A young drivers guide to running a car

Heading off to University is an exciting time and it comes with a lot of freedom, however with this freedom comes responsibility! 

If you’re planning on driving, the thought of running a car while fending for yourself might seem daunting.  But fear not – this handy guide contains everything you need to know about keeping a car on the road!

Get to know your vehicle:

It’s important to understand how your car works, so that you are able to detect a problem as soon as possible.

Dashboard warning lights

Before you head off to university, find out what all those signals on your dashboard mean.  These should be explained in you vehicle manual, or you might be able to find them online

How is your car on the road?

If you are buying a car not long before leaving, make sure you get used to how it drives.  Older cars may not do so well while driving at high speeds, whereas in a newer car you might find yourself reaching 70mph without much effort at all.  Familiarise yourself before you go, perhaps with a parent or sibling in the passenger seat, so that you do not feel nervous driving the car when you’re on your own at uni.

Fuel consumption

Different cars consume different amounts of fuel depending on the size of the car, the engine size and how much you drive.  When you know how often you need to fill up your car and how long it lasts, you can plan ahead.

Get to know your expenses:

Insurance

Insurance is probably the biggest expense you will be encountering as a car owner.  Make sure you’ve searched around for an affordable rate that fits nicely into your monthly budget.

Fuel costs

Make a note of how much fuel will last you a week and how much it costs.  Also, take note of how much different fuel stations charge per litre so you know where to get the lowest price.

Tax

Whether you decide to pay annually or every six months, don’t forget about your vehicle tax! You can now even pay be direct debit to spread the cost.

Services & MOTs

By law, for vehicles over 3 years old, MOTs are required annually.  Services are not a legal requirement, but they are important for keeping your car in good working order so that you don’t break down unexpectedly.

Repairs

Hopefully, you won’t need to pay for any expensive repairs while you are at university. It’s useful to keep some money saved, however, just in case you encounter a problem.

Understanding the road:

Without a Sat Nav

Being reliant on a Sat Nav is easy, but having independence from one makes driving a lot easier.  Learn the local area by foot, so you have a general understanding of different routes you can take as a pedestrian, and while you’re at it, you can get to know the routes for drivers.

With Sat Nav

Although you need to be able to navigate the road without a GPS system, there are times when using one is unavoidable.  In such cases, you need to practice how to balance your time between focusing on the Sat Nav, and keeping your main attention on the road and other drivers.

Drive with a clear head

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t drive while under the influence.  However, you also need to be emotionally balanced when you’re on the road.  When you’re over excited, angry, nervous, tired, sad, stressed or panicked, it can affect how you drive, so make sure you take a moment to calm down before getting behind the wheel.

Driving with company

Drive your friends and family around while you are still at home, so that you become comfortable with the noise that comes with having passengers.  Start off with one person, then build your way up if you find that easier.

To all young drivers, we hope that this guide has provided useful information to go away with you to university.  If you have any unanswered questions, feel free to contact us – we’d love to help!