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Running costs

An important part of purchasing a mobile home after the major initial cost is knowing what the ongoing expenses are ie how much it costs to keep your vehicle on the road.  We don't often remember to factor this into our buying decision but it can make a difference on a tight budget.


Each year you will have the following REGULAR COSTS:

  • Insurance
  • Registration
  • Self containment certificate (where applicable every 48 months)
  • Warrant / Certificate of Fitness - usually 6-monthly for an older vehicle and 12-monthly for a new one.
  • Warrant of Electrical Fitness - valid for 48 months


The FLEXIBLE REGULAR COSTS are relative to how much you will use the vehicle:

  • Fuel costs
  • Road user charges (if not petrol)


The VARIABLE COSTS consist of routine preventative maintenance and one-off repairs.

Each of the following need checking, and if necessary servicing:

  • Air conditioning gas
  • Anything that moves like a sliding door which may need greasing
  • Battery terminals and fluid level
  • Brake pads & fluid levels
  • Chassis nuts and bolts
  • Electronics (if applicable)
  • Fuel, air conditioning and air filters
  • Light bulbs, headlight glass, and fuses 
  • Locks, latches and hinges
  • Oil & filters
  • Radiator coolant level & condition
  • Rubber boots
  • Rust
  • Spark plugs
  • Timing belt
  • Transmission & power steering (if applicable) levels
  • Tyres - rotation & wheel alignment, balance, pressure & tread
  • Window & skylight seals; skylight condition
  • Windscreen water resevoir and wiper blades 


Some QUESTIONS to have in the back of your mind when assessing a vehicle are:

  • Is the vehicle a common make?
  • Are parts still available? 
  • Can I find a manual for this vehicle?
  • What am I able to do myself?
  • Is it controlled by an on-board computer that only a mechanic can diagnose?
  • Is there a service / repair person in our local area?



To calculate the cost per kilometre of a diesel vehicle:



Yes, this is the long way to do it, but I wanted to see what the total $ amount to budget was too, otherwise you can do it like this:




To compare a diesel vehicle to a petrol vehicle per litre of fuel:



Note: Neither calculation includes the admin fee for purchasing RUCs.

To find the RUC charge per kilometre for your type of vehicle (and the various admin fees) visit the NZTA website





For mileage rates you can try asking the vendor / manufacturer, generally searching online or you may find something (in the future) at Fuelly especially if you choose to contribute.


* 6200km - this is an estimate for how many kilometres a decent round trip of New Zealand might be.