Should you take your car to university?

Maddy McKennaon 14 July 2021
dog in car

Read our list of everything you need to consider about taking your car to university.

So you’ve got a car (style points for you), but do you really need it at university? There are many factors to consider when you’re thinking about taking your car with you. From your living situation to how often you want to go home, it can be difficult to decide whether to leave it behind or travel in style. Let’s settle the debate.

First, let’s look at the pros:

1. Moving in is easier

Imagine this: you move to university but you realise you forgot to bring a duvet, a clothes horse and there’s no microwave. Not a problem when you’ve got a car and you can nip to the closest Wilko or IKEA to stock up. Plus, it’s a sure-fire way to make friends as your housemates are likely to have forgotten these essentials too. But, of course, a car isn’t the only solution. You can also avoid this crisis by reading our university essentials checklist before you even set off. 

2. Grocery shopping is cheaper

We can already hear you screaming ‘but how does driving to the supermarket make shopping cheaper?’ Here are just a few reasons: 

  • You no longer have to shop at the Tesco Metro or Co-op across the street. You can opt for cheaper supermarkets like Aldi or Lidl. 
  • You can take your friends or housemates shopping and get them to chip in for petrol money. 
  • You can buy in bulk. Make the most of your boot and pack in 48 toilet rolls, laundry detergent that will last you all year and the most economical pack of your favourite tinnies.

3. Road trips become a possibility

As ever, one of the best things about having your car at uni is that you have complete freedom to go wherever you want. Not restricted to public transport, you and your friends can take a day trip to the beach, a national park or even a weekend away. 

4. You’ll relish the flexibility and freedom 

Imagine you’re struggling to complete your deadlines, you’re stressed and you just want a break. You look up train fares to go home the next day and they’re astronomical. You have to decide between not eating for a month or taking the train home for a much-needed getaway. What do you do? 

With your car by your side, you can go home whenever. Whether it’s a relative’s birthday, to see your family dog or just to escape the city, a car gives you flexibility in these situations. 

5. You can take your belongings home at Christmas and Easter 

Realising you forgot to bring your favourite blanket, plant or desk chair to university is the worst. Once you’ve done the big five hour trip to your university city and your parents are already headed home, it becomes almost impossible to get those items. Whether they’re too big to take on the train or too expensive for your family to ship them to you, you’ll have to rebuy them or wait until you can get a lift to university next year (sigh). Having a car means you can easily pick up anything you missed, plus you can take items home in the lead up to moving out to make it a little less stressful.  

And now for the cons: 

1. You will become the designated driver

Very few students drive at university and that means just one thing - you will quickly become a taxi service for their every need. Once a lift to the station, you’ll quickly become the new Uber for their doctor’s appointments, grocery shops and yes, even their vaccines. All of these trips really add up in petrol money, so make sure you’re transparent about this with your friends. 

2. It’s expensive

Consider all of the costs that you need to cover if you take your car to university. Not only will you be paying for petrol, but also:

  • MOT and services 
  • Repairs 
  • Parking permits 
  • Insurance 
  • Road tax

Work out your budget and see if there’s wiggle room to afford the costs associated with having a car. 

3. Parking spaces are rare 

If you’re living in halls, you’ll find it difficult to park nearby. You’ll have to apply for a parking permit and that means parallel parking and no guarantee of a space. And let’s be real, no one enjoys parallel parking!

Are you thinking about taking your car to university this semester? Join our Student Pulse panel and tell us your thoughts!

Maddy McKennaon 14 July 2021