When you have bad credit and need a loan $5K is typically the least amount you can borrow. This means you may be able to finance a used car under $5,000 as long as the loan amount is more with taxes and fees.

Buying a Car vs. Financing a Vehicle

If you don't need a loan, a $5,000 or less used car can get you from point A to point B – but for how long? It depends on how smart you shop. You can shop for a car to purchase under $5K, but if you have to finance, you typically can't finance less than that.

If you need to get a loan for an inexpensive vehicle, you should know that the lowest amount you can typically borrow with bad credit is $5,000. Subprime lenders have other requirements for the car as well, such as being under 10 years old and having less than 100,000 miles on it.

In order to ensure that your loan meets the $5,000 mark, the total amount borrowed must hit $5k with taxes and fees included. This means you can finance a vehicle that costs $4,000 if all the associated charges add up to at least $1,000.

Similarly, if you're looking at a vehicle that is a few thousand more, but you have a large down payment, you can work it out so that you only finance the $5,000.

What to Look for in an Inexpensive Used Car

Since new vehicles are being manufactured to last longer these days, it's normally possible to find an affordable used car that lasts and has a lower price point. However, these days, with the chip shortage impacting new vehicles, and used cars leaving dealer lots in record numbers, you may have to shop more diligently.Buying a Used Car Under $5,000

Used cars

Used cars come as-is, and there's no guarantee or warranty once you drive them off the lot unless you purchase one at the time of sale. It's possible to find a used car under $5,000 but you're likely going to be looking at older models with higher mileage. However, in some cases, you may be able to find a used electric vehicle (EV) that's reasonably priced.

You want to shop for a make and model that's known for its quality and longevity, like Toyota, Subaru, and Honda vehicles. It's important to look at consumer reviews and used car pricing guides like Kelley Blue Book or NADAguides before you start shopping, especially when you're looking for a cheap car.

Be sure to get a vehicle history report, and avoid any cars that were previously in serious accidents or that have rebuilt titles on them. It's also a good idea to know how the car was cared for, so if you can see regular service in its vehicle history report, you're probably better off.


Certified pre-owned vehicles, or CPOs, are the cream of the crop of used cars so to speak. It's rare that you'd find a CPO that's under $5K, but finding a CPO is typically a good bet for a longer-lasting vehicle when it comes to used cars. True CPOs are inspected and refurbished by manufacturer-certified technicians and restored to the best possible shape they can be before being returned to dealer lots for sale. What makes them a true CPO is the manufacturer-backed warranty that comes with all CPOs. Often, these cars are just coming off of a lease, making them only around two to three years old.

Dealer-certified vehicles may seem similar to CPOs, but they're typically only inspected by the dealership, and don't come with the peace of mind of a manufacturer warranty. They may have other perks such as service performed at the dealership included, but these cars aren't the same as a true CPO. However, they may be a step up from the regular used cars on the lot. You may also find some that are cheaper than a true CPO model.

[do_wideget text !ad]

Get Started Now!

When you have bad credit it's a wise idea to search for an affordable used car to meet your needs and help you improve your credit through on-time payments. It can be tough to know where to start when you think your credit is standing in your way, though.

At Auto Credit Express, we know what it's like to struggle to find a car loan, and we want to help take the hassle out of it for you! When you fill out our fast, free, no-obligation auto loan request form we get to work matching you with a local dealership that's signed up with subprime lenders to help credit-challenged consumers. Let us help you, too!