How to buy a truck with bad credit

Buying a truck with bad credit


It’s easy to see why a pickup truck, the Ford F-150, has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for years on end. There are lots of people who need a truck for work, that’s for sure. But it’s also very handy to have one for personal use.

The convenience of dropping the tailgate, loading up and driving off is unmatched by an SUV or car. No lifting up to the roof rack or folding down seats, and no vacuuming the interior afterwards.

Trucks are often more expensive than cars, but not all pickup owners are driving around with brand new vehicles, or perfect credit.

When you need auto financing, working out how to buy a truck with bad credit* is not so different from learning how to buy a car with bad credit.

You may want to plan ahead by checking your credit, what you can afford, apply for preapproved auto loans with some different lenders, then, once approved, negotiate loan terms.

There’s more to it than that though, and we’ll go through the steps for how to buy a truck with bad credit or no credit history in more detail.

Steps for financing a truck with poor credit

Let’s say you’re starting on a home improvement project. You wouldn’t pitch in with a hammer and nails before you’d sized things up and prepared. The same principle applies to buying a truck with bad credit.

  • Check your credit

Think about your credit first of all. Why would you do that? Pretty sure you’ve got bad credit already? Well, most auto lenders make decisions on loan applications based in part on credit score. A credit score is in turn based on your credit experiences, which are compiled in credit reports by credit bureaus. So checking your credit reports for errors that might inhibit your access to the best loan terms for your situation is a good idea, says the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

  • Know your limits

Another important step as you lay the groundwork to buy a truck is to estimate what you can afford. Online auto loan calculators help with this by enabling you to see what you may be able to spend on a vehicle, and estimate your monthly payment. You can see how these amounts go up and down by changing factors like interest rate, loan term and down payment.

  • Find out your trade-in value

In a similar way to a down payment, money from a trade-in may be used toward the cost of a new truck, and reduce the amount you need to borrow. Looking up your current vehicle’s value will tell you what you might expect to get back from the dealer. Consumer Reports, Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book are popular resources for this.

  • Think add-ons

Next up, think about whether you want add-ons like optional extras for the vehicle (after all, what truck driver doesn’t have their own idea of the perfect setup?), as well as additional products like extended warranties, service contracts and GAP insurance.  If you opt for these they will increase the cost of your truck in total.

  • Do you need a cosigner?

Decide if you want a cosigner for your loan application. A co-borrower, like a family member or friend, is someone who enters into the loan contract and is obliged to pay back the loan just like you, although they have no claim to the vehicle. A creditworthy cosigner may help applicants qualify for a loan and may improve their interest rate, according to the CFPB.

  • Go shop for loans

Then shop around for truck loans for people with bad credit to try and get yourself a good deal. Bear in mind that factors like annual percentage rate (APR), interest rate, loan term and some fees associated with the loan are generally negotiable. You’ll probably know that dealerships, banks and credit unions are options for auto financing. Consider online finance companies like RoadLoans, as well.

Preapproval with RoadLoans

RoadLoans is a well-established lender that enables consumers to apply for preapproved auto loans from home, work or their mobile device ahead of stepping into a dealership. If approved, you can shop like a cash buyer already knowing the terms of your approval, including loan amount, APR and loan duration.

That sort of knowledge is a big plus, according to the CFPB, as it lets buyers focus their efforts on negotiating vehicle price without having to negotiate their financing, too. Overall, preapproval may save you time, money and stress, says the agency.

RoadLoans may offer consumers looking to buy a truck with bad credit further advantages. We accept applications from people with all types of credit, including no credit history and those who have been through bankruptcy.

And our process is like a well-oiled, well, truck. You can complete the application in minutes and get an instant loan decision.

While we accept loan applications for new and used pickup trucks, cars and SUVs, we don’t offer financing for commercial vehicles.

Finding a great truck

If approved, looking for a quality vehicle is not hard work. RoadLoans recommends preferred dealers within your loan documents, which you can print and take with you to the dealership.

You can also use our dealer locator to pinpoint other auto dealerships within our network of 14,000 sites across the United States. All offer high quality cars, pickups and SUVs meeting our standards for age and mileage, along with our financing requirements.

Buying a truck with bad credit doesn’t necessarily have to be a long haul. Direct-to-consumer lenders like RoadLoans provide a streamlined auto financing process. If approved, we do the heavy lifting for you.

Apply for an auto loan and get an instant decision.


* “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.


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