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What I Wish I Knew Before Owning a Car in College

February 11, 2018

Oh boy, it has it been an expensive semester so far. I had to take my car into the shop quite a lot. First, my 2009 Volkswagen Beetle or β€œBubbles” needed to be serviced. Oil change, steering fluid, tire rotation etc. Unfortunately, I was blissfully ignorant on how much this little check-up was going to cost me. Then, poor Bubbles rolled over a big, nasty nail, so back to the mechanics we went to get her fixed up.Β 

I got Bubbles in August 2017. Bubbles has been a fantastic car with low milage and in near perfect condition. I previously had a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta that I LOVED (and sometimes still miss the trunk space), but my little bug is such a fun and reliable ride.

As convenient as it is to have a car on campus, there were a couple things I think should be considered before you decide to tow along your own Bubbles. Below are five points you should prepare for before bringing a car on campus.

  1. It’s expensive

It’s obvious, I know, but I’m not just talking gas. Oil changes, steering fluid, maintenance, tire rotation, registration, car washes, tires and unexpected accidents. Boy did I not know how much an oil change costs. Also, CAMPUS PARKING PASSES. Those may be the death of you. If you live off campus, odds are you’ll have to pay for a parking pass at your apartment too (this could rack up to $75 a month if you live in a city). And don’t forget the registration and plates. There’s a lot that goes into owning a car, no matter how pristine of condition it is in.

  1. Set aside money for problems. They will happen.Β 

I know some of you are probably thinking your car is too nice or new for you to have to worry about any of this, but hear me out. A problem will pop up. Don’t forget all the rocks and nails that will fly your way to chip your window or bust your tire. (TIP: If you DO get a nail or screw in your tire, head to Discount Tire. I don’t believe they advertise this, but my tire repair was free).Your vehicle may have defects that are present until you’ve had it for a while. No matter how new or fabulous your car is, dead batteries, accidents and debris happens to us all.Β 

  1. It’s even harder on out of state students

Most college students take a month off for Winter Break, but what do you do when you need to leave your precious automobile behind? If your school is close to home this may not be a problem for you, but I’m a 16 hour car ride away from home. You’ll need to research your options. Do you park in a secure parking garage? Do you have a friend who lives close by that could car sit for you? Is there a car storage place where you could secure your vehicle? This could also rack up the cost of having a car at school.

  1. Actually getting the car to school

I needed to get my car from New Hampshire to Arizona. No way was I driving that. The only other option was a transport service. We did our research out the wazoo and ended up paying around $1,500 to have the car moved. I believe it was money well spent. Our company not only did a fantastic job moving the vehicle, but they insured it during the move. These reservations are usually made less than two weeks before the move, so don’t try calling six months in advance.

I hope this hasn’t scared you off because having a car in college is 100% worth every single dime. Having a car has given me the freedom to go wherever I want, whenever I want. Classes, internships, grocery shopping and all our fun adventures wouldn’t be possible without my little bubble. It’s good for my education and well-being. I hope this post has helped you maybe think through some aspects of having a car you may not have even considered. Please ask any more questions you have in the comments! I’m happy to answer them.

My car is amazing inside and out! It’s getting me where I need to go, but it also looks really good zipping around Arizona. I always wanted a car that perfectly reflected my personality and now I do! I love everything from the Cape Cod sticker on the back to the hot pink flowers next to my steering wheel to the adorable personalized license plate tag, frame and key chain I got from ShopEmilyG. Click HERE to get your own adorable tag! My car tag is in the print “Out to Sea”.

Do you love this super cute, pink tee? Me too! Unfortunately, this Lauren James Sweet Tee is only available to Lauren James Brand Representatives. Don’t worry, there are plenty more beautiful tees in every color and style on

  • Reply
    February 12, 2018 at 11:59 am

    This is good stuff to know! A lot of it also applies just to having a car in a city in general. Everything costs more in more expensive areas, and while I change my own oil at home, it’s not like I have the supplies to do that at school. I’ll definitely be passing this on to a couple of freshmen I know who seem to think buying a car for college just means forking over a few thousand for a used car and keeping gas in it.

    Adorable car by the way!

    • Reply
      February 12, 2018 at 8:05 pm

      I totally understand that. You’d think areas near colleges would be cheaper, but nope! It’s so much more than just spending a couple thousand dollars on a used car, getting a gifted car or even paying off a new one. Thanks so much for sharing. I love my little car!

  • Reply
    Allison - All Things Allison Marie
    February 12, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    I love this post! Such a cute car. Pinned!

    • Reply
      February 12, 2018 at 8:05 pm

      Aww thank you so much, Allison! I’m so glad you used the Pinning feature! πŸ™‚

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