Buying a Used Car with Bad Credit  

Nobody wants bad credit, but avoiding it is sometimes easier said than done.  

Perhaps you spent more on Christmas shopping than you intended to, causing you to be late on some of your bills. On the other hand, you may be unemployed, or had unexpected medical bills and are unable to cover all of your monthly expenses.  

If money’s been tight for some time, losing your good credit score is a very real risk, but it’s entirely possible to improve your score again, with time and patience. Last year,  more Americans managed to overcome bad credit and elevate their scores.

However, if an emergency comes along, bad credit can only make things more complicated. One of those emergencies can be the need to buy a replacement vehicle for one that’s no longer operational. If you find yourself in that situation, how can you buy a reliable used car with a low credit score? Here are some tips from Eden Autos:

Be Sure You Aren’t Mistaken   

First and foremost, you need to find out what your credit score is. Are you just guessing because of missed payments, or do you know exactly what your score is? You can check your credit score without charge, as everyone is entitled to free reports from the major credit-reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax) once per year. If you need to, you can ask for all three at the same time, or individually over the 12 months instead.  

Get your hands on your credit score as soon as you can, and check it closely. Even if you do have bad credit, it may not be quite as terrible as you imagine, or it may be due to errors you can have corrected. A bad credit score is 629 or lower, while an average is between 630 and 689. Got somewhere between 690 and 719? Congrats – you have what’s considered to be a good credit rating.   

Boost Your Score 

Once you’ve checked your credit score, you can then start to find solutions. Your first step is to have any mistakes fixed as soon as possible. Aside from this, you can rebuild your credit by paying your bills on time, every time, and consider a secured credit card (which demands you pay an up-front deposit) or a co-signed card (your fellow card-holder will need to repay if you fail to).  

You should also make sure you pay every other type of bill on time, too. Though rebuilding the worst scores can take years, buying a used car can be a good way to get on the road to improving your credit.


Stick to a Budget 

Used vehicles, sold by reputable dealerships, are often as good as new, giving you a fantastic bargain beyond anything a brand-new car could get close to. However, even if you’re keeping your eyes on the used-car dealerships, make sure you stick to a budget. Assess your finances, evaluate your monthly expenses, and be realistic about the amount you can afford to spend.  

Even if you can’t financially handle a used car with all the latest bells and whistles, getting an affordable vehicle is the crucial thing. Focus on the practicalities and the necessities rather than more superficial factors.  

Choose Your Dealer Wisely 

It’s incredibly important to find a used car dealer who’s willing to work with you, in spite of your credit situation. While it’s fair to expect some rejections if your score falls into a very low level, you can still find used car dealers willing to accept a buyer in your financial situation.  

Some dealerships offer on-site financing and have relationships with banks and lending companies with less-restrictive approvals. There are reputable, high-quality used car dealerships providing reliable financing assistance that allows you to buy the car you really want.

There’s no harm in simply asking, either. Approach those used car dealerships in your area with the best reviews and testimonials, and be open about your situation. Though it might be discouraging, if you persevere chances are you may well drive away with a positive result, regardless of how bad your credit rating is. If you can take steps to boost your credit score through timely payments and correcting potential errors on your report, the dealerships will be more likely to work with you.  

Don’t Forget Fuel Economy 

You got into bad credit because of money issues. Whether there simply hasn’t been enough money to go around, or challenging situations have made meeting deadlines tough, you need to get on top of your finances to improve your rating. Good money-management is crucial, and fuel economy plays a key role in this.  

On top of the repayments to your dealership or loan-provider, fuel costs can be one the biggest expense. This is especially true if you face a long commute to and from work every day. Read up on the most fuel-efficient cars, and take your research with you when you go browsing. Even if you can’t quite find one that has the looks and the efficiency you would like, you need to focus on the practical issues at hand. Work out how much you can afford to spend on fuel each week or month, and factor this into your overall budget.   

Make Sure the Car Won’t Cost More Down the Line  

Adding the cost of extra features to your payments is a definite no-no with bad credit. You want to have as few payments going out each month as you possibly can, and if your used car looks like it may require higher maintenance costs, it may prove to be a false economy down the line. Ask your dealer for a thorough inspection of the car (reputable ones will happily do this for you), or take someone well-versed in cars along with you before you hand over any money. You should be looking for oil leaks, problems with the AC and heating systems, issues with transmission or suspension, and making sure the brakes are in full working order.   

If you have bad credit, you’re not alone, but you need to do everything you can to build your score back up. Buying a good used car with poor credit is entirely possible, but be sure to follow Eden Autos tips to secure the best deal you can.