Used Cars: What Every College Student Driver Should Know

Having a car isnít just a cool feeling for high school students, itís the same for college bound students as well. Cars in general typically represent responsibility and freedom and thereís no opportune time than the college years for students to really indulge in this experience. While not mandatory, having access to a vehicle is a major convenience in many ways.

But purchasing a car is a major investment. Students looking to cut costs might think that going for a used car is an easy way out but the process of shopping around, comparing prices and knowing youíre getting a quality product is no different than wanting to buy a brand new car.

Below are some important factors college drivers need to take into account when considering the purchase of a used car:

Donít Be LazyóPut in the Work!

The type of used car you wind up with is oftentimes a direct result of the efforts (or lack of) put into the research phase. If anything, students should be more diligent about thoroughly checking out used vehicles, as they tend to come with a higher risk of problems and/or performance issues.

Even if car shopping is something you just hate, set aside the time to conduct a good search. Coming out with a solid and dependable used car in the end will be well worth it.

Make Sure You Know Everything About the Carís History

The most common piece of advice anybody will give when it comes to buying a used car is to know its history. This means asking for information about how previous owners treated the vehicle, a list of repairs done on the car, any recalls, as well as reports for any accidents it may have been in.

There are a few different methods for going about getting a full background check on a used carís history, especially online. Whatever method you choose, make sure itís free (never pay for a record check on a vehicle). Itís even better if you can manage to get a free VIN check, which is an additional, reliable way of knowing exactly what a carís history looks like.

Calculate All Costs, Not Just the Sticker Price

Whether a used car is purchased from another person for a flat fee or financed after purchase through a dealership, college drivers need to plan their budgets accordingly. Of course there is the sticker price and monthly payments to factor in but when it comes to owning an older car, the most pressing expense is maintenance. Sure, thereís the oil changes, tune-ups and gas but the older the car, the more likely it is to break down and require certain types of repair work that newer cars have yet to experience.

Crunch the numbers and make sure your student budget can accommodate any long-term repairs and maintenance. If not, opting for a new car might be the more affordable solution or seek a used car that has a reputation for being low-maintenance.

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