Do You Have To Be 18 to Get a Car Loan?

Get Car Financing
Even with poor credit.

By

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.


, - March 2, 2018

Simply put, yes, you must be 18 to get a car loan. In the US, no minor can enter into a legally-binding contract without parental consent. This doesn’t prevent a minor from buying a car, assuming they have the cash to do it outright. It only prevents them from getting financed.

Minor Issues to Consider

Before a borrower turns 18, they’re likely to have lived at home and/or haven’t had the chance to build much credit. This can hurt their approval chances, even after they reach the legal age to enter into a loan contract.

Lack of credit hurts because lenders rely on credit history to judge how creditworthy a borrower is. They look at credit reports to see how responsible a borrower has been with money and how long they’ve used credit. With little to no credit history, the best bet for freshly minted 18-year-old borrowers to get auto financing is to have a cosigner.

Cosigners are typically family members with good credit. Even with a cosigner, the borrower will need to have a job and provide proof of income, along with other qualifications. Typically, lenders require a minimum income of $1,500 to $1,800 a month before taxes. Although a teenager may be working, it’s usually part-time or balanced around school. This can make it difficult to get in enough hours to hit the lender requirements, especially at minimum wage, which is usually the case. Remember, if the primary borrower can’t or won’t make payments, the cosigner is legally responsible for doing so.

When the Time Comes to Get a Car

When you’ve been looking forward to getting a car since you got a driver’s license, it can seem like a long way to 18 if you have to fend for yourself with financing. The good news is that there are things you can do in the meantime to build and improve your credit and ensure a smoother loan process when the time comes.

When that day does arrive, make sure you’re getting the right loan for your needs, from the right lender. At CarsDirect, we specialize in helping individuals with little to no credit get matched up to a local dealer that has the lending specialists available to help. The process is simple to get started, and there’s never any obligation. Just fill out one of our online auto loan request forms to get started right now.

Need a Car Loan?

It only takes a minute.

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.


Search New Cars by Loan Payment »

View estimated loan payments based on local rebates and financing offers.

Loan approval is not guaranteed and is subject to credit application and approval of the lender. Individual loan terms may vary. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of CarsDirect.com's Terms of Use, Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.