Any time you apply for a loan, the lender looks at your credit score to help decide whether to approve your request and set your interest rate. If you have a short credit history or a spotty record of making debt payments, you could have a bad credit score, which may make it difficult to get approval for an auto loan. There are, however, ways to improve the chances of finding financing even if you have weak credit.
The difficulty of finding a loan depends, in part, on how much you actually have to borrow to buy the car you want. When you buy a car, you can put some of your own savings toward the purchase as a down payment. The bigger the down payment you are able to make, the more likely lenders will be to give you a loan. For instance, if you want to buy a $15,000 car, you'll have a much easier time getting a loan if you can make a $5,000 down payment than you would if you had to borrow the entire $15,000.
Lenders differ in the amount of risk they are willing to take on when making loans. Shopping around for financing at many different lenders may turn up loan possibilities even if you have weak credit. Your own bank or a local credit union may be willing to give you an auto loan even if you can't get financing through the auto dealership.
Find A Co-signer
Even if you have terrible credit, it may be possible to get an auto loan by finding a co-signer. A co-signer is someone with good credit who signs on to your loan and agrees to pay the loan if you fail to make payments. A co-signer uses his or her good credit score to vouch for you to help you get a loan.
Since the amount you want borrow affects whether you'll get approved for loans, buying a cheap vehicle can make it easier to find a loan. For instance, you'll probably never find lender who will give you a $60,000 loan to buy a brand new luxury car if you have bad credit. On the other hand, many lenders may be willing to give you a loan to buy a $5,000 moderately used car, especially if you can make a down payment.
Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.