How to Choose the Right Car for Your Kid Going Off to College

Choosing a good car for your college student


Sending Your Child off to College

Sending your teenager off to college is a huge right of passage, both for your child and for you as a parent. They are becoming adults and will be experiencing so many new freedoms while at college. It’s also probably time to upgrade their little first car to a nicer and more spacious vehicle better suited to a college kid. Their little coup was great for while they were in high school, but it’s probably getting up there in mileage and the cost of maintaining it may be too much on a college budget.

Before you go and hit the car lots, you should double check to make sure they’re allowed to have a car their first year at their college. Some colleges and universities restrict students from having a vehicle on campus their first year, so it wouldn’t do any good to purchase them a nice ride only to find out it isn’t allowed.

What Makes a Good Car for a College Kid?

If the college does allow cars for college students their first year, what are the important things to consider? There are a number of factors to consider: safety, budget, size, maintenance costs and where they are going to college.


Your child will still be new to driving, so you’ll want to get a vehicle that will be safe to drive. Airbags, Anti-lock brakes, and has electronic stability control. Other features, such as rear-view cameras are useful, but not a necessity. Beyond safety features, choosing a larger vehicle, such as an SUV or crossover is good since larger vehicles tend to fare better in accidents.


Purchasing a used SUV or car is the way to go. You are already spending a lot of money sending your child off to college, so no need to break the bank by purchasing an expensive new car. We have a large assortment of great cars on our sales lot that would be perfect back vehicles for kids going off to college.

Vehicle Size

More than just for safety, going with a larger vehicle can be useful, especially when they are loading up to head off to college. Your college kid will be hard pressed to put everything they need into a little two door car, but something like used Nissan Rogue could easily hold everything they need to take with them.

Maintenance Costs

Most likely your college aged kid won’t be the best a budgeting, so the cheaper the maintenance costs the better. You don’t want to purchase them a car they’ll have to continually spend money on: gas, oil changes, and maintenance costs. It’s worth spending a little extra to make sure their car isn’t going to be breaking down on them.

Where Their College is Located

If your child is going off to school in a mountainous area, their vehicle needs will differ from someone going to school in Florida. When choosing a vehicle make sure to think about whether it will work for the weather and geographic conditions they’ll be encountering where they go to school

So what are you waiting for? Check out the online inventory of used trucks in Olympia, then visit South Sound Trucks to test drive the truck of your dreams and find a new weekend warrior to hit the trails with.