The Perfect College Car: Shopping Tips For Students

If you are heading to college and are hoping to bring a car with you, it's time to scout out local dealerships for the perfect fit. College students have unique needs and unique budgets, so finding a car that fits the balance can be tricky. Here are some shopping tips and considerations that can help you get a great car for a good price that will suit your college needs. 

1. Take stock of storage capacity. 

If you are attending college far from home, you need to bring your belongings with you. Furniture is usually provided by student housing, but even without furniture, students can sometimes find it challenging to fit everything they need in a truck, especially if they are carpooling. Even though a small car might seem like the best fit for you, make sure you also try looking at small hatchbacks or larger sedans that have extended trunk space. This storage capacity will help with between-semester moves. 

2. Think about the future.

A simple two-door coupe might work perfectly for you now when you are in class, but it also might not be a good fit for your long-term goals. For example, if you are majoring in construction management, you might want a vehicle that can allow you to haul heavy or dirty items, especially as you get into advanced classes or post-graduate work. If you are majoring in physical therapy, you might need your car to hold tools, braces, and exercise balls when you get a part-time job as an aide at a local clinic. Make sure that your car will not only give you a lift to class, but that it will also serve you for when you need to create, work, build, or commute to internships. 

3. Consider the cost of registration and insurance. 

Some cars cost more to insure and register than others. Older cars with lower price tags cost less to register. Insurance companies like to see more safety features, which are in newer cars, but newer cars also cost more to insure because they are inherently more costly to replace if they are damaged in an accident. Try to find the balance by looking at gently used vehicles with good safety ratings. Young drivers in the demographic of college students sometimes have to pay higher insurance, so try and get savings where you can when purchasing your car.

4. Look for cost-saving features. 

You are shopping for a car at a great time in automobile history. For at least a decade, the push for more energy efficiency has dominated car design, which means there are now a lot of used cars on the market that have good gas mileage and low emission ratings. Research the mileage of vehicles before you shop so you can get a feel for what cars will you higher fuel savings. Nissan, Toyota, and Honda all have a good reputation for making fuel-efficient vehicles, so you might begin your search with one of those brands. You might even be able to find a hybrid or flex-fuel vehicle for a good price since these have also been on the market for a while. The cost savings will help you as you try to balance the price of higher education and your basic needs. 

5. Research dependability

Finally, research the dependability of a specific make and model and year of a car before you sign the dotted line. Some years and makes are known for different types of repairs. Maybe one car has a bad reputation for needing a new transmission at 150,000 miles. You want to steer clear of cars that have a reputation for costly repair work, or cars that are lemons. You will only know this as you search for the specific car you are thinking of buying. 

Get in touch with a local dealership, such as a Nissan dealership, for help in finding the perfect car.