3 Crucial Financing Tips For Subprime Auto Borrowers

American automotive culture is about more than just having the best car on the block. Owning a reliable vehicle is an essential part of day-to-day life for many Americans. You likely use your car to drive to work, take your kids to school, and handle routine errands. Depending on where you live, going without an automobile for too long may be challenging or even impossible.

Unfortunately, while most people need a car, many may not have perfect credit records. If you need to finance a vehicle with subprime credit, you need to take some extra care and a few additional steps when entering the loan process. This guide will help you get the best deal for your new car, even if your credit can still use a little work.

1. Learn About FICO Scores

You may be surprised to learn that you don't have a single credit score. Instead, a wide range of scores can impact your ability to receive financing for different purposes. The score used by banks to approve credit cards isn't necessarily the same score that dealerships use when evaluating you for a car loan. This situation can make applying for loans confusing and sometimes frustrating.

If you're using your bank or another institution to check your credit score, ensure you understand which version you're receiving. The standard FICO score doesn't consider everything that auto lenders will see. For example, you may have a relatively poor standard score, but a solid history of prior auto loan payments can improve your odds for a car loan.

2. Ask What You Need

Before going to the dealership, call or email the financing department to ask about required documentation. As with any other loan, you should expect to provide various forms of documentation for your auto loan. These documents help prove to the lender that you're telling the truth about who you are, where you live, and how much money you make.

If you're applying for a loan with a relatively poor credit score, you may need to provide some additional documentation. For example, lenders may want to see a more extended income history, or they may request bank statements. If in doubt, bring as much documentation with you as possible to help smooth over any bumps in the process.

3. Save Some Cash

Equity is almost always king in the eyes of lenders. The more you can put down, the better your odds of getting a successful loan, even with poor credit. While there's no hard and fast rule to follow, you should try to get as much equity in your new car as you can. Making a larger down payment increases your approval odds and may even lead to a lower APR and more affordable monthly payments. 

To learn more about bad credit car financing, reach out to a lender in your area.