Reliable Cars for College Students

How to Find a Great College Student Car

Students at the University of Minnesota, Augsburg University, and Macalester College need a reliable car to get around the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro. But car reliability is a tricky thing and can vary from model to model. In fact, some older used cars are more reliable than their newer counterparts. Kennedy Transmission has plenty of experience with both reliable and unreliable cars, and we’ve got some tips to help you pick out a great car for your student.

What Do You Need in a Student Car?

Students do a lot of things with their car. While they usually don’t rack up a lot of miles, they have to reliably get from school to work or else their experience with both suffers greatly. Many college students also need to drive home over breaks to towns up to a few hundred miles away. So, when, looking for a car, keep in mind these three factors:

  • Value—no student wants to pay huge car payments before they have a solid full-time income, so a car’s value is important
  • Gas mileage—one of the underrated parts of car maintenance costs, a car that makes 30 MPG as opposed to 15 MPG will save hundreds of dollars every year
  • Reliability—a college student’s car ought to be reliable; it’s that simple

Depending on your student’s location, vocation, and situation, additional factors like all-wheel drive, a hatch trunk, or GPS capability may be important. However, they’re secondary to value, gas mileage, and reliability.

Finding a good, reliable car for a few thousand dollars can be difficult, but it’s doable. Follow these tips to get started.

Test Drive…and Test Drive Some More

Don’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive first, no matter how great the deal may be. A test drive is especially important for student cars, as many are older and could have potential quirks. A test drive will reveal a lot of them.

Utilize a Private Seller at Your Own Risk

Often times, you’ll be able to get a better deal through a private seller. That’s because a private seller doesn’t have a quota to meet or a profit margin to make—they’re just trying to get some money for their asset. Unfortunately, private sales are “as-is” and they are less incentivized to be open with you about potential problems. Good dealers have reputations to uphold and can help you through the process easier, though their prices may be a bit higher.

Check an Online Source for Car Reliability

Even a specific model of vehicle can vary in reliability. That’s why it’s always a good idea to check a source like Consumer Reports to find information on reliability.

Car Maintenance

A student car doesn’t have to be the fastest or the coolest out there. It only needs to be reliable without looking like it’s been neglected by the previous owners. College students need to get from point A to point B without worrying about getting stuck on the side of the road. Whether it’s new or used, make sure to check the car’s reliability score online before making the purchase. And regardless of what car you get, Kennedy Transmission can keep it running at one of our seven Minnesota auto shop locations.

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