On the road: buying a car at uni

Getting a car sounds great, but what does it actually involve and is it worth the money?

Some people dream of the freedom a driver’s licence and the purchase of a car can bring, while others just can’t be bothered! If, however, you are the former, here are the facts to face up to when thinking of buying a car.

Lessons

Many of you will have passed your test already. For those of you who haven’t, the standard theory test fee is £30. You can take practice tests for free via the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) website www.dsa.gov.uk. Practical driving lessons with a qualified instructor cost between £24 and £30 an hour. People who pass their driving test have had, on average, 45 hours of professional lessons and 22 hours of private practice, according to Government statistics. Both the Automobile Association (AA) and the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) offer discounts for members on lessons with registered instructors, so check to see if your parents are signed up.

Insurance

The price of insuring your car depends on the size of the model of car you drive, your age, your existing road record, how long you have been driving, what sort of job you have and whether you keep your car in the garage. It also depends on the type of policy you get, whether it be third party, fire and theft or comprehensive.

MOT

All vehicles, with the exception of new vehicles, must be taken for an MOT inspection every year to ensure they meet with the minimum environmental and road-safety standards. New vehicles are required to have their first MOT after three years from the date of registration. An MOT inspection can be done at registered garages throughout the UK, and you will need the pass certificate to be able to get insurance and car tax. An MOT inspection for a car costs a minimum of £53.10.

Tax

The amount of tax payable on your car is calculated based on engine size or CO2 emissions, depending on the age of the car. Tax will be about £120 per year depending on the type of vehicle, and breakdown cover will work out about another £100 a year.

Petrol

Petrol costs are on the rise due to economic conditions and the price of oil. Diesel and hybrid cars can offer relief from these prices, but there is no way to avoid it all together!

Parking

Check out your university’s parking facilities and parking in the area where you live. Some places charge for permits and require evidence of residence or enrolment.

Stolen goods

Remember not to tempt thieves by leaving valuables in a place where someone can see them, like the back seat. Fitting your car with an alarm is a deterrent if someone does break in, and don’t create an opportunity by leaving any windows open or the car unlocked.

Driving under the influence

You may want to offer lifts to friends in return for petrol costs, or volunteer to be the designated driver on outings, but be careful. If you are tempted to drink – or take other substances – when you’re out with friends, driving under the influence is a serious crime. According to the Department for Transport, driving under the influence of alcohol caused 14,350 casualties and 540 deaths (17 per cent of all road deaths) in 2006. The legal limit in the UK is 80mg per 100ml of blood, with ministers looking at reducing it to 50mg in line with EU regulations. Don’t drink and drive!

Web watch

Directgov

Government information about owning a car www.direct.gov.uk/en/motoring/ owningavehicle/index.htm

National Youth Agency website

Head to the sport, leisure and travel section for guidance and advice www.youthinformation.com

The RAC

Explanation of the costs of running a car can be found on the rac website www.rac.co.uk/web/know-how/owning-a-car



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant - IT Channel - Graduate

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a Value-Added I...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Guru Careers: Junior Web Developer

£18 - 22k (DOE) + Benefits & Stock Options: Guru Careers: A Junior Developer /...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss