How to Keep a Car on the Cheap in College

If you choose to commute to college, you will need a reliable automobile. However, you may not have a lot of money to spend on transportation. Therefore, it is critical that you know how to find an inexpensive vehicle and keep it running until you find a job after graduation.

Buy Low but Reliable

Used cars almost always cost less than new cars because they tend to be older, have more miles on them or have fewer features. The good news is that you can still find something that won’t need a lot of maintenance by doing research into cars in your price range. It’s a good idea to decide on a budget before you go car shopping rather than when you’re already looking at cars.

Ideally, you want to buy from a brand that has a track record of reliability or from a brand that offers a long warranty. Depending on your needs, you may want to consider leasing a car instead of buying one. Leases typically last for two or three years at roughly the same payment you’ll make buying a used car.

Keep Up on Maintenance

Adhering to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule can help to avoid excess wear or other costly problems from developing. Changing the engine oil and flushing engine fluids can keep metallic parts cool, clean and properly lubricated. Rotating a car’s tires makes it more likely that they will last for their entire useful life of up to 60,000 miles. Regularly replacing brake pads reduces the odds that you’ll need to replace calipers or rotors.

Drive Safe

Safe driving is key to low drivers insurance costs as it minimizes the chances that you will be in an accident or otherwise damage your vehicle. One of the worst things you can do to your car is lend it to others. This is because people tend to drive other people’s vehicles faster and harder than they would their own. In the event that another person gets into an accident while driving your car, you could be responsible for paying to get the vehicle fixed.

When properly cared for, a car can last for hundreds of thousands of miles. Depending on how much you drive, it may take many years or decades before your vehicle reaches the end of its useful life. The longer that you can go without a car payment or significant car repair bill, the easier it can be to pay student loans or reach other financial goals.