OK, so you need a car to get to work. Or look for work. Or get to school. But you have no credit, or your credit score has taken a nosedive. Now what?
Most credit-challenged people head to the local auto dealer strip, where they are lured by ads trumpeting “No Credit? No problem!” “Bankruptcy? No problem!” There, they are steered into buying overpriced, junky cars that often break down soon after sale, and need expensive repairs. The kicker — usually, the down payment is more than the car is worth. In other words, if you can afford the down payment, you could buy the same car elsewhere — and not have to make any car payments at all.
Of course, the dealers are eager to sell you their overpriced clunkers, and get you into a loan that lasts for years. Then when the car doesn’t work, they are very eager to repossess them and sell them again. Each time the car changes hands, they make a profit. The sweet spot for them is when they end up with multiple consumers paying the deficiencies for loans on a single car they repossessed over and over again.
The trade association that represents the “buy here pay here” dealers in California has admitted to legislators in Sacramento that a whopping 30% of its customers end up defaulting on their loans. Often, that is because the car broke down and the consumers couldn’t get to work, and lost their jobs.
Meanwhile, your credit is even worse, and you have no car — and an even bigger debt.
Many people assume they have no choice. They feel trapped into buying from a “buy here pay here” dealer. But — there is a much better route you can take.
You can buy a car from another consumer. It’s simple, and you can get a good, safe used car for under $5000, if you do it right. You can an either take out a loan in advance — usually you’ll find the best rates if you join a credit union — or you can save up and pay cash.
Here’s how to do it: CARS Car Buying Tips
Today’s cars last longer and many makes and models provide safe, reliable transportation for years, even after they have over 100,000 miles on the odometer. Recently, Edmunds.com’s Consumer Advice Editor Ron Montoya initiated a project to demonstrate that you can find a good car for under $5,000 — and pay cash. Instead of handing over $300 in monthly payments to a shady dealer, it’s smarter to save that money and keep it on hand, for maintenance and repairs.
More about Edmunds’ advice onhow to buy a good used car — with cash