Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A person is shown budgeting with a phone and laptop.

Top Tips for Buying a Car With Bad Credit

That pesky credit score plays a big role in many important purchases in your life. From a new home to a new car, better credit cards to other types of loans, if your credit isn’t the best, it can cost you. You may be in need of a new car, frustrated with the fact that your credit isn’t the best, and if you’re searching for bad credit financing, don’t worry, we have some tips to maximize your success with this process. Recovering from bad credit is absolutely possible, and with some helpful practices, you’ll be able to bring home the car that works for you in no time.

Tip #1: Establish Good Financial Habits

Now is the time to get a handle on your financial situation before you start shopping for a car. Run a free credit report and see what kind of score you’re dealing with, then start making some changes. One of the best practices to help boost your credit score is paying your bills on time. From utility bills to rent, you want to ensure that these accounts are paid on time and in full each month. This will show potential lenders that you’re able to fulfill your financial obligations, making you less of a liability for an auto loan.

You also want to work on reducing your debt as much as possible. Tackle debt with the highest interest rates first, making payments on high-interest credit cards and loans, knocking down your debt month by month. You want to ensure that your revolving credit utilization each month is below 30%, so working on this is highly recommended prior to starting the car-buying process. When you take charge of your finances, you place yourself one step ahead of the process so that when it’s time to buy a car, you’re in a better financial position, resulting in better loan terms and lower interest rates.

Tip #2: Choose a Car That’s Within Your Means

It may take a little while for you to get your financial situation under control, and the last thing you want to do is buy a car that doesn’t fit your finances. It may be tempting to want to bring home a top-level luxury model or a shiny new sports car, but if these options don’t fit into your budget, they can end up wreaking havoc on all the hard work you just put in to better your financial situation. You want to be practical about the car you choose, especially if your credit isn’t the best. This means utilizing tools to get pre-approved and finding cars that suit the amount you’re given.

There are plenty of quality vehicles that fit a variety of financial situations, which means that you have plenty of options when you shop from a reputable dealership. Remember, you’re still working on improving your credit, which means that you want to show lenders that you’re able to pay on time each month. When you choose a car that is too expensive for you, you run the risk of not being able to pay your loan, having the car repossessed, and damaging your credit in the process. Avoid all of this by finding vehicles you’re interested in that fit into your budget.

A close up shows a jar full of coins.

Tip #3: Save for a Down Payment

It also helps to have some money to put toward your purchase so that your monthly payments are more reasonable and to show potential lenders that you are putting a personal stake into the purchase as well. Start by setting aside a few dollars here and there for a down payment so that when it’s time to start car shopping, you have a nice little fund ready to be put towards the car you want. The more money you’re able to put down on a vehicle, the lower your monthly payments will be, which will make it even easier to stay on top of these payments and improve your credit score in the process.

Tip #4: Research Various Loan Options

The pre-approval process is extremely convenient as most every dealership will allow you to apply for financing right from their website. You want to take some time with this process, shopping around for the right loan for your unique situation. There are plenty of loans designed to help those with bad credit improve their score. This is why we suggest working with a finance team you trust at a reputable dealership to help you find the car loan that’s perfect for you. From Buy Here-Pay Here dealerships to other bad credit financing options, you’re certainly not too limited when it comes to paying for your vehicle.

It’s important to note that the more you’re able to work on your finances prior to applying for a loan, the better loan terms you’ll be able to get. This means lower interest rates and better monthly payments, so don’t forget to put in the work before you start the car-buying process for the best results. It’s also crucial to remember not to settle for the first loan you get approved for; instead, find the loan terms that work best for you, even if it takes you a little while to find them. The last thing you want to do is settle for a loan that doesn’t work with your finances.

Tip #5: Find a Cosigner

You may feel that having someone to cosign on the loan is the right choice for you, and although you’ll improve your chances of getting approved for a loan, you also want to be careful. A cosigner can be a great tool to have when applying for auto financing; however, you want to be sure that the person you choose as your cosigner is someone you can trust. Remember, having a cosigner means that they are also responsible for your loan, so if you fail to make on-time payments, their credit will be impacted negatively. Once you choose someone you can trust, you improve your chances of getting better financing terms, thus helping you reestablish your credit and get back on track.

A close up shows a co-signer at a bad credit financing dealership.

Tip #6: Maintain Good Status With Your Auto Loan

Once you get approved and bring your new car home, the work doesn’t end there. You will need to continue to make on-time payments each month, eventually paying your loan off in full. Failure to do this can harm the credit score that you’ve been working so hard to boost. Once you show that you’re able to make regular payments and pay your loan off, you’ll increase your chances of being approved more easily (and with better rates) the next time you shop for a vehicle.

Recovering From Bad Credit

Maintaining your credit score is an ongoing process, one that we all have to work on regularly. You want to be able to qualify for good rates and loan terms that work with your budget, and a high credit score can ensure this. There’s no better time than now to begin the process of improving your credit, and an auto loan can help you establish the habits needed to increase your credit score so that you’re able to get approved for an even better car in the future. It all starts with professionals who are willing to help you with the process, which is why it’s always recommended to partner with a dealership you can trust.

If you start implementing these tips, you’ll be on your way to better credit before you know it. Remembering that it’s something you’ll always have to be aware of will help you adopt the habits necessary to maintain a good score, allowing you to qualify for better rates and loan terms in the future. Don’t think that your credit can’t be improved. Start building your credit now so that you’re able to reap the benefits later.