How to Refinance a Car Loan with Bad Credit

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Refinance Car Loan with Bad Credit

Refinancing a car can offer many advantages, such as lower monthly payments, a quicker path out of debt, extra cash, and other perks. You can’t access all of the advantages of a refinance at the same time, but you can tailor it to your financial needs. While it’s optimal to refinance your car loan if you have good credit to secure a lower interest rate, it is also possible to refinance if you have bad credit. This guide explores the process of refinancing your car with bad credit.

Can you refinance a car loan with bad credit?

You can refinance a car even if you have bad credit. You can work with a lender that offers financial products with more generous credit score requirements.  You can get a car refinance that achieves your objectives, but you may have to contend with a higher interest rate.

Why should you consider refinancing your car loan even with bad credit?

Refinancing your car loan has several advantages. If your budget is tight, refinancing your car loan can minimize your monthly payments and free up space in your budget. Consumers with good credit scores can also use the opportunity to secure lower interest rates on their auto loans. You can extend your loan to reduce monthly payments or shorten your loan to increase your monthly payments and get out of debt sooner. Refinancing your loan can help you save money or make your monthly payments more manageable. Some refinances achieve both objectives.

How to know whether refinancing your car loan with bad credit is the right decision?

Refinancing can make sense if you need to reduce your monthly payments to make ends meet or if you have improved your credit score. If interest rates have dropped significantly, you can save money by refinancing to a lower rate. Consumers who do not have the best credit scores may end up with better terms if their credit scores or income has increased. Having less debt can also result in more favorable terms if you refinance your car loan.

How to refinance a car loan with bad credit

A bad credit score isn’t enough to prevent you from getting a refinance. These are the steps you can take to refinance your car loan with bad credit.

Step 1: Improve your credit

Improving your credit score will help give you access to more loans and higher loan amounts. It is a good idea to consider trying to raise your credit score leading up to your loan application. Most of your credit score boils down to making on-time payments. Not falling behind on credit card debt and various loans can help keep your credit score in good condition. 

It is also a good idea to pay off your debt instead of making the minimum payment. Only making the minimum monthly payment on your credit card allows interest to accrue. A higher credit card balance results in a higher credit utilization ratio, a component that affects 30% of your credit score. A lower credit utilization ratio will help improve your score.

Reviewing your monthly income and expenses can help you stay on top of your debt and trim it down. Looking for free alternatives to paid products and services, such as your local library, can free up more space in your budget to address debt. 

PRO TIP! A good credit score can lead to lower interest rates and increased borrowing power on loans and credit cards. MoneyLion offers a free and convenient way to find offers from our trusted partners to help you improve your credit.

Step 2: Research and compare lenders

You shouldn’t go with the first lender you find. Comparing lenders’ interest rates, fees, and terms can help you find a refinancing option that caters to your needs. Narrow your search to lenders that are willing to work with consumers who have bad credit.

Step 3: Prequalify and apply for refinancing

Many lenders let you prequalify for a car loan refinance to see whether you would be approved before a hard credit check is initiated. Prequalifying does not guarantee approval, but you will probably be approved if you are prequalified. You can get an idea of what terms and rates await you if you submit your application for a car loan refinance.

Step 4: Gather the necessary documents and information

You must gather a few documents before refinancing your vehicle. Lenders will want to see your ID, car loan details, credit score, income information, and other details. Many lenders list the information they want on their loan application pages.

Step 5: Evaluate offers and finalize the refinancing

You should review a loan offer before accepting it. The rate and terms should be reasonable and similar to what you saw during the prequalification process. Monitoring the loan for any fees can also help you save money, after all, who doesn’t want to save money? Once you have reviewed the loan offers, pick the one that best suits your finances. Then you can reach out to the lender to finalize the auto loan refinance, sign the paperwork, and pay off your previous car loan. 

What are the challenges of refinancing with bad credit?

It’s possible to refinance your car with a bad credit score, but it is an uphill battle. Lenders look at your credit score to gauge the likelihood of receiving loan payments on time throughout the length of the term. Consumers with lower credit scores could be perceived as being higher risk if they have fallen behind on other financial obligations in the past.

Some lenders will not work with borrowers who have bad credit. Other lenders are more flexible, but they may set higher interest rates on their loans to compensate for the elevated risk. 

What happens if your refinancing application is rejected?

If your refinancing application is rejected, you’ll have to look for lenders with more generous minimums or none at all. Following this path will result in higher interest rates, and those higher rates can make it more difficult to secure lower monthly payments.

Borrowers with extra time should prioritize improving their credit scores before submitting another application. Most of the credit-building journey involves staying on top of your debt and paying it off on time.

Working on a side hustle can help you generate extra money. But the best approach is seeking career advancement opportunities so you earn more money per hour. Leveraging your time in this manner can help you pay off more debt while working the same amount of hours. Some employers give raises, while employees may have to seek other job opportunities to get the extra money they want and deserve.

Refinancing your car loan

Refinancing your car loan opens many possibilities. You can free up space in your budget with lower monthly car payments, secure a lower interest rate, or get out of debt sooner with a shorter term. Car loan refinances tend to deliver on at least one of these benefits, and some deliver on multiple benefits. A bad credit score won’t stop you from getting a refinance if you search for lenders that accommodate borrowers with bad credit. But committing to raising your credit score over the long run is one of the best ways to secure lower interest rates and better loan terms for future debt.


Can I include additional debt in my refinanced car loan?

You can include additional debt in your refinanced car loan. 

Can I refinance a car loan if the car is older?

You can refinance your car if it is older, but some lenders have limits in place or set higher interest rates.

u003cstrongu003eWill I have to pay off the balance of the old loan before refinancing?u003c/strongu003e

You have to pay off the balance of your old loan before refinancing.

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