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Keeping A Driving Instructors Car On The Road

 In Motoring, News

We all know that the cost of buying a new car can be great, in fact for most of us buying a new car is the second most expensive lifetime purchase after buying a house. However across our driving lives when we consider how many cars we might buy this cost is often astronomical. If we consider a purchase price of around £20000 for a new car and we replace every 5 years then we probably buy 10 plus cars in our lifetimes at a cost of over £200000. Is it really worth it? Here we are talking about the average household and not driving instructors.

Consider the options available to us it may be better for us in the long run not to buy a car at all but to lease it. With very little sell on value of a car with high mileage and heavy use then simply buying a car may be a purchase with no value. Consider being a driving instructor for example. The average purchase price of a learner car may be around £15000. The average annual mileage is around 30000 (to compare this to average mileage on small cars used for pleasure at around 10000 this is very high). So on average as instructors we may have to change our cars every 3 years or so… the costs on buying add up all the time.

Driving Instructors Cars

The simple maths on this is that the annual cost on owning a learner car is around £5000 but this is just the start of the costs associated with this. What really adds up is the running costs of owning the vehicle. As I’ve already stated, driving instructor cars are doing very high mileage and most of these miles are spend in low gears. The wear on the engine and other major parts of the car is seen as very high. Although new cars come with manufacturer warrantees most of these warrantees expire after 30000 miles, so after 1 year, and many warrantees will not cover major parts being driven in extreme circumstances. What could give a car more ‘abuse’ than learner drivers?

So let’s talk about running costs. Fuel costs run at £3000 to £4000 a year.  We have to service the cars at much higher intervals than average so 3 to 4 times a year. We replace tyres on a very regular basis (probably a tyre a month). Clutches and gear boxes go much quicker. To give an example in my learner car the clutch costs between £1100 and £1800 to replace. You can see the costs starting to mount.

Again we ask the question, is it worth buying a new car to instruct in if the average monthly cost of this is around £1000 a month. Does the learner want to learn in a well maintained, clean, new car? I would say yes, even though most see a car as a car with so many learner cars on the road would you choose one to learn in that looks beat up?

Weighing Up The Cost

So let’s go back to the question of whether driving instructors should lease their cars. Lease hire cars are often fully maintained so no hidden costs but leasing is so called dead money. Weighing up never owning a car versus owning a car that might be a bottomless put of expense is a difficult one. We all want to maximise value to ourselves and indeed the learner who eventually covers this cost in the price of the lesson. Who ever thinks that the full cost of driving lessons goes straight into the pocket of the instructor is massively mistaken. I would be a well off instructor if my £28 per hour goes straight into my pocket. Have you ever seen a wealthy driving instructor…

So next time you look at the cost of driving lessons have a thought of how much it costs just to run a driving school car. Driving isn’t cheap for any of us but for driving instructors it is a massive expense compared to our income

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