Should I Rent or Buy a Car for Three Months?
Every penny counts more than ever nowadays. And with the cost of everything from utilities to fuel rocketing, chances are you’ve got every item of household expenditure up for review.
Your car is no exception. And although ownership traditionally delivers the best long-term value, when you only need a vehicle for three months, is it really the best option?
Depending on where you live and how often you plan to use a car, renting/leasing a car can actually make more sense overall if you only need it for the short to medium term.
For instance, if you live in a big city with excellent public transport links, and only need a car for two or three days a week, renting can be cheaper and more convenient. So if you’re moving to hybrid working or starting a new job where you travel for a portion of the week, finding a good rental deal might be wise.
On the flipside, if you’re staying in an isolated country area that’s slightly off-grid, being able to use a car every day might feel essential – in which case, buying an old but reliable second-hand car for cash could be a better option.
Still swithering? Read on for a deeper dig on the pros and cons of renting or buying a car for three months.
Renting a car for 3 months: pros & cons
Scrolling through rental deals and like what you see? There are smashing packages available from some of our car hire partners here at Enjoy Travel. And another advantage of renting is that it can allow you to drive a special car that’s outwith your budget – always a bonus, even if it’s not forever.
But there are a few more factors to consider before you commit to renting. Let’s take a look:
Pros of renting a car
- A Long-term car rental/lease usually provides the cheapest monthly payments. Which is always good news for your household budget.
- As we’ve said, renting could let you drive your dream car for a while – treat yourself without breaking the bank!
- Lots of rental packages include 24/7 roadside assistance and road tax.
- There’s no need to worry about maintenance, insurance and servicing. All of these components are usually thrown in too.
- When you want to upgrade your vehicle (or downsize), there’s no need to go through the hassle of selling it. Just swap your current rental for something that fits your needs better going forward.
Cons of renting a car
- Obviously, since you don’t own your car, you can’t sell it when you fancy a change. Which might be a shame – especially if you’re based somewhere that has a buoyant used car market.
- Some car hire/leasing partners might enforce strict mileage limits and expensive charges for damage caused by wear and tear – no matter how minor it might look to you. So if you need a car for rugged, rough and ready use, a regular rental isn’t appropriate.
- You won’t be allowed to customise your car. So puts those plans for go faster stripes and fine-tuning your engine on ice until you’re driving a motor of your own.
- In certain circumstances, the cost of renting a car can be higher than ownership financing options that allow you to spread payments (more of which shortly).
Buying a car for 3 months: pros & cons
Reckon that buying a car might be your best option?
It generally delivers good value for money long-term and if you can pay cash for a decent second-hand vehicle, it may even be a better option for three months.
Before you part with any cash (or set up a financing plan), take a look at some pros and cons of buying a car.
Pros of buying a car
- Whether you’re driving a car or living in a house, sometimes owning feels more secure than buying – you’ve got the satisfaction of enjoying something practical and stylish that’s all yours.
- You’re free to modify or customize your vehicle in any way you want – whether that means spray-painting it Batmobile matt black, converting it into a lowrider or replacing the steering wheel with a snazzy chain-link number.
- Whether you’re buying the car outright or paying it up in instalments, your money is going towards owning it. Whether you keep it for years or eventually part ways with it is entirely up to you.
- Ownership usually delivers better value in the long-term.
Cons of buying a car
- Even if you’re paying a car in instalments, you’ll need to put down a deposit. So you’ll need to carefully consider whether you can afford this big initial spend.
- The used car market has enjoyed a bubble for the past while. But this will burst eventually, and the long-term trend is usually for cars to depreciate in value (unless you’ve got a classic).
- If you need to take out a loan to pay for your car, your credit score will have to be healthy enough to do so and you’ll be committed to regular monthly payments for the foreseeable future.
- You bear responsibility for insurance and repair costs. Depending on the age of vehicle and what you’ll use it for, this can become very expensive.
- If you like to change cars frequently, buying isn’t the best option. Similarly, you might not be able to afford your ideal vehicle – for most of us, settling for the best car we can get is the norm.
Still leaning towards buying a car? These days, there are several different ownership options available.
Let’s take a look at a few of your options.
So you want to walk into a garage and put down the full cash amount for a car? In that case, it’s yours – every square inch from the tyre treads to the furry dice. Slide into the drivers seat. Strap on your seatbelt. Start the engine. Drive home like a boss.
When you don’t have a big briefcase full of cold, hard cash, taking out a bank loan might be the next best thing. Officially, you still own the car – you agree to pay the bank back a certain amount each month until the loan is repaid.
PCP & HP
PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) is a flexible car financing solution that sometimes offers lower monthly payments than a personal loan (see above) or HP (Hire Purchase). It’s offered by certain car manufacturers and means that they own the car until you make the optional final payment.
PCP can be a good option if you want plenty of time to decide whether you eventually want to own your vehicle. However, there’s a mileage limit (usually 6,000-12,000 miles) because the manufacturer wants to recoup more of the value of the vehicle if you decide not to keep it.
HP is a similar car financing option meanwhile. But the difference from PCP is that with HP, the car manufacturer owns the vehicle up until the last payment and you’re committed to buying from the start of the relationship. Furthermore, there’s no mileage limit.
For clarity, however long you lease a car for, it doesn’t become your property.
The final verdict – should I buy or hire a car for three months?
As you can see, the answer to this burning question really depends on your finances and requirements.
Buying is usually better value long-term. And in certain circumstances, buying an older car to use for just three months can be an excellent option too.
And hiring or leasing typically provides the cheapest monthly expenditure – particularly with a financing agreement like PCP. Plus, as we’ve explained, different types of financing provide varying levels of flexibility and confer different types of ownership up until the loan is settled.
If say, you’re moving to a major city for three months and need a car to run around in occasionally during the week and to make the most of your weekends, hiring definitely fits the bill. And if you’re using a car more frequently for three months and are likely to need it for longer, PCP might offer the best of both worlds – low monthly payments and no commitment to purchase from the start, with the option to do so further down the line.
Whichever option you choose, hopefully we’ve been of some help – safe and happy motoring!