What Are The Hidden Costs Of Owning A Car In Nigeria?

February 5, 2020
2005 corolla car for Zikoko post

According to car salesmen, first-time buyers usually do not anticipate the hidden costs that come along with owning a car. They think it’s just enough to buy, not understanding that the journey is just starting.

The general wisdom around for people seeking to buy a car is that the buying is not the issue and that maintenance is where the frustration resides.

So, being curious about how much money it really does cost, I spoke to a relatively young car owner and here’s what he said:

1) Insurance: N3000.

Insurance is important especially in this country where people are moving anyhow. You can just be on your own and someone will hit you out of nowhere. There are two types of insurance – comprehensive and third party insurance so I am on the cheaper one. Which is a third party and that costs N3,000.

2) Fuel: N5,000 per week.

This is even because my car is fuel economic and I don’t go out too much. Some people that have to go long distances spend twice that amount every week. So, mine is like N20,000 on fuel a month.

3) Servicing: N8,500 every other month.

Well, my car is old, the roads are bad. That means I have to service my car regularly if I don’t want it to die on me. The mechanic changes the oil, checks the brakes and makes sure there are no weird sounds. If it’s just basic maintenance and no other fault, N8,500 does the job. But if there are other issues, stress begins.

4) Papers: Not too sure. Around N10,000.

If you have connect, you can do this for a year but I don’t know anyone so I do mine every 6 months. I think my road worthiness costs N4,500. The whole thing plus money for boys I think costs about N10,000.

5) Miscellaneous: Any amount.

See, I have had to change my horn twice and it cost me N9,500 on both occasions. I mean it was different issues but still the same horn. So, you can just wake up and the car is making a strange noise. I have also had to spend N27,000 remodeling the front part of the car.

6) Sorting people because you have a car: Any amount.

Someone tells you how to park, they want money. Someone opens the gate, they want money. All these things add up over time. There is the assumption that once you have a ride, you have arrived.


When you do the total, that’s like N360,000 at the end of the year and this is a conservative estimate with the hope that nothing dramatic happens.

Hassan Yahaya

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