What to consider when running a car whilst at University

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You’ve passed your test, it was the most stressful thing you’ve ever done, you’ve got your first car, it’s your pride and joy and of course you want to take it to university.  This is where you need to park your emotions for a while and think through very carefully whether taking your car to university will make your life easier or more stressful.  Here are a few points for you to consider.

Finance

Prepare to be broke.  You’ll learn many wonderful things at university and one of them will be how to live on a tight budget.  On average, young drivers spend £2442 yearly on running their cars.  Insurance, tax, fuel, MOT and unforeseen breakdowns can really beg the question as to whether you can afford it, or if you are going to have to work so many hours to fund it that you’ll never have time to use it? You don’t necessarily have to sell your car if you can keep it off road.  If you apply for a Statutory Off-Road Notification, you’ll get a refund on any remaining months of tax and you’ll be able to cancel your insurance.

How useful will it be?

The answer to this will partly depend on where you will be living.  If your journey to and from the university can be made easily by walking, cycling or using public transport there seems little point in sitting in traffic burning fuel and polluting the environment.

What if you’re homesick?

With a car you can easily pop back home if you’ve had enough and need some time with your family.  However, your National Union of Students card gets you 12% off a 16-25 railcard and 20% off National Express Coaches.  Public transport may not be as convenient when wanting to go back home, but can be cheaper.

Freedom of movement

Jaunts to the seaside with mates, trips to a nearby town/city, easily being able to get to the other side of town.  Owning a car can give you a lot of freedom and can also save you time. You’ll be able to easily do a big supermarket shop every week with your friends without having to carry bags of shopping from the supermarket all the way back to campus. 

Parking

You’ll need to check if there’s space to park near your accommodation and whether you’ll need a parking permit. Your insurance company will need to be informed about your new address and parking situation, as this can affect your premiums.

Whether you decide to take your car to university or not will depend on your personal circumstances.  If your home is not easily accessible by public transport, if you are confident that you will have secure, free parking and if you can see that having a car at university would make your life easier without being a financial impossibility then it looks like you’ll be taking that prize possession with you.  On the other hand, if you are only going to use it for journeys home then it would seem like an unnecessary and unaffordable luxury.

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Violet Daniels

Editorial Director
Full time History student | Editor of the Yorker 2017-19, Alumni & Public Relations Officer 2019

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