The Real Cost of Owning a Car in Thailand

The Real Cost of Owning a Car in Thailand

Are you planning to buy a car in Thailand and wondering how much it’ll cost you to own it per year? 

I’ve been driving in Bangkok for more than 10 years and drove my fair share of cars. Most recently, though, I’ve been keeping track of my yearly car expenses. And now I want to share them with you so that you’ll know how much to budget for each month. 

In this guide, you’re going to discover a breakdown of all of the costs you’ll most likely pay each year to own a car in Thailand, including maintenance fees, fuel, tolls, parking, insurance, and more. 

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About My Car

I own a Suzuki XL 7, a mid-range Japanese seven-seater MINI MVP. I’ll use this as the basis for the rest of this guide. This way, you’ll find out roughly how much it costs to own a Japanese car in Thailand.  

Suzuki XL 7
I own a Suzuki XL7, which is considered a mid-range Japanese car.

But keep in mind that the cost of owning a car depends on what kind of car you own. For example, if you buy a European brand like a Mercedes-Benz, Audi, or BMW, you’ll pay much more in maintenance and insurance than if you owned a Japanese brand. 

The model of your car also affects how much you’re going to spend over the long run. Type 1 insurance for a Toyota Camry is ฿28,500, while the same coverage for a Toyota Yaris is only ฿18,000. 

Fueling up in Thailand

I use Fuelio to track my gas costs. Based on my driving distance of 52,038 kilometers, my average consumption rate is 14 kilometers per liter. This breaks down to ฿2.5 per kilometer. I drive around 1,350 kilometers per month.

mileage log xl7
Here’s how much gas I filled up in May 2024, tracked by Fuelio.

As of now, my total fuel cost since buying the car has been ฿128,880, or around ฿40,000 per year. 

Parking in Bangkok

Many department stores in Thailand, especially in Bangkok, charge THB20 per hour for parking. Since I lived on the outskirts of Bangkok, I rarely paid for parking. So, my average parking fee is only ฿200 per month, or ฿2,400 per year. 

Highway Tolls

Since I live in Bangkok, I have to use the highways to get around from time to time.

Depending on the distance, this costs me around ฿50 to ฿100 per time. On average, I pay around ฿800 a month, or ฿9,600 a year for tolls. 

Read more: The Complete Guide to Easy Pass and M-Flow in Thailand

Maintenance and Service Fees

Since buying my car in February 2021, I’ve always gone to the official dealership for regular maintenance every six to seven months. Because I bought the car new, the maintenance was mainly for changing the oil and filters. 

Here’s how much I paid in Thai Baht, in total:

DatePrice
August 24, 2021฿1,764.43
February 25, 2022฿1,991.91
September 16, 2022฿1,226.54
February 13, 2023฿6,352.59
August 11, 2023฿2,023.91
January 26, 2024฿2,324.36
Total฿15,683.74

Many new cars come with free service on the first four service visits. So, as you can see in the table above, my costs get more expensive on the fifth visit. 

Also, my costs were most expensive on the fourth visit because the car was due for a coolant change, new gear oil, spark plugs, and some other miscellaneous items.  

Read more: How to Find a Good Mechanic in Your Area

Car Insurance in Thailand

Car insurance is the biggest cost of owning a car during the first few years. So far, I paid ฿51,200 for four years’ worth of car insurance. I always choose Type 1 insurance because it lets me repair my car at an official service center or with a certified mechanic. 

Read more: Car Insurance in Thailand: A Complete Buying Guide

Here’s the total cost of car insurance, including compulsory insurance so far, in Thai Baht:

Year of InsurancePriceRemark
1st YearFreeAdd-on from buying a new car
2nd Year฿21,300.00Type 1 Insurance, no deductible
3rd Year฿17,800.00Type 1 Insurance, 3,000 deductible
4th Year฿12,500.00Type 1 Insurance, 3,000 deductible
Total฿51,600.00

Annual Car Taxes and Registration Fees

I pay ฿1,593 per year for my car tax. So, for four years, I’ve paid ฿6,372 in total.

Read more: How to Renew Your Car Tax in Thailand 

Changing the Tires

I recently changed my car tires in April 2024. This cost me ฿8,000 for Yokohama E71, 205/55/R16 tires. The price was lower than average because I got a special deal. Without it, it would have cost me around ฿9,500. 

Replacing the Battery

So far, I’ve changed my car’s battery once, in 2023. That cost me ฿1,800. 

Car Washes

I go to the car wash around twice per month, which costs me ฿200 per time. Once in a while, I request a waxing as well, which costs ฿500. So, my car care cost me around ฿5,000 a year. 

car wash in Bangkok
I go to a car care twice a month and paid around ฿5,000 to keep my car clean.

My Total Cost of Owning a Car

For three years and two months, I drove 51,552 kilometers in total (1,356 km/month). I paid ฿266,335.74 in total or ฿7008.84 per month, including the fuel cost.

Here’s a cost breakdown in Thai Baht:

TypeTotal CostPer YearPer Month
Fuel฿128,880.00฿40,698.95฿3,391.58
Parking฿7,600.00฿2,400.00฿200.00
Tollway฿30,400.00฿9,600.00฿800.00
Maintenance฿15,683.74฿4,952.76฿412.73
Tyres฿8,000.00฿2,526.32฿210.53
Battery฿1,800.00฿568.42฿47.37
Car Insurance฿51,600.00฿16,294.74฿1,357.89
Car Tax฿6,372.00฿2,012.21฿167.68
Cleaning฿16,000.00฿5,052.63฿421.05
Total฿266,335.74฿84,106.02฿7,008.84

Note that my Suzuki is a new car, so the maintenance cost is quite low. Previously, I had a 1994 Volkswagen Passat B4. 

While the maintenance cost at that time was around ฿24,000 a year (฿2,000 a month), the total cost of owning the a car was the same as my current car because it cost me just ฿3,200 a year for car insurance.

Because of my Volkswagen’s age, I could only get Type 3 insurance. Fortunately, I never had a car accident during that time. 

But I was only able to visit independent mechanics for maintenance, which was much cheaper than official Volkswagen service centers. 

How Much Will You Spend Owning a Car in Thailand?  

Based on my example, to own a car in Thailand, you’ll need around ฿7,000 to ฿10,000 per month for the cost of fuel, insurance, and maintenance. 

This cost can be lower or higher depending on the make, model, and age of the car, and how much your driving habits. 

So, if you want to buy a car in Thailand, always add these costs into your budget. After all, owning a car is going to be more expensive than taking public transportation.

But if you ask me if the costs are worth it, my answer would be yes. 

Avatar photo
Saran Lhawpongwad is a Bangkokian by birth. He loves to share what he learns based on his insights living and running business in Thailand. While not at his desk, he likes to be outdoors exploring the world with his family. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn.

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