For the college-bound student, having a vehicle to take to campus makes a significant difference in terms of lifestyle and freedom. Then again, it also represents an extra expense for new freshmen and/or their parents. Those willing to incur the cost face the challenge of buying a new or used car in just a matter of weeks. Selecting and procuring an automobile in a short time depends on a few variables including whether or not the student will live on campus, how far the school is from home, parking conditions on and off campus, and whether or not your child will be working while in school.
New or Used?
On the face of it, a used car might seem like the logical choice since a pre-owned is very often cheaper than a new vehicle. Of course, affordability is key for a collegian whose income is by definition limited. On the other hand, you want the best automobile for the money since this car should last at least four years. Auto industry professionals advise looking at fuel efficiency and overall safety ratings, whether new or used. In addition, size and ease of maneuvering are essential factors under consideration. If the car is used, check out the accident history. Whether you buy a new or used car for your college student, it’s important to think about the college student’s lifestyle so you are certain you are choosing the right vehicle.
All that said, the sticker price and purchase discounts cannot be ignored. The good news is that dealers are willing to offer lower prices to college students, especially if parents are buying. Still, these deals show up when you sniff around for them so you’ll have to be proactive. Research dealer websites and call them to confirm that your son or daughter is eligible for such a financial allowance for college students. When buying the vehicle, you need to consider who will be responsible for the payment, insurance, gas, and upkeep costs.
What about Leasing?
With a good credit rating — and a solid driving record for the student — a parent might consider leasing a car rather than purchasing one. Why? For one thing, monthly payments are ordinarily lower on leases than with purchase financing. Furthermore, you have the option of turning the car in when the lease expires. Some sellers offer postponed payments and lower deposits as well.
Locating the Optimal Automobile
Dealers are sellers, not brokers. They own the car — until you do. Finding a dealer, or anyone who wants to part with a car that matches your specifications — is often a matter of timing, i.e. how many current models are still in their inventory when the manufacturer rolls out new ones. The state of the economy and supply chain will also determine how generous they can be with bargains. Although some dealers consistently reach out to college students and parents, others only do so when they must. Diligent and relentless research is well worth it when the lifestyle, safety, and budget of your collegian are at stake.