Tips for Buying a Car for College

June 27, 2012 Category: College Tips

In instances where a student has both a job and a class schedule to commit to, having a vehicle is a huge convenience. However, if you’re not in a situation where you already have access to a car and find that you have to purchase one, undergoing this process can be daunting and overwhelming.

Being on a student budget doesn’t always help matters, either. The tips below are useful factors that should be kept in mind.

It’s Gotta Be Gas-Friendly

You don’t have to purchase a hybrid in order to save on gas (as much money as these types of cars can save in the long run, the starting price isn’t always very affordable). There are plenty of makes and models that are now specifically designed to be good on gas in both city and open road environments.

Buying a Car for College

Because having a vehicle means an added expense, college students on a budget will want to opt for a car that won’t literally drive them into the poorhouse because by being a gas guzzler.

Buy for Practicality, Not Looks

It’s tempting to want a car that looks flashy and will be the envy of peers on campus but unless money isn’t a factor, chances are you’re going to have to compromise.

The purpose of the vehicle is to make it easier to get to and from campus and other commitments–not to show off.

Make sure the car you choose is best suited for your environment. Is your college or university located in a densely populated, metropolitan area like San Francisco or New York? Selecting a compact car that’s easy to squeeze into tight spots may be your best bet, compared to a truck or traditional sized SUV.

Go for Roomy Makes & Models

Having an automobile that has plenty of room is going to make life much more convenient. Being able to fit a lot of stuff into the trunk and/or backseat is ideal for students that have various commitments throughout the week. Instead of making extra trips to pick up and/or switch out necessary items and belongings, the storage space can serve as a real time saver, plus cut down on the gas used for each trip.

Safety Matters

While all cars manufactured are meant to be safe, some makes and models have been tested and certified as being safer than others. For each vehicle being considered, it is worth getting a consumer report to find out how each one has been rated by actual drivers.

Even if a student is only going to use the car to go from home to campus and back, anything can happen and it’s worth spending money on a choice that will improve the odds of walking away from an accident, should one occur.

Budget for the Expense

It helps to make sure you can afford a car before actually purchasing one. Crunch numbers and use resources like cost calculators to find out how much you’d have to earn to comfortably make a car payment each month, plus other costs like insurance, maintenance, etc.

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