Tips for Financing a Car with a 580 Credit Score


Buying a car is an important milestone for many people. However, if you have a credit score of 580, securing financing for your vehicle can be challenging. A credit score of 580 is considered subprime, which means that you may have a history of late payments, high debt levels, or other factors that have negatively impacted your creditworthiness. While it may be more difficult to get approved for a car loan with a 580 credit score, it is not impossible. In this article, we will discuss some tips and strategies to help you finance a car with a 580 credit score.

Know Your Credit Score and Improve It

Before applying for car financing, it is essential to know your credit score. You can obtain a copy of your credit report from one of the major credit bureaus, such as Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Review your report carefully for any errors or discrepancies, as these can negatively impact your score. If you find any errors, dispute them with the credit bureaus to have them corrected.

To improve your credit score, focus on paying your bills on time, reducing your debt levels, and avoiding new credit inquiries. It may take some time to see significant improvements in your score, but every step in the right direction can make a difference.

Save for a Down Payment

Having a larger down payment can increase your chances of getting approved for a car loan with a 580 credit score. A substantial down payment shows lenders that you are committed to the purchase and reduces their risk. Saving up for a down payment may require some discipline and budgeting, but it can help you secure better loan terms and lower interest rates.

Consider cutting back on non-essential expenses and diverting those funds towards your down payment. Additionally, explore other sources of income or consider taking on a part-time job to boost your savings.

Explore Loan Options and Shop Around

Even with a 580 credit score, you still have options for financing a car. It may be tempting to accept the first loan offer you receive, but it is essential to shop around and compare multiple lenders. Different lenders have different criteria and may offer different interest rates and loan terms.

Start by researching traditional lenders such as banks and credit unions, as well as online lenders and lenders who specialize in subprime borrowers. You can also consider working with a car dealership that has experience in helping customers with low credit scores secure financing.

When comparing loan offers, pay attention to the interest rate, loan term, and any fees associated with the loan. Look for lenders who are transparent about their rates and fees and who offer pre-approval options to avoid unnecessary credit inquiries.

Consider a Cosigner

If you are struggling to get approved for a car loan with a 580 credit score, you may want to consider finding a cosigner. A cosigner is someone with a better credit history who agrees to take on the responsibility of repaying the loan if you default. Having a cosigner can help offset the risk associated with your lower credit score and increase your chances of getting approved.

When choosing a cosigner, look for someone who has a strong credit history and is willing and able to fulfill their obligations as a cosigner. Keep in mind that if you default on the loan, it will not only impact your credit but also your cosigner's credit.

Be Prepared for Higher Interest Rates

With a 580 credit score, it is important to be realistic about the interest rates you may qualify for. Subprime borrowers typically face higher interest rates to compensate for the higher risk they pose to lenders. It is crucial to factor in these higher rates when budgeting for your car loan to ensure that the monthly payments are manageable.

While higher interest rates may increase the overall cost of the loan, timely payments can help you improve your credit score over time. It is important to establish a positive payment history to build trust and potentially refinance the loan with better terms in the future.

Work on Building Your Credit

Securing financing for a car with a 580 credit score may be challenging, but it is not the end of the road. Use this opportunity to start rebuilding your credit. Make all your loan payments on time and in full, and avoid taking on additional debt that you cannot manage.

Consider applying for a secured credit card or a credit builder loan to help establish a positive credit history. These types of credit accounts require a security deposit or collateral, which reduces the lender's risk and gives you an opportunity to demonstrate responsible credit behavior.


While financing a car with a 580 credit score may present some challenges, it is not impossible. By knowing your credit score, saving for a down payment, exploring loan options, considering a cosigner, and being prepared for higher interest rates, you can increase your chances of getting approved for a car loan. Additionally, it is essential to work on improving your credit over time to have better options in the future. Remember, even with a subprime credit score, there are lenders willing to work with you and help you get behind the wheel of your dream car.

24 October 2023
Written by John Roche