Off to College: New Car or Used?

Congratulations! You’ve graduated high school, have sat through a few college classes, and you already have some ideas about how you’d like to change the world. But before you put on your Superman cape or Wonder Woman outfit, you need to answer a question that superheroes who can fly never consider.

I now need a car. Should I drive off to college in a new vehicle, or should I should choose one with some miles on the odometer? Before you decide, take some time to check out four key factors that should inform your purchase.

Car Payment Arrangements

Some students are lucky enough to have their parents pay for their car. If you’re in this position, you’ll typically driving the type of vehicle your parents choose. And why not? They’re being generous, and your focus at college will be absorbing knowledge and preparing for a career (at least, your parents hope that will be your focus).

If you have to pay for your own wheels, consider that you’ll invest in more than a monthly car payment. You’ll also need to pay for auto insurance, scheduled maintenance checks, possibly some repairs, and — unless you drive an electric car — gasoline.

This is why a used car can be a good decision for students on limited budgets. You have a lower loan payment than you would on a new car, and you can use the savings to help cover cost of ownership.       

How Far You’ll Travel

If you live in town, and you commute to a local university, you’ll need a reliable car to get to class on time. If you drive thousands of miles away to board at a coastal college, you’ll need a reliable car, too, but for a different reason.

Some older cars work just fine for traveling short distances, even though their aging systems would have trouble supporting a 16-hour drive. If you decide to buy used, and you don’t much experience inspecting cars, buying a certified pre-owned car is an excellent option. The certification means that there are no mechanical problems or safety issues at the time of purchase.    

Norms of College Life

Chances are you won’t be the only one riding in your car. Your friends — and probably friends of friends — will climb in, too. If you’re a social butterfly, your car’s interior will probably get lots of use by the time you receive your diploma. This is why some students go for a used car whose interior is nice and clean but already shows some signs of wear.   

Need a Car for College?


If you need set of wheels for college, American Eagle Credit Union would like to hear from you. We offer attractive auto loans for new and used vehicles that can get in the driver’s seat fast. For our best loan options, call us today at (800) 325-9905, or use our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!  


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