If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may worry that your bad credit score will affect your ability to secure a car loan. If your bankruptcy case included losing a car, you may need to purchase a new one in a hurry. Buying a car after bankruptcy is possible, but be careful to avoid scams and find a loan you can afford.
Buying a Car After Bankruptcy
Make a budget. Since you probably have lower monthly expenses after your debt was discharged in your bankruptcy case, you might now be able to afford a higher car payment. This is good, because you will probably have to work with a high interest rate if you want to secure a car loan quickly after your bankruptcy filing. Sit down and figure out your budget for household expenses, and then determine how much you can afford to spend on a car before you go shopping. This will help you avoid getting into a loan that you cannot afford.
Fix your credit. If you want to get a loan after bankruptcy, you need to help your credit heal. Try to find a credit card that you can get after bankruptcy; you may have to secure it with a deposit first, or you may have to settle for a high interest rate. Use this card for a few small expenses each month, and pay off the full balance on the due date. This will help to increase your available credit, which counts toward your credit score. You can always start with a low-limit card and work your way up as you build your credit history. Pay all of your other bills on time as well, and your credit score will gradually improve. This will help you secure a loan or refinance a loan for a car down the line.
Shop around. Before you apply for a car loan, be honest about your bankruptcy. Show the lender a copy of your discharge letter, which notes that all of your previous debt was discharged in your bankruptcy case. Ask lenders if they will be willing to give a loan to someone who went through bankruptcy; make sure they give you a solid answer before you apply for the loan, since their investigations into your credit will show on your report. Keep a copy of your discharge letter with you to show as proof, and shop around to find an interest rate you can afford. Making regular payments on your new car loan will work to repair your credit as you go.
If possible, try to let some time pass after your bankruptcy to repair your credit before applying for a car loan.
Don't take the first offer you get if you cannot afford it; shop around and compare your options first.