It’s all set. You passed your admissions test and sent off your applications, and several colleges said “yes.”
Now all that’s left to do is to wait till orientation day.
But how will you get there?
You need wheels, but as a brand-new college student, you might not know the first thing about car buying. Not to worry!
Here are several helpful tips for choosing a car for college.
Check Your Funds
First, decide if buying a car in college is the best idea right now. Unless you have a trust fund handy, money is tight, even with a part-time job.
Total your assets. How much have you saved?
If you haven’t saved much, start now and set aside a portion of your paychecks and any gift money. Put it in a savings account, not a coin bank, and make more money on the interest.
Meanwhile, look at your expenses and calculate what you can pay for a car (be realistic and go a bit lower). By the way, you need to figure in insurance, gas, regular maintenance to keep it safe and running smoothly, and taxes in the long run, even as your car depreciates in value.
Truthfully, even if you get a car on the cheap, it’s still going to cost you down the line.
Determine the Right Car for Your Needs
Next, before considering makes and models, decide what you need your car to do. Figure out the traits you’re looking for.
No matter what you pick, take gas mileage, safety features, and safety recall history into account as you boil down your choices. Again, unless you’re independently wealthy, look for used before new cars. The past two decades turned out an abundance of great cars that can last a very long time.
Once you’ve decided on a vehicle, do an Internet search to find automobiles for sale. Consider this window shopping for now, and don’t start calling on the first car you see.
Find the best examples of the make and model you’re searching for in the price range you’d prefer and compile a top 10 list. Next, make a few calls, and if you can, request the vehicle identification number (VIN) from each car.
With it, you can look up the entire maintenance and repair history of the vehicle before checking it out.
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Kick the Tires, so to Speak
When you arrive in person to see the car you’ve decided on, make sure you’re accompanied by a more experienced adult who’s purchased cars before, which is one of the most advantageous tips for choosing a car for college.
They may not know everything, but they’re likelier to recognize a lemon or common dealership selling techniques. Show up knowing more about the car than you need to.
Ask to take a test drive and note any unpleasant sounds or smells and how it handles. If it feels good, buy it, but be ready to take care of it so it takes care of you.
Image Credit: tips for choosing a car for college by Pixabay
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