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What to do when you can’t afford your car payment Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our aim is to assist you make better financial choices by offering you interactive financial calculators and tools, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct your own research and compare information for free and help you make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has agreements with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn Money The products that appear on this website come from companies that compensate us. This compensation can affect the way and when products are featured on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear within the listing categories in the event that they are not permitted by law for our loan products, such as mortgages and home equity, and other products that lend money to homeowners. But this compensation does have no impact on the information we provide, or the reviews that appear on this website. We do not include the vast array of companies or financial deals that might be available to you. Westend61/Getty Images

4 min read Published April 19, 2022

Written by Dan Miller Written by Points and Miles Expert Contributor Dan Miller is a former contributor to Bankrate. Dan was a writer for Bankrate who covered loans as well as home equity and managing debt in his work. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances through providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down otherwise complicated subjects into digestible pieces. The Bankrate promises

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There are money-related questions. Bankrate has the answers. Our experts have been helping you manage your finances for over four decades. We are constantly striving to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools required to be successful throughout their financial journey. Bankrate follows a strict policy, which means you can be confident that our content is honest and accurate. Our award-winning editors and reporters produce honest and reliable information to assist you in making the right financial choices. The content we create by our editorial staff is objective, factual and uninfluenced through our sponsors. We’re transparent about the ways we’re able to bring quality content, competitive rates and helpful tools for our customers by explaining how we earn money. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated for the promotion of sponsored goods or services, or when you click on certain hyperlinks on our website. This compensation could influence the manner, place and in what order items are listed, except where prohibited by law. This is the case for our mortgage, home equity and other products for home loans. Other factors, like our own website rules and whether a product is available in the area you reside in or is within your self-selected credit score range could also affect the manner in which products appear on this website. We strive to offer a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include details about each financial or credit item or service. An important part of the success of a budget is to fit all your expenses for the month within your budget. As part of your routine budget review, you might encounter a situation where you feel like you’re not able to afford your car expenses. If this is the case there are a variety of options to find relief. Each option comes with its particular pros and cons, so it is important to study them carefully to see which option might be right for you. Contact the dealership and request a trade The first step to take is to reach out to your dealer to see if they can trade your car in to a less expensive model. It might be simpler to work out when you purchased the car from a dealer and your loan is funded by it. This could make the dealer more responsive in discussing the details with you. However, even if this is not the case, it’s worth calling the dealer to find out the options open to you. Based on the cost difference between your current and new vehicles, as well as the terms and the length of time, you might be able to save a significant amount of money by purchasing purchase a cheaper car. Be aware that current prices may make trading your car slightly more difficult. The prices of used cars have increased significantly from where they were a few years ago. Therefore, based on the kind of car you are trading in and what kind of vehicle you’re hoping to purchase this could prove more challenging than you expected. Request a loan modifications Another choice is available if you’re unable to afford your car payment is to apply for an . With the option of a loan modification, you collaborate in conjunction with your lender to alter the conditions of your loan. It could mean the reduction of the interest rate, delaying payments for a period or changing your payment’s due date so it aligns more closely with your timetable. A loan modification may also prolong the duration of your current loan. It will typically lower the monthly payment, however you will pay more in interest over the life of your loan. It is important to be cautious and ensure that the numbers are in your favor you before agreeing to any changes. Refinance your car loan When your lender will not modify the terms of your loan You also can choose to . It is possible to shop around and prequalify with several lenders to find the best rate and conditions. If you have an account with an institution like a local credit union or bank You may be able to get better rates as you have an existing relationship with them. Before you refinance your auto loan determine whether you’re eligible. Even even if you have a low credit rating, you might be eligible to if you can pay off your car loan quickly or you have increased the credit rating of your. Also, check to see the fees related to refinancing an auto loan. Certain fees are the early termination fee and transaction fee and state registration fees. auto insurance cost and late payment fees. Consider the following as a good procedure to refinance your car: Decide if refinancing is the best option for you financially. Review the current loan. Check your credit score. Calculate the value of your car. Compare refinancing rates. Find out how much you could save when refinancing. Complete your paperwork. Sell privately and buy within your budget. If cannot afford the car payments right now, another possibility to think about is to sell your car privately and then purchase a different car which is more within your current budget. There are a few more steps in , but it is still definitely doable. This market has been particularly favorable for the sale of a secondhand car, as prices are significantly more expensive than they were in the past, so you may be able to get a great price. However, the negative downside to a highly-priced second-hand car marketplace is that it could be harder to locate the right replacement car to fit your budget. Be sure to study the market and find out what it will cost to buy a new car. That will give you an idea of how much you’ll save by switching cars , and whether it’ll be worth it for you. Get help from your family and friends assistance A last resort may be to ask your family and friends for help. This may or may not be the right choice for you, based on your relationship with friends and family, and their own financial situations. But if you’re in an extremely difficult situation in which you are unable to afford the cost of your car, speaking with the people closest to you might be a viable option to consider. Keep in mind as well that assistance from friends and family doesn’t always have to be financial. Although it would be wonderful if you had a rich uncle who would just take care of your loan immediately, most of us aren’t in that type of scenario. In addition to financial aid the family members and friends of yours may also be trying to sell their car or know someone who is. These connections could help you save money. The next steps to take when you’re in a spot in which you’re unable to make car payments, recognizing and taking a look at your financial position is the most crucial step. Ignoring the situation or, even more serious, failing to pay for your vehicle loan could cause major issues in your financial standing. If you’ve discovered the issue, it’s time to explore the options. Contact your lender first to determine whether they’re willing to alter your loan. Lenders don’t like modifying existing loans however, they don’t like repossessing cars. Make your case as to the need for a modification for you to keep making payments. Based on your circumstances and credit score, you may be able to refinance your loan and possibly save money. Be sure to research the charges associated with refinancing and read the terms of the loan contract before taking any action. Frequently asked questions What do I do if I can’t afford my car payment? If you’re not able to pay for your car loan it’s the best time to take action. Review these options: Reach to your lender and consider deferring payments, look into taking out a new loan or trade in your car or trade it in or give up your car voluntarily. What are the charges associated with refinancing an auto loan? Fees associated with refinancing an auto loan might include an early termination charge and transaction costs and state registration fees. They also include insurance for autos, late payment fees as well as an upfront cash payment. Can you refinance the car loan with a poor credit score? You may be eligible for a refinance loan even if you have a bad credit score. Learn more


Authored by Points and Miles Expert Contributor Dan Miller is a former contributor to Bankrate. Dan was a writer for Bankrate who covered loans, home equity and managing debt in his work. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are committed to helping readers to manage their finances with precise, well-studied facts that break down complex subjects into bite-sized pieces.

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