How Much Is Wear and Tear on a Car Per Mile?

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Fuel + oil changes + new tires + other maintenance/repairs + depreciation = wear and tear per mile.
Wear and tear probably isn’t something you give much thought to, but it can make a big difference to the overall
cost of your vehicle
. By calculating wear and tear, you can better understand the real cost of driving your car.
That’s why the
car insurance
and broker app
has compiled everything you need to know to calculate wear and tear on your vehicle.

What is wear and tear?

Wear and tear defines how much resale value your vehicle loses with each mile you drive. Normal wear and tear on a car includes:
  • Replacement of lights, tires, and brakes
  • Exterior
    scratches and dings
    that can be buffed out
  • Interior stains that can be cleaned and removed
  • Tires that match the recommended guidelines from the manufacturer
  • Small cracks in lamps and turn signals
  • Minor nicks or scuffs on the wheel covers

How to calculate wear and tear on your car

To figure out wear and tear on your car per mile, you’ll need to consider the expenses of the following items:
  • Fuel
  • Oil changes
  • New tires
  • Other maintenance and unexpected repairs


The cost of fuel is usually top of mind when you think about vehicle operating costs because you’re filling up the tank often, so it’s a hard one to forget.
To figure out your cost per mile, determine the miles per gallon for your vehicle. If you travel mainly on the highway or in the city, use the applicable number. Otherwise, use the combined average.
Then, determine your average fuel price.
Avg. fuel price / mpg = cost per mile

Oil changes

If you follow best practices, your vehicle likely gets an oil change every 5,000–7,000 miles or so. You’ll need to determine how often your car needs an oil change, then the total cost for your oil change.
Oil change cost / mileage = cost per mile

New tires

Unless you drive very little
, your car will need new tires at some point during its lifespan—and tires can be incredibly pricey!
To figure out the cost per mile, determine how much the tires you need (or already purchased) cost. Most tires are rated to last around 60,000 miles.
Tire cost / 60,000 miles = cost per mile

Other maintenance and unexpected repairs

This category is different for everyone and depends heavily on the age and condition of your vehicle. Vehicles with more than 100,000 miles on them tend to require a lot more in the way of maintenance—things like transmission fluid exchanges, tune-ups, brake pad changes, etc.
Determine how much you spend, on average, each year for your vehicle maintenance and repairs. Then, determine how many miles you usually drive per year.
Annual spend / miles per year = cost per mile

Car depreciation per mile

Put simply, depreciation is how much you paid for the car over the life of its use—and it’s usually a lot more than you think!
To calculate depreciation, figure out the total cost of your vehicle (including any interest on
), its trade-in value, and the number of miles you expect it to last you.
(Vehicle cost – trade-in value) / expected mileage = cost per mile

The average cost per mile to drive

To find out the total wear and tear per mile, add up all the above per mile costs.
Fuel + oil changes + new tires + other maintenance/repairs + depreciation = wear and tear per mile
Your total is what it costs you per mile to drive. And while the cost might seem pretty low, consider how much you drive each day. You might be surprised how quickly it adds up!
Figure out the per-mile cost of fuel, oil changes, tires, maintenance and repairs, and depreciation. Add it all up for the total wear and tear per mile.
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