Looking for a car is stressful. Being a college student and looking for a car is even worse. Try ten times worse! We have less money, less credit … but hey, I’m not here to discourage you! As a matter of fact, I want to help you with the search. I myself recently had to purchase a car; I found the most beautiful PT Cruiser, and now we are happily together.
I learned a lot in that search for a new car, so I’ll share my thoughts and tips with you. If you’re looking to buy a car for the very first time, some of these may come in handy for you, too!
- Go for Used Vehicles. Look, unless you’re rich, or your parents are paying for your vehicle, you’re buying used. There is absolutely no problem with that – after all, buying used teaches you to be more resourceful!
- Do Your Research. Since you are going to be buying used, you need to know some basic mechanics. If you’re buying from a private seller, you want to be able to spot problems right away, and if you’re buying from a lot, you still won’t have a warranty (most likely), so you’ll need to know how to do basic stuff like changing oil and tires. For a basic maintenance guide, go here.
- How Much Space? You’re going to need some space! I used to drive a small, single-cab truck, but I needed something bigger. You’re going to be moving twice a semester, four times a year (or more if you take summer classes), and you’re going to be carting around lots of people and stuff in between. I loved my small truck, but I couldn’t handle more than one passenger – so having space will make your life much easier. And think about the logistics of it. Say your university is three hours away from home. Your fridge goes out. You drive a tiny car. How are you going to buy a new one and get it back to your dorm?
- Know Your Price Range. This is a biggie. The price determines whether or not you’ll need financing. If it’s at all possible for you, try to get a personal loan. That’s what I did! It’s no fun being indebted to one specific person, but not having to pay interest is golden. If you have to finance with a company, make sure you’re taking care of your credit score so that you don’t pay more than you should have to.
- Look Around. Consider your options; if it takes two more weeks to find something great, that’s okay. Don’t stress and don’t settle! Your car will be your best friend for several years, so find a car you you’ll e able depend on for the rest of your college career.
I hope these tips help, and that your car is always wonderful to you.
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