6 Tips for Buying Your First Car as a Student

Buying your first car in college is one of the most exciting and memorable occasions you may experience as a student. With the everyday need of going to university or college, a personal vehicle becomes more of a necessity, rather than just an attractive possibility. And even students on campus who can certainly get by without their own car, know how beneficial it may be sometimes to have a personal means of transportation.

At first, purchasing your first car may seem tricky. But you shouldn’t be overwhelmed by high price tags or the nearly infinite number of cars available. It’s not as difficult to choose one as it may seem. Choosing a car becomes much easier with a bit of research, financial planning, and persistence. To help you with that even more, here are 6 tips that may be useful if you decide to buy your first car.

1. What Exactly Do You Want And Need?

Before buying anything, you should have at least a general idea of the type of car you’d like to drive. You might spend some time figuring out what exactly you want from your future car. 

And if you don’t have that time because you are neck-deep in your studies – you can always hire an essay writer on essay helper service. Spend your time thinking about your potential car instead of writing tons of boring essays!

Now, when you have enough time, ask yourself simple questions:

  • Do I need a car for a city or rural area? 
  • Do I need a car for every day or just for weekends?
  • Do I have enough space to store my car at home? 
  • Do I want a V8 monster or a small subcompact?
  • Do I even fit comfortably in the car? 

By answering these basic questions, you’ll quickly figure out what kind of car you need exactly. The reasons to buy this or that specific car are obviously different for anybody. Such a little brainstorming may help you a lot when choosing the right car. 

2. Figure Out Your Budget

The cost of owning a car is not only the price of the car itself. Don’t forget about the cost of insurance, fuel, maintenance, and repairs – people often don’t take this into account. 

Before buying a car, you should clearly understand how much you can afford to spend throughout the year. Because purchasing a car is the start of your financial obligations and extra costs. Consider this before making the final decision. 

Assuming you are paying rent and other stuff, your car expenses should account for no more than 15% to 20% of your monthly budget. If you are still in college and your room and board are covered, you can allocate an even larger percentage. But most of the students are likely to earn less. 

Make sure to have a clear understanding of your monthly income and expenses to determine your true car-buying budget.

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3. Consider Used Cars

A used car is the best option for any student with a low income. A new car comes with its benefits – warranty, the latest safety features, no wear and tear, and simply that new car smell. However, what it won’t give you is a reasonable price. 

Being the first owner is certainly an awesome feeling. But saving an extra $5-7k is even cooler. Besides, the value of a new car decreases as soon as you drive off the dealership lot.

Since used cars are less expensive than new ones, you may be able to afford a better model. But don’t forget that a used car may have a lower trade-in value and could be more prone to maintenance issues. Always ask for a Carfax report to check the vehicle’s history before buying. 

You should be aware of any past accidents, number of previous owners, maintenance records, etc. Don’t get yourself scammed! 

4. Learn How to Make a Check-Over 

Conducting a check-over is a must when buying a used car. Or at least knowing how it should be done. Of course, if you want to learn how to inspect a car properly, you need experience and time. And if you’d better watch tutorials on YouTube instead of writing papers – the best assignment services are always there for you. It takes time to get to know the matter, so why don’t you save some?

Generally, inspecting a car isn’t that hard. Start with a visual inspection of the exterior and interior of the car. Look for any signs of damage, like scratches, rust, or faded paint. Check for any leaks or damage under the hood. Start the car and listen for any unusual sounds, knocking, or rattling. 

But if you feel like you’re not ready to do it yourself – it’s better to hire a professional mechanic to perform a thorough inspection. 

5. Build Your Credit Score

Obviously, most students can’t pay for a car with cash in one installment. A lot of them see taking a car loan as the only appropriate option. Since most college students have limited credit history, their credit scores are typically low. But maintaining a good credit score can help you get better financing terms. Therefore, you may need to build your credit before purchasing a car. 

Building credit actually doesn’t take that long. Before applying for a car loan, you need to have at least six months of credit history. You can open a credit card at a local bank at any time. Make sure to pay your bills on time in full each month to establish a solid credit score. 

If you make your student loan payments monthly – you’re already at an advantage. This is what shows that you are a responsible payer – thus, you can get a car loan. 

6. Educate Yourself on Cars and Driving

Eventually, having a general understanding of a vehicle’s operation is extremely important. Always do your research – learn more about technical and driving performance. Learn more about different driving techniques, learn how to drive in harsh weather. Maybe one day you decide to travel somewhere north with your buddies by car? Or maybe to another country like Mexico? You never know, but you should always be ready to drive in any circumstances possible.


Choosing the first car as a student is a complex, yet very interesting process. Hopefully, these 6 tips will make it easier for you.  If you like this piece of information then don’t forget to like and share it.

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