What to Consider When Buying Your College Student a Car?

Black woman holding keys to new car and smiling at camera

College offers freedom, independence and helps students become mature adults. Most teens prefer to attend colleges that may be far away from home. At some point, you might consider getting your college student a car so they can move around conveniently. 

There are many benefits to owning a car in college. It helps students improve their driving skills and learn how to maintain a car. When buying a car for your teen, you need to choose the right car, finance the purchase, and shop around for cheap car insurance.

Factors to consider when deciding to buy your college student a car

Most college students have little to no driving experience. Before you purchase a car for your teen, make sure that it’s totally worth it. Here are some factors to consider when deciding to buy your college student a car. 

  • Are they going to a college far away?

Many students get accepted into colleges that are situated in other cities or states. There won’t be any family members to help them get around or provide assistance. Cars make it easier for students to be on time for classes. They also get to visit their parents whenever they feel homesick.

  • Are they living on or off campus?

Students who live off campus may benefit from having a car more than those who live on campus. They need a fast and reliable means of transportation to help with their daily routine. If they stay on or off campus, make sure to research safe parking and the fees they’d have to pay. 

  • Is there adequate public transport?

Public transport can be quite useful for college students but it has some downsides. Buses and trains can run behind schedules, and it can be difficult to find a seat during peak hours. If public transport doesn’t help them move to and from campus quickly, they should consider alternative options. 

  • Can they use alternative transport?

There are some alternatives to buying a car for your college student. They can use bicycles, skateboards, longboards, scooters, and other green options. They could also walk or share a ride with friends who own cars. Lyft and Uber are also available for your teen who’s in college.

  • Is it financially feasible? 

Before you decide to buy your college student a car, you need to check your finances. There needs to be a budget for weekly expenses such as gas, maintenance, and repair costs. And since teens typically pay higher rates, you also need to search for cheap car insurance companies

  • Will your child take on part-time work?

Your college student can maintain a job during the school year. They’ll get to gain some real experience and earn an income too. If your teen has a car, it’s much easier for them to travel to work. They might also start a side hustle as a delivery driver and use the vehicle to earn some extra money.

  • How responsible is your teen?

It’s common for college students to get distracted by their cars. They may attend late-night parties, drive around town with friends and forget to pay attention to their studies. Make sure that your teen is responsible enough to practice safe driving and not wander around with friends. 

Factors to consider when choosing a car 

When your teen learns to drive, it shows how they’re starting to grow older. Your college student’s car will help them practice driving and become more experienced. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a car for your teen. 

  • The type of car

Your teen may dream of having fancy sports cars, but those types are not the best option. College students need efficient cars that would help with their daily movement. You should consider a larger vehicle with good reliability and safety ratings, high-fuel efficiency, and spacious cargo capacity.

  • A used car 

Although the latest car models have advanced technology, it’s better to settle for a used car. It’s much more affordable and can make your college student eligible for cheap car insurance. Besides, used cars are a much safer option for teens and first-time drivers. 

  • Install a tracking/monitoring app

It’s normal to get skeptical about college students and want to monitor their movements. You can secretly track their car without them knowing. It helps you discover their driving behavior and the places they’re visiting. GPS trackers can be hidden under a seat, in the car trunk, or under the vehicle itself. 

  • Will leasing be a cheaper way to finance the vehicle?

Car leasing can help you finance your teen’s car. It’s a more affordable option that allows you to pay monthly. If your college student prefers a newer car model, leasing can make it possible. After 2 or 3 years, you can purchase the vehicle or return it to the dealership. Make sure to read the terms of the contract before agreeing to it. 

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