Not all students need a car to get around. However, whether you’re a student or not, there are benefits to enjoy from driving.
Professor Lynne Pearce, a lecturer at Lancaster University, explains that there are psychological advantages to driving, the biggest of which being that it allows you time to think productively. As well as offering the chance to switch off for a bit, there are more bonuses for student motorists. From being able to easily visit friends and family to having the space to stash belongings when driving home for the holidays, having a motor is a convenient addition to any student’s life. But with so many options, car finance and other factors to consider the choice often isn’t easy. Read our student car checklist to help make that decision easier…
The Student Car Checklist
If you’re thinking of investing in a car while you’re studying, you need to strike the right balance between bagging a motor that suits your budget and making sure that it’s safe and won’t break down the second you take it on a motorway. Therefore, it’s worth creating a checklist to help you find the best deal. Here are some things to consider before you buy:
How much do you want to pay for your car? The price you pay will be significant, so you’ll need to do some research before you commit.
As well as making sure you’re getting a good deal on the sticker price, you’ll also need to research fuel costs. While many of us will be driving electric cars in the next decade, the chances are you’ll be buying a petrol or diesel car for now, so you’ll need to work out how much a full tank will cost you.
Where will you park your car? You might need to think about parking costs if you have lectures in the city centre. Research the prices of car parks and see if there’s cheap or free parking on campus.
Car Finance Options
Are you thinking of going for car finance or do you have the cash ready to buy a second-hand car from a dealership? Whichever camp you fall into, you’ll need to consider how much the car price is. If you go for a car on finance, can you keep up with repayments? And if you have savings that you want to put into buying your car outright, is the price offered for the motor you like fair for the age, style, and mileage?
Make sure you’re ready to part with your cash before you sign anything, especially if you’re entering into a car finance deal, as this is a big commitment.
How will you fund any repairs your car needs? While it might be in great condition when you buy it, your car might need parts replacing or areas fixing. Even new cars need to be repaired and updated in order to keep them running.
The Importance of Keeping Safe
Another essential part of your checklist is how you’ll keep safe in your car. Check the safety rating of the car you like as this will tell you what features it has. If it’s an older model, be sure to research and double check seatbelts and air bags.
MOTs and services are also important for keeping you safe. These checks can prove costly if any major work needs doing, but if you look after your car and pay attention to anything that seems off before taking it to the local garage for a check, you’ll find that it’s likely to run better for longer. More importantly, it means you’ll be safer on the roads.
Another form of safety is insurance. Having a form of cover will protect you financially in the event of an accident. Different policies cover different things, so look at what could be helpful for your circumstances.
Top Cars for Student Drivers
There are plenty of cars on the market. When you’re searching for the right one for you, it can be tricky to know where to begin. There are several models that are suited to student drivers, however.
The Skoda Citigo mostly fits into group one insurance, making it a cheaper car to run. It has small, city-friendly dimensions, so it’s ideal for parking in busy car parks.
The Fabia is another Skoda classic that’s insurance group two and has a generous kit. Plus it’s a reliable model, so you’re likely to be driving it long after you finish uni.
The Dacia is the cheapest new car on the market, and it fits into insurance group two, so it’s budget friendly. Higher trim levels increase the base price, but whichever level you choose, you’ll get an easy drive here.
These are just some of the models on the market. Of course, there are classic options such as the Ford Fiesta that always rate highly for student drivers.
Research the models (and car finance options if that’s your plan), that work for you and weigh up your options before taking the leap.