Taking a car to university: is it a good idea or not?

Taking a car to university has its merits, but it also has many drawbacks, so should you take one to university? With taking a car to university, you have the added benefit of not being beholden to the joys that are the bipolar British transportation system, but conversely, you will also start to incur some pretty hefty costs as well, meaning saving money could become an issue. First of all, let’s take a look at the advantages of taking a car to university. 

You’re your own boss

The benefit of a car is that you’re not at the mercy of the train line being down, missing the bus or seeing that maintenance work is being done on the underground. With a car, you can make the decision to go when you please.

A car allows you to take your own route, divert if you hit traffic and even stop off elsewhere along the way, which other transportation routes don’t offer. 

Food shopping becomes a lot easier

With a car, you will be able to drive to the shops and carry home a lot more! Part of living at university is having to feed and clothe yourself. As you will most likely be coming from a household where a parent or guardian will have all your food already stocked, you will now be responsible for all of that at university. 

For many students, this means buying what you can carry and most students don’t like the idea of walking two miles buried under shopping, so a car makes your trips a bit easier and allows for more shopping to be carried.

You can go further

A car allows you to travel over greater distances without incurring much of a cost, aside from petrol. For most students that are traveling to new cities or counties, there is usually a much higher cost if you’re going by train or coach, so a car will keep those costs down.

A car also allows you to take more direct routes. For those traveling from city to city via train or coach, you may be required to visit other stops along the way, whereas a car allows you to travel any way you choose. 

And now for the disadvantages of taking a car to university.


So what if petrol is cheaper by 2p here than it is at home? It still is quite expensive, and your Maintenance loan isn’t going to stretch to petrol! Think of the trips to the takeout at 3 am and road trips you’ll want to do every weekend!

Petrol prices are always at the mercy of both demand and the general economies of scale. Petrol is almost always going to eat into your finances and, depending on where you’re living at university, it is also a waste of money since university will rarely be that far away from where you’re living. 

A regular tank of petrol can cost upwards of £40-a-week, so you need to keep an eye on the pursestrings regarding the student budget. 


Remember chewing gum in high school? As soon as you open one, everyone is instantly your best friend and wants a bit. Well, imagine the same scenario, just with a huge machine made of plastic, alloy and runs entirely off fossil fuels.

If people know you have a car, you’ll gain 500 best friends but absolutely no free time. If you’re popping to the shop, someone will want a lift; if you are going into town, yep, they’ll ask for a ride, if you are going on a date, we bet someone will ask for you to drop them off!

This is far more common than you think and it will eat into petrol reserves and it will also take time out of your day as well.


Parking is a nightmare, especially if you live in a city, even at the best of times, but at university, it can be harder than you think. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility for a university to start charging you for using their car park and yes, many universities do actually do that!

On those rare occasions that your university doesn’t offer paid parking spaces, the car park will fill up much quicker and you will need to go to a public car park, which always charges and has regular visits from parking attendants.


Death, taxes and something happening to your car at some point, are just some of the things you can expect from life. 

While it’s unlikely that you’ll be doing anything altogether too strenuous in your car when at university, it’s not uncommon for people to clip the curb while parking, have a car puncture or have a car bash into their car while they’re parked or even, heaven forbid, you hit someone else’s car, in these instances, you may cause damages to your car which will need to be rectified at a garage, which costs a lot of money!

If you hit another person’s car, your car insurance company may well obligate you to cover the costs of their repairs as well, which starts to eat into the limited student budget you will undoubtedly have. 

All students should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of taking a car to university. A car may seem like a good idea, but there are plenty of issues that can hold you back and it can be a cumbersome thing to have at university.

On the one hand, it gives you a sense of freedom, it makes shopping much easier and it allows you to go a lot further a no extra cost. On the other hand, petrol prices will eat into your student budget, everyone you know will suddenly want lifts which will eat into your petrol reserves, parking is almost always a nightmare and repairs can really take their toll on you.

The choice is yours, but we recommend you consider all of the above before you make your choice. 

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