How to refinance a car loan with bad credit

When bad credit* means dealing with a high car payment you can’t really afford, and the worry of missed and late payments, refinancing may let you to take control by putting money back in your pocket each month.

Poor credit can occur in any number of ways and happens to consumers all the time. Unpaid bills, overspending on credit cards, unexpected medical expenses; they’re common scenarios. But even with credit that’s taken a knock from these and other events, like bankruptcy or repossession, you can still apply for better terms such as a smaller payment and lower interest rate.

The process is quick and easy, whatever type of credit customers may have. Unlike a home refinance, there are no appraisals or inspections to complicate things. It’s normally free and, once set in motion, the new lender will handle the whole thing for you. That includes paying off your previous loan and transferring the car title.

Here’s how to refinance a car loan with bad credit and maximize your chances of getting improved terms for a smoother ride.

Refinancing a car with bad credit in easy stages

  1. Start by getting your payoff amount
    There’s no waiting period to refinance with another lender so, even if you’ve recently purchased a vehicle, it may be worth refinancing. Start by requesting the payoff amount on the note with your existing lender. You’ll generally be able to do that online or over the phone.
  2. See what your car’s worth
    Use resources like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds to get an idea of your car’s current value. Is it more or less than the payoff? If it’s less, you’re in negative equity, which may rule out refinancing. If you’re approved for refinancing, the vehicle value will also likely affect whether you’re eligible for cash back.
  3. Check your credit for harmful errors
    Regardless of your credit score, it’s a smart move to review your credit reports for errors that might limit access to the best rates for your situation.
  4. Compare lenders that accept bad credit
    You probably won’t have to look far to find lenders accepting applications to refinance a car with poor credit. Nevertheless, make sure you apply with lenders that meet your needs. They could be companies that accept applications from consumers with all credit types, like RoadLoans, or that specialize in financing for people with bad credit. Evaluate their process and whether they’re a company you want to do business with.
  5. Apply for a loan
    Applying for auto refinancing is typically hassle-free with no application of refinancing fees. At RoadLoans, we enable you to complete a simple, secure online application, and we’ll get back to you with a decision in seconds.
  6. Find out what you may save
    Approved? Use a refinance calculator to compare your existing note to the terms of a new loan. Entering the refinance amount, loan term and APR of a loan offer versus the loan balance, monthly payment and APR on your current contract will suggest what a potential monthly saving will be.
  7. Make your selection, enjoy new terms!
    If you received more than one approval, pick the best option then sign and return your documents, and relax in the knowledge you’ve started afresh with the new loan terms you’ve agreed upon. Approach auto refinancing the right way and you have nothing to lose, except perhaps a high car payment.

Get Started

Applying online takes just a few minutes, it’s free, and you’ll get an instant decision.

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Where can I find the best company to refinance an auto loan with bad credit

The right company to refinance your car depends on an array of factors specific to your situation. They can include things like how the lender operates, its process, and if that will work for you, as well as criteria affecting whether you’re approved and, if so, the terms you receive. Criteria, for example, like your credit profile; the type of car you have; the amount you’re seeking to refinance, and whether you want cash back.

Smart reasons to apply with RoadLoans

As a leading lender and the direct-lending platform of Santander Consumer USA, RoadLoans has years of experience helping refinance customers enjoy new and attractive loan terms with a simple, easy process.

All credit types welcome – We accept applications from people with all types of credit, including consumers who have been through bankruptcy, credit counseling and repossession.

It’s free and secure – It won’t cost a penny to complete our short and secure online application.

Online means anytime – It takes just a few minutes to apply from work, home or your mobile device.

No waiting! – Click submit and we’ll provide an instant loan decision.

You can apply to refinance a high-mileage car – We accept applications to refinance a car up to seven years old and with up to 105,000 miles on the clock.

Competitive rates for qualified customers – Our technology-driven scoring model and financing process enables us to offer competitive rates to qualified customers.

No prepayment penalties – Refinance with RoadLoans and you have the choice to pay off your note early without incurring any prepayment penalties.

Friendly, accessible customer service – Online or on the phone, RoadLoans customers receive the same high levels of service whatever type of credit they have.

See if you can start saving on your auto loan.

Apply for Refinancing 
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These statements are informational suggestions only and should not be construed as legal, accounting or professional advice, nor are they intended as a substitute for legal or professional guidance.

RoadLoans is not a credit counseling service and makes no representations about the responsible use of or restoration of consumer credit.

* “Bad” or “Poor” credit generally is considered a FICO score around 600 and below by sources including the Consumer Federation of America and National Credit Reporting Association (reported by the Associated Press),,, Investopedia, and others. The Congressional Budget Office identifies a FICO score of 620 as the “cutoff” for prime loans. FICO scores are not the sole factor in lending decisions by and Santander Consumer USA.