What you’ll pay after you buy your car

It’s more than just the sticker price. Here are the extra expenses that you might be up for before you can drive away.

So you’ve found a car that meets all your needs, and you’re happy with the price. But have you thought about the additional costs you’ll be up for when you drive away? There are a number of costs that can add to the advertised price and you need to consider these when deciding how much to borrow for a car loan, or if you can afford the car at all.

Compulsory third party insurance (CTP)

Prices vary depending on your age, type of car and state, but you must pay for compulsory third party insurance to register the vehicle. It insures against any damage you cause to other people or their property. You need to do this as soon as you purchase the vehicle.

Different providers have similar prices because CTP has to be affordable, so go with a provider that has good customer service and a strong reputation.


Again, costs vary depending on the type of vehicle and state. If you are buying the car privately, it should already be registered so you will get the remaining annual registration fee included in the purchase price.

Dealers may or may not have the car currently registered and will try to use free registration as a selling tool. Make sure you check the conditions of sale as some dealers might include registration but only for three months, not a full year.

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is charged by the state in which the car is registered. Amounts vary depending on the vehicle type and state. Expect to pay at least 3% of the sale price or average market value, whichever is more. You will pay when transferring registration into your name. Make sure you do the transfer quickly as extra fees are charged after two weeks.

Most states have reduced stamp duty on low-emission or green cars. Check with your relevant motoring authority for the exact amount.

Luxury car tax

If you are buying a fairly expensive car, then you might be subject to luxury car tax. There is no way to avoid paying this tax which is currently 33% for every dollar over $63,185. Low-emission or green cars have a higher threshold of $75,375.

Dealer-delivery costs

New car dealers charge dealer-delivery fees. You don’t get anything extra for paying this, it’s just another way for dealers to increase their margin on the sale.


If you’re buying second hand, you might need to upgrade some of the car’s equipment or purchase devices to make your driving experience more enjoyable. Perhaps it's a new sound system that has Bluetooth connectivity or a navigation device. Floor mats and seat covers are common extras that you can easily overlook during the sales process.


It might seem silly, but it's not much fun having to drive straight to a petrol station from the car dealer. Unless it is part of the contract, you will probably get a car with a near-empty tank.

Toll device

If you live in a major city, then you will undoubtedly use toll roads. Most tags require a deposit to be paid and money to be put into the account upfront.

If you are borrowing to pay for the car, you can usually get the large purchasing costs included in your loan. If you’re paying cash, make sure you factor them into your budget so you don’t come up short post sale.

As always, make sure you understand the contract before you agree to purchase a car. Dealers may or may not include these extra costs in the purchase price even if the deal includes on-road costs.

Picture: Shutterstock

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