How to Shop for Second-Hand Student Cars

Students never have money, even when they receive monthly allowances from their parents. There are so many things to enjoy and simply not enough cash. If you are a student, you know that a vehicle’s fuel economy is very important, but what else should be considered when you browse adverts for second-hand cars?

What Can You Afford?

Whether you or your parents will pay for the car, price matters. Before shopping for a second-hand car based on how it looks or performs, you need to set the budget. If you have a cash amount in hand, that is the price range within which you will browse. If your parents are paying, ask them how much they are willing to spend. If the vehicle is to be financed, then best browse for second-hand cars at reputable service providers such as RFS Auto. Getting finance for private sales is possible, but not as straightforward as when shopping at a reputable dealer or service provider.

If the vehicle is to be financed, determine how much you have available for the deposit and then calculate how much is available for monthly repayments. Keep in mind that maintenance, servicing, and repairs must also be done. As such, these expenses must be added to the monthly repayment amount. Add petrol and oil costs, in addition to insurance, to arrive at a realistic figure of what it would cost per month to buy the vehicle. Also, keep in mind that the annual license renewal fee must be added. As a rule of thumb, shop for second-hand cars no older than ten years if you need financing on the vehicle.

Controlling Costs

You can control the costs of servicing and fuel by limiting the distances you drive and how you drive the vehicle. You can also control the cost of insurance and fuel through the choice of car. Fuel economy, cost of spare parts, the colour of the vehicle, hijacking risk for the particular vehicle, general maintenance costs on the type of vehicle, the mileage, and general condition of the vehicle are all factors taken into consideration when the insurer has to calculate the premium. Of course, your age, driving experience, and record will also affect the monthly insurance premium. Installation of a tracker system, alarm, immobilising unit, gear lock, and anti-smash-and-grab window protection can help to reduce the cost of the insurance.

Get answers on the questions below from the service provider or the private seller:

  • Is there a warranty on the vehicle?
  • Has the vehicle been in an accident?
  • What is the mileage on the vehicle?
  • Is the licence up to date?
  • Are there any oil leaks?
  • Does the vehicle have a service record?

Should You Opt for a Motor Plan?

If you can afford to pay the extra money for a service plan or warranty, it will help to give you peace of mind knowing that the cost of annual and scheduled services or breakdowns will be covered. However, if you finance the vehicle, keep in mind that you will pay for the service plan with every monthly repayment for the duration of the financing period. Ask what the service plan covers as to avoid unpleasant surprises along the way.

Cars Suitable for Students?

Fuel-efficient vehicles are usually the best. You also want to consider that parking space is often a problem and as such, you will want to opt for a lighter and smaller vehicle that can navigate traffic easily and get into the smaller parking spots. Since you will not need a lot of packing space in the boot, you can go with a smaller car. Some of the popular second-hand cars for students are:

  • Ford Fiesta – has good performance and is economical, trendy, and reliable.
  • Toyota Yaris – easy to steer and just as easy on the eyes. The Yaris is a safe and comfortable vehicle that will impress fellow students.
  • Kia Picanto – best known for affordability of purchase price and low maintenance. The Kia is a trendy and small car well-loved by students.


These are but three of the popular second-hand car choices for students. Browse our entire collection or contact us to help you select the car that will fit your budget, style, and fuel economy requirements.