4 Car Shopping Tips for Buying Your First Vehicle in School

August 4th, 2022 by

As the summer winds down and classes will resume again, back-to-school shopping is certainly top-of-mind for many people. As you plan your trip back to campus, now is a great time to ensure you have a vehicle to help you make it there and back without the need to grab rides from friends or take public transportation. 

If you’re ready to roll up to the first day of class in style, here are four car shopping tips to help make purchasing your first vehicle in school easier than you ever imagined.  

Create your budget 

As with many major purchases, shopping for a big ticket item like a car, truck or SUV can be very overwhelming. However, if you plan ahead and create a budget for yourself, the process can be very smooth. 

When planning your budget, be sure to evaluate your income and all the bills you pay in a month. Some common bills for college students may include:

  • Rent
  • Renters Insurance 
  • Utilities 
  • Student loan payments not deferred to graduation

Once you evaluate your bills with your income, you can set a budget, which will give you the confidence to go into the car buying experience knowing what will make the most sense for you and your needs. A lot of college students even consider used vehicles under $10k to help them stay within their budget, yet have a reliable ride.

Don’t be afraid to include a co-buyer 

After you create your budget, it’s a good idea to check your credit score. If your credit score is low, or perhaps even non-existent, there is no need to panic. You can still find a vehicle that will fit your needs. 

One way to do this is to include a co-buyer with your purchase. This may be someone like a parent or relative that can be added to your application that can help you be approved for financing options at a dealer. Be sure to note, however, that if the primary borrower on the account misses a payment, the co-buyer will be responsible.

Test drive some vehicles 

When you figure out a budget, it is time to put in your application and head to the dealership to test drive some vehicles. This will give you a chance to get a feel for what vehicles are available.  Staff at the dealership will also be available to answer any questions that may come up on your drive.

Consider a buy here pay here dealership 

If you check out some car dealers in your area and are turned down due to credit history, this isn’t the end of the line in your journey to finding a quality, affordable used vehicle. 

Buy here pay here dealerships are great options for students who don’t have a credit history or large amounts of money to put down on a vehicle. These dealerships will help you build your credit with flexible payments made to fit your budget and keep you driving!

Check out your local CarHop! 

If you’re ready to head back to school on a new set of wheels, CarHop is here to help! With 42 locations across 14 states, our friendly, local staff is here to help you find your next vehicle today.