The Pros and Cons of Owning a Car in College
When the time comes to send your child off to college, there are challenges at every turn. It can be a difficult few years if you or your child are not prepared, and one of those potential headaches is their personal vehicle. Both of you need to consider the pros and cons of owning a car in college to see if it’s the most convenient option in terms of transportation, ease of use, and cost-efficiency.
Freedom to Travel
The ability to go wherever they need to, regardless of time or day, can be a great benefit for your child if the need arises. Whether they need to head somewhere in an emergency, they want to visit friends or family on weekends, or they just want to go for a ride with friends after class.
Being able to travel freely can even help them get a part-time job if they want to make a little extra spending money during the semester.
Easier to Move in and Out
If you’re helping them move in or out of their dorm, the added space an extra car can give shouldn’t be discounted. Your child can have a lot of belongings and necessities they need to bring with them on move-in day, and the number of possessions can greatly increase when it comes time to move out.
If they don’t have that much luggage, then they can make the trip there or back on their own, saving you the trouble.
Avoiding Public Transit
Dealing with the public transportation system can either be a huge convenience or a time-waster depending on the city where the college is located. In bigger cities, public transit is usually reliable, but in smaller towns, public transportation is virtually nonexistent.
But even when it’s an available option, public transportation can be unreliable at times, typically due to transports running behind schedule.
If students want to bring their own vehicles, colleges charge for the ability to use their parking spaces. These parking permits can cost anywhere from $150 to $800 and are only good for a single school year.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll have a conveniently placed parking space, or whether you’ll even be able to find one on certain days due to too many students crowding the parking lot with their own cars.
Of course, a car will always need upkeep and maintenance. Breakdowns, deteriorating components, and the need for constant maintenance can be challenging for a student to keep up with on top of their studies. Car parts that wear out over time can even affect the vehicle’s handling, making it difficult and less safe to drive.
The car’s initial age and condition when your child purchases it will determine the number of problems it’ll have.
What is Best?
There’s no right or wrong answer; you and your child simply need to weigh the pros and cons of owning a car for college and decide if the hassle worth the effort.