Pros and Cons of taking your car to University!

Heading off to uni this year? One thing you may be considering is - should you take your car?

Kimberley Dodge Profile Picture

By Kimberley Dodge

Updated on Sep 9th, 2022

It's the time of year when all the soon-to-be uni students are excitedly packing away their belongings in preparation for the new chapter in their life. And with this preparation come a few questions - do I need an iron? Should I stock up on pot noodles? Can I live on frozen meals? Should I take my car to university?
Whilst these all are somewhat equally important (we absolutely need to look into whether you can survive on microwave lasagne and pizza), deciding whether to keep your car is a daunting decision.
If you’re looking for a list of pros and cons to help you decide, you’ve come to the right place.


Let's start with the positives, shall we?

Transport between your home and university

Not having a car whilst studying away from home can make commuting between the two a bit of a nuisance. You’ll, unfortunately, be subjected to uncomfortable, sweaty trains and buses every time you need to visit home. Not to mention the fares of public transport! Another reason why taking your car to uni makes sense… right?

Getting around at university

This consideration is dependent on where you’re studying. If you’re located in a small, close-knit university city where you can easily access a reasonably priced supermarket, a variety of nightlife, and of course (most importantly) all the universities resources, this is something you probably don’t need to stress about. However, if you’re miles away from student favourite Aldi or your university library is a bit of a trek, having a vehicle on hand will make your life so much easier.

Getting to placements and work

If you’re studying a course which requires work experience, such as medicine, nursing or teaching, or you are juggling work and uni at the same time, you’ll need an efficient and reliable way of getting to your destination. Having a car will significantly make getting to your shifts much easier, compared to relying on public transport, which can be unreliable and could bring unnecessary stress to your already jam-packed schedule!


As good as it sounds, we can’t ignore the downsides of taking your car to uni.


The biggest con of all: costs. We are all aware that any car is basically a money pit, but this can become a real issue when you’re a skint student, struggling to afford your weekly food shop and enough toilet roll to last you until the end of the month. This is especially the case now, with the cost of living causing most of us to re-evaluate our expenses. Everybody’s financial means are different: some people may be lucky enough to comfortably live whilst owning a car, whilst others may not be so fortunate. My advice would be to crunch some numbers and evaluate whether or not it would be a reasonable financial decision for you to continue to run your car whilst still living within your means.

Parking at University

This issue is also dependent on the university that you attend, very few students are blessed with access to free parking at their accommodation! In most cases, parking is prioritised for teachers and people with mobility issues. This is especially the case if you're studying in a big city- parking places are scarce and often expensive. There may be opportunities to rent out someone’s garage or driveway yet, there’s no guarantee that this will be affordable or close to where you’re staying. Again, it’s recommended that you conduct your own research regarding parking and check out if there’s anywhere you can keep your car safely and conveniently whilst at university.

Always being the designated driver

Admittedly, a lot of university students don’t keep their car whilst studying, so if you’re one of the lucky ones this can lead to you always being entrusted as the designated driver. Whether you’re going out in your hometown or painting your university town red, if you’re the only one with a car in their possession, you can bet that you’ll be asked to drive. Being your friend’s official taxi driver may not sound ideal, but this is subjective to whether or not it’s a suitable situation for you.

If you’re swaying towards leaving your car at home whilst you’re away at uni

You may run into a unique set of problems. Your car sitting on the driveway may become inconvenient if other drivers in the household need the space, or your engine may start to give you trouble as it’s not being used. If you’re leaving at home, it may be wise to ask a family member to check on it and fire up the engine occasionally, so it’s ready to go for you when you go home.

If you’re planning on keeping your car off the road for most of the year you could consider declaring Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN) as this can help you avoid unnecessarily paying road tax if the car is not in use at all.

Some students opt to sell their car before uni to help them boost their bank balance and save the hassle of keeping the car running.

The pros and cons will weigh on everyone differently depending on their own -individual circumstances, but whatever you decide - make sure to keep your insurer up to date with any changes to your circumstances. Keep in mind that an incorrect address on your policy could result in your policy being invalidated.
Note to readers: This article was originally written by Kimberly in 2019. The Marmalade team made some updates in 2022 around getting to placements and around leaving your car at home.

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