New Car For My Kid? What, Are You Nuts?!

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If your son or daughter lives on campus — far away from home — what sort of transportation do they rely on? Public transportation? Ride sharing with other students? Or, did you give him or her your old family vehicle?

Students attending school in an urban setting quickly find that having a car is more of a hassle than a help. Some schools forbid underclassmen from having a car on Smart ForTwocampus, reserving parking spaces for seniors and juniors and making other spots available to students who are high academic achievers. But, for the student who college is a virtual city unto itself, with no transportation network to speak of, having access to a car isn’t just ideal, but a necessity.

Now back to that family car your child is driving – is it in as good a condition as you would like it to be? Is it fuel efficient? Is it safe to drive?

You may feel that you have few options when it comes to providing wheels for your son or daughter, but you may have more choices than what you realize. Let’s take a look at three reasons why you wouldn’t buy a new car for your student, refuting each reason as we go along:

Too Expensive – Granted, finding any new car for less than $15,000 is a stretch, although the Smart ForTwo (pictured) at $12,200 definitely isn’t a budget buster. Recently, Nissan announced that they were beginning to offer a $9990 new car – the Nissan Versa 1.6 – a price that is some one thousand dollars cheaper than any new car available. Even with taxes, tags and other fees added, financing a $10,000 loan at 7% for four years means that your payments would be a very reasonable $239.46 per month. Compare that amount with what you already shell out for tuition and car maintenance monthly! Use an auto loan calculator to determine what you can afford.

Insurance Is Too High – True, your son or daughter will pay a higher rate for insurance simply for the reason they haven’t been driving all that long and they are young. But, if you include them on your policy, you’ll get a better deal. In some cases they may do better registering the car in another state and seeking lower local insurance. New York drivers pay some of the highest insurance in the company, but if your student attends the University of Oklahoma, then having them get their own insurance could prove to be more cost effective.

Maintenance Is Costly – Maintenance costs can drive up the cost of car ownership considerably, but with a new car the only maintenance needed is the occasional oil change, new wiper blades and tire rotation. Tune ups (besides a new air filter) can wait for 60-100,000 miles while most other expenses are covered under the car’s basic warranty which is usually three years or 36,000 miles. Likely, your student will be long out of college before major repairs are needed and by then they can trade in their starter wheels for whatever they can afford based on their salary.

Of course, for most families buying a new car for their student is cost prohibitive, especially if tuition, room and board, books, and college supply costs add up. Yet, what price can you put on peace of mind, safety, and convenience? Weigh all the facts first before making a new car purchase and go into any negotiating deal prepared to get the best price and for finding excellent auto financing.

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Categories: Campus Cars