If your son or daughter is headed to college this fall, chances are you’re already familiar with the expenses that come with affording your child with a higher education (how could you miss them?).
While you might be thinking about thick text books, room and board or the cell phone bill when working on the budget, it’s possible to have overlooked a rather important school supply: a car.
Whether your student needs their own set of wheels to get to that off-campus job or make it back home for weekends and holidays, this guide will assist you in choosing the best car for your college student.
1. Safety Over Price
It isn’t necessary to purchase the priciest vehicle on the lot. However, you should make a safe choice rather than a cheap choice.
For starters, you want your student to be driving a car that is both safe and reliable – not just the cheapest. When test driving different vehicles, especially used cars, check the condition of the following:
Tires – how is the tread on them?
Brakes – ¼ inch of brake pad is considered low and should be replaced
Seat belts – are they secured and in working condition?
Headlights – be sure all front lights, high beams and fog lamps work
Taillights – check to make sure all taillights work upon braking
While you’re at it, it’s also good to ensure the vehicle is equipped with airbags. If possible, avoid cars that are six to ten years older, since cars today are manufactured better with better safety and crash protection.
2. Set Boundaries
Before you reward your student with a car, have a conversation with them about the importance of road safety. Specifically, your student driver should be aware of the dangers regarding drinking and driving, distracted driving and drowsy driving.
During this exciting and celebratory time, it’s easy for your student focus more on having fun than on road safety and responsibility. Still, it never hurts to remind him or her each time they into the driver’s seat that safety, caution and awareness should always be their main priorities.
If you feel the need to keep tabs on your teen driver, you can download apps that monitor their skills by sending email alerts when speeding occurs. You might also want to encourage your kid to install an application on their phone that prevents them from texting while driving.
3. The Best Car for a College Student
When choosing a vehicle for your college student, it’s best to avoid options that are flashy or could promote reckless or aggressive driving, such as a sports car. As well, smaller vehicles can be more dangerous in an automobile crash. The main goal is to find a car your student feels safe and comfortable driving.
Top Rated Vehicles For Safety & Reliability
- Kia Soul
- Hyundai Tucson
- Toyota Prius
- Honda Civic
- Hyundai Elantra
You could even consider giving your vehicle to your child and purchasing something new for yourself. If he or she already has experience with your car, they will more likely be a relaxed and feel comfortable driving it.
You know your child better than anyone, so only you can make the decision to supply them with a vehicle for college. Before you hand over the keys to your kid, make sure he or she is ready for it!