What to Know About Owning a Car in College

Owing a car

Congrats! You’ve been accepted at the college of your dreams and you’re preparing to move out. As you are buying all of your college dorm and classroom supplies, there is another important purchase that you should think about. Many students find themselves in need of a car while at college, and don’t always have the biggest budget to get one. Here are a few things that you should know about buying and owning a car in college. 

Pros and Cons of Owning a Car in College

First off, there are many pros and cons of owning a car in college that you need to consider. Some of the pros are that it is a lot easier to get around, especially if your campus is large and your housing isn’t in a super convenient place. Having a car is also helpful when you need to get to the grocery store or local library. If you intend to go on dates and have a fun social life, having a car will definitely help out with that. Best of all, having a car means you can go home for the holidays to see your family and parents. However, there are some cons of owning a car in college. College is already expensive enough without having to pay for pricey gas or a hefty car payment. Also, your college may have limitations on parking or how many cars can be allowed on campus. This can make it difficult to navigate life with a car at college. 

What You Should Spend

If you’ve decided that you’d like to invest in a college car, you need to know how much you should spend. It is likely that you’ll want to buy a cheaper used car, especially if you are paying for your own rent and tuition. It is important to stick to your budget when it comes to shopping for a college car. If you’re trying to calculate how much you can afford to spend on a car, there are car payment calculators that you can use online. Buying a used car can be great if you simply don’t have the money to keep up with a car payment. However, it is also important to remember that a used car may come along with some repair costs and lower fuel efficiency than a new car. So, factor in some extra payments for those types of costs if you’re buying a used car. 

How to Limit Your Car Usage

Remember, the more you limit your car usage, the less you’ll have to pay for gas and repairs. Especially if your college campus has a lot of local amenities, it can be easy to use your car minimally and walk or bike to close locations. This can save you a lot of money. It can also help improve the air quality in your area, which your college will be very happy about. 

Protect Your Car

Once you have your college car, you’ll want to make sure that you take extra measures to protect it from costly damage. There are lots of different methods that you can take to protect your car. For example, you can add an additional layer of protection to your car, called a clear bra. A clear bra protects your car from damage from sap, debris, rocks, and other elements. IT not only protects your car’s paint but also protects your car from scratches and dents, which could lead to future problems. As you spend a little extra money on treatments to protect your car from expensive damage, you’ll save money down the road. 

Research Fuel Efficiency

If you’ve decided to buy a car but aren’t sure what kind of car is right for you, there are a couple of things that you should consider and research. One of the most important features of a good college car is good fuel efficiency or gas mileage. Lots of smaller cars usually have pretty good fuel efficiency. Bigger cars like trucks or SUVs are known as “gas guzzlers” and tend to use up gas very quickly. If your car has good fuel efficiency, you will save a lot on gas, because your car won’t use up gas as quickly. 

What to Know About a Used Car

There are also a few more things you should know about buying a used car for college. When you’re looking at buying a used car, you should always check the insurance rate that you will get on the car. Insurance rates change depending on your type of car and its age. You will want to find a used car with a manageable insurance rate. You’ll also want to look into the warranties that are offered with your car so you know what repairs will be covered in case of an emergency. It is also a good idea to check your tires and see if they need replacing, as well as checking for other common damage on the vehicle. Knowing about these different factors will help you to decide whether or not you’d like to buy a used car. 

Lease or Buy

You should also know that buying a car isn’t your only option. You can also lease a vehicle if you aren’t wanting to own your college car long-term. For students on a tight budget, leasing can be easier to manage since monthly lease payments are usually lower than monthly car payments. You also can usually lease a nicer, newer car for much cheaper than you can buy one. However, you do need to know that you might have some extra charges at the end of your leasing contract according to your mileage limitations. 

College Limitations

One of the last things you should know about having a car in college is that your college may have specific limitations when it comes to students with cars. For example, you may be required to park in a certain area on campus that is designated student parking. That student parking might not always be super convenient for you. Additionally, you might have to register your car on campus and pay for a parking pass, which can be kind of expensive. Some campuses are really trying to decrease the number of students with cars, so they offer free public transportation for students. Before you decide to buy a college car, check the car limitations and requirements at your college. 

As you are getting closer to making your decision about a college car, remember the things that have been discussed in this article. Take your time to research the different options that are available to you to find a decision that matches your needs and lifestyle. If you follow the steps suggested in this article, you’ll be better prepared to make a smart decision about having a car in college.

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