The economy continues to limp along while banks and other lenders are tightening their credit policies. The problem is, you still need a new car because your old one is on its last legs. Fortunately, there are the steps that you can take to increase your chances of financing a new vehicle.

The First Step

Know your credit score. Here at Auto Credit Express, we know that buying a car without knowing your credit score, sometimes called a FICO score, is a lot like going on vacation to a place you've never been before and not bringing along a road map. Just as the road map tells you where you are going and how to get there, your credit score can tell you how to buy a car and, in many cases, where to buy a car.

If your credit score is above the 620 to 640 range, you can probably finance your new purchase through a regular bank, known as a prime or near prime lender. Other factors that come into play include previous high credit limits as well as any previous automotive credit history. This means that even with a FICO score at or above this range, a lender may require a co-signer if you haven't had any previous car loan history.

Qualifying for a prime car loan means that you can buy a new vehicle the regular way – pick out a car, negotiate the price, secure financing then sign the papers and drive your new car home.

Less Than Perfect Credit

If your credit score falls below the 620 to 640 range, there is still a good chance that you can qualify for a car loan, but you need to realize that this type of loan will be made by a lender that serves the subprime market. You also need to educate yourself, because the bad credit car buying process is much different than what you might be used to. And just as the bad credit buying process is different, so is the dealer that can help you with a bad credit car loan.

At Auto Credit Express, we know that many car dealers don't offer bad credit car loans as part of their lender portfolio. Because subprime loans require more work than regular loans, dealers are responsible for more paperwork and for making sure that the documentation is correct as well as verifiable. If anything goes wrong with the loan, the paperwork is sent back to the dealer and the dealer holds the contract for the car. When this happens, the dealer must collect the monthly payments from the customer and, believe me, most dealers don't want to do this.

How Auto Credit Express can help you find a local dealer

Here at Auto Credit Express, we specialize in helping people with bad, blemished, bruised and tarnished credit buy cars and reestablish their credit at the same time. Through our web site,, we have helped thousands of customers locate the right dealer and get financed on a new or low-mileage used car. We do this by educating our customers. Our web site contains calculators and resources that will walk you through the application process, answer your questions and help you determine how much car you can afford. Unlike the vast majority of nameless, faceless “blind” bad credit car loan sites, our toll free number is listed on every page in case you have any additional questions.

When you do decide to apply for a bad credit car loan, our bad credit car loan application can be filled out in the comfort and security of your own home. Remember, here at Auto Credit Express, we are experts at “rebuilding America's credit.”