance (helvetia): 147.55 per year
  • Additional passenger insurance (helvetia): 118 per year (I take people with me for my professional activity and wanted to cover them better in case of a death/disability resulting from it)
  • Serious misconduct insurance (helvetia): 21 per year
  • Additional insurance/tax (helvetia): 7.40 per year
  • Recovery insurance (TCS): 97 per year
  • Plates: 211.5 per year
  • Highway tax: 40 per year
  • Fuel: 125 per month (pre COVID)
  • Tires: 593.91 per year (I’ve been lazy and have used winter tires in the summer, most people would have that cost down)
  • Maintenance: 628.9 per year
  • Parking lot: 300 per year
  • Repairs: 3*250 deductible (full casco - other people could avoid this)

To sum it up:

One time expenses

  • Vehicle: 24241.95
  • Financing: 2338.4
  • Registration: 93.65
    Total: 26,674

Yearly expenses

  • Insurances: 1,458.6
  • Plates: 211.5
  • Highway tax: 40
  • Maintenance: 628.9
  • Parking lot: 300
    Total: 2,599

per km expenses

  • Fuel: 125 per month → 0.075 per km
  • Tires: 593.91 per month → 0.030 per km
  • Repairs: 750 in 2.5 years → 0.015 per km
    Total: 0.12 per km

It could translate to something like:

  • One time expenses: 10 years usage expectancy → 2,667.4 per year → 0.13 per km
  • Yearly expenses: 2,599 per year → 0.13 per km
  • per km expenses: 0.12 per km

Total: CHF 0.38 per km

I’m not very frugal with my car, though, I’ll not be surprised if most people here have lower costs. Also, the vehicle is new. Repair/maintenance costs could get higher with time.


Disclaimer: We are not motor enthusiasts, don’t use cars for commute, car foe us is something that needs to be reliable, fuel efficient, comfortable

Last car bought ~6-7 years old, good condition family diesel price 12.5k fr, sold for export 7 years later for 1k once it started to need repairs. 10-15,000 km /yr. Cost including taxes, insurance, maintenance & depreciation <4K fr/ year

Very nice. I think the only “unfrugal” thing in your expenses is the purchase of a new car and not used. But a cheap car for that matter. And still the cost per km is high. So for a model 3 that cost 60k the cost of 0.50 CHF per km looks reasonable. And of course, just renting it is more convenient than having to pay it all by yourself over multiple years.

I guess the conclusion is: owning a car in Switzerland is expensive. If you want to be frugal, buy a used Audi or VW for 10k. But then you run into the risk that something breaks and you suddenly need to pay a few thousand for repair.


Fine tuning that: to minimise repairs perhaps increase budget to 15k. Audi or VW are likely not the most economical or reliable either

Interesting article on
Cars driven by millionaires


My GF bought a used VW Polo 6 years ago for 6k. She added another 180’000km on it (4.8L/100km). Lets assume she gets 1k for selling it today:

  • Cost of vehicle: 5k
  • Insurance/taxes: 6k
  • Parking: 12k
  • Tires: 1.2k
  • Repairs: 3k
  • Services/MFK: 1.5k
  • Highway tax: 0.24k
  • Fuel: 14k
  • Total: 43k

43’000 CHF / 180’000km = 0.24 CHF per km


Owning a car can be expensive, although it undeniably gives you a lot of flexibility. Swiss public transport system is capillary clockwork, but it shrinks to almost-nothing outside normal commuting hours, and well, if like many of us you’re foreigner, I bet that in most other countries it does not work like that.

If you use some smart moves you can lowerr a lot your car expenses :
Quick resumé of my case:

  • Used Audi methane engine (gas naturel) : 23k CHF with 25k km and 20 months of age , roughly 10-15k km /yr

Yearly costs :

  • 250 eur (300 CHF) mainteinance (rigorously in Italy, waaaay cheaper)
  • 450 CHF partial casco (discout for gas engine)
  • 120 CHF car tax (discount gas)
  • 600 CHF parking sticker lausanne
  • 200 CHF tyres (overestimate, and I got my winter tyres for free by the retailer)
  • 40 + 200 CHF highway tolls ( CH + ITA)
  • 600 CHF fuel (3.3 kg gas/100km, gas 1.44/kg CH and 0.8/kg ITA)

But I always (in COVID-free times) do blablacar, with an average of 2 people per trip and 25 EUR/trip every 2 months —> 600 CHF bonus per year

So, in conclusion :
yearly cost : rounded to 2000 CHF/year
For 15k km —> 0.13CHF/km


Thanks! That’s probably as low as it gets. Maybe you could lower the parking costs. Then in the future once you can get a cheap used EV, you could bring fuel costs down to 4k.

But a trip to Poland and back with that Polo would have cost 600 CHF, which is still quite a lot.

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Did you count depreciation?

Could someone explain to me the difference between Amortisation and Wertminderung? I thought it’s like this: you buy a car for 60k, sell it after 5 years for 30k, then it depreciates on average by 6k per year. So why does TCS break it down into two parts?

Also, there is the financing cost to consider. If you put 60k out of your pocket, that’s some serious alternative cost to consider. Even with an optimistic assumption of 100% leasing at 1% interest rate, that’s 600 chf interest per year, right?

It depends on the perspective and nature of ownership:

  • Amortisation is regarding leasing and saving for the next car
  • Wertminderung is the depreciation of an owned car


Kosten für Abschreibung oder Wertminderung

Ihr Auto verliert jeden Tag an Wert. Im langfristigen Schnitt rechnet man mit einer Abschreibung von 10 Prozent pro Jahr. Bei Neuwagen ist diese deutlich höher, bei älteren Fahrzeugen dagegen ist die Abschreibung geringer. Der grösste Wertverlust beim Auto findet in den ersten paar Jahren nach Inverkehrsetzung statt.

Kosten für Amortisation

Die Amortisation beschreibt einerseits die zu zahlenden Leasing- oder Kreditraten. Andererseits beschreibt sie das Geld, das Sie ansparen, um später ein gleichwertiges Auto kaufen zu können


I want to challenge the TCS numbers a bit. I checked 2 edge cases. Model 3 costs 52k. With just 5’000 km per year, Amortisierung (a fixed cost) is 4700 CHF and Wertminderung (variable) is 520 CHF. With 50’000 km it goes up to 5200 CHF, Amortisierung stays the same.

So they say the Model 3 will lose 4700 of its value every year, just by standing in the garage. I guess that’s a bit much. Then the Wertminderung, it’s calculated at 0.10 CHF per km. So drive the car like a maniac for 500’000 km non stop, and you’ve used it up. This is also too high IMO. I think a M3 will be able to do 1 million km until its “dead”.

Rule of thumb is that a new car loses 50% of its value in 3 years even if in good condition. Perhaps it’s different for a Tesla. Battery warranty is surely a factor ?


But it’s always a combination of the car getting used up due to kilometres driven and of it not becoming so desirable anymore because of market saturation and because tastes change. Here we have a car that cost 52’000 as new, yet over 10 years it should lose all 52’000 due to Wertminderung (so if it clocks 500’000 km it’s worth nothing) and on top of that comes Amortisierung with 47’000? So 100’000 CHF in total for a car that cost just 52’000?

Find me a 2018 Model 3 for half price :slight_smile:

As you note in the TSLA thread, an EV and a diesel car are two different beasts. What would a commercial rental car cost for your Poland trip?

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