Are There Vehicle Requirements for Bad Credit Car Buyers?

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


, - April 5, 2018

Bad credit borrowers will find there are certain guidelines that determine the car they’ll be eligible to purchase, as vehicle choice depends on dealer inventory and a monthly payment range that’s determined by the lender.

Basic Vehicle Requirements

Vehicle requirements vary, but subprime lenders typically have restrictions about the cost, age, and mileage of the cars they’ll finance. The three most common vehicle requirements are:

  • Potential buyers can only be financed for amounts of $5,000 or more.
  • Financing can only be obtained for vehicles that are 10 years old and newer.
  • Regardless of model year, cars typically must have less than 100,000 miles on the odometer to be eligible for financing.

Borrowers looking for a vehicle that falls outside these guidelines will have to look for other means of financing, which can be difficult with bad credit.

Why Have These Guidelines?

Believe it or not, lenders want their borrowers to be successful with their auto loans – there’s no interest to be made on a failed auto loan, after all. The reason specific guidelines are in place is to help ensure bad credit car buyers are able to purchase a reliable vehicle. Vehicles more than 10 years old have a higher risk of breakdown, often needing expensive repairs that may not be within the budget of someone struggling with credit issues.

These loans also carry higher interest rates, and the cars can be more expensive to insure depending on make and model. By limiting eligible vehicles to a set standard, lenders improve the odds that a borrower pays back their loan with a vehicle that’s meeting their needs.

Knowing Your Options

When a borrower is aware of the guidelines their financed vehicle will have to meet, they can make realistic decisions based on their needs. Borrowers should make a list of needed features, keeping in mind that this isn’t the time to finance a dream car or luxury vehicle.

For example, if a borrower is single and only commutes a few miles to work each day, a seven-passenger SUV is probably not a viable option, while a working parent who needs to fit two car seats in the back for a 30-mile daily commute probably shouldn’t be looking for a two-door sports car (although to be fair, if you’re facing credit troubles a sports car is a bad decision full stop).

Being realistic about why a car is necessary and the types of driving it’ll be used for will go a long way toward making a vehicle choice that both the buyer can live with and the lender is willing to finance.

Finding Your Next Vehicle with Us

Here at CarsDirect, we’re aware that it can be difficult for a bad credit car buyer to know where to start their vehicle buying process. We can simplify that for you and take the stress out of knowing where to turn.

We work with a network of special finance dealers spanning from coast to coast that have the lending resources available to help people with bad credit, no credit, and even bankruptcy. We can help you take the path toward a local dealer who’s right for your situation today. Just fill out our online auto loan request form to get the process started right now!

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


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