Car shoppers with problem credit should check out the findings of an annual study by Consumer Reports that offers a number of useful tips for choosing the right one for their next car loan
Tips on Buying Used Cars with Lousy Credit
Our experience

We always suggest to consumers with poor credit that are considering financing a used car with their next auto loan that they should first do some research on the vehicle or vehicles they are considering.

We offer them this advice because for more than two decades here at Auto Credit Express we've been helping car buyers with bad credit that have been searching for online car loans find those dealers for their best chances at car loan approvals.

Annual auto issue

We also attempt to give our applicants some guidance so that when it comes time for them to choose a vehicle, they'll not only pick a car they can afford, but also a model that's reliable.

Since used cars are generally more affordable than new ones, this is also good news to consumers with bad credit, since the car loans offered to these consumers typically carry higher than average interest rates - making a used car a better choice.

Picking the right one is not nearly as difficult as it might seem as there are a number of sources – including the annual auto issue published by Consumers Report – buyers can check out before making a decision about which used car to finance.

The latest report, available in print or at (subscription required) states that "With every passing year, buying a used car becomes less of a gamble."

The report also notes that Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler showed the most improvement (all showing at least a ten percent gain when compared with the results from 2002).

Avoiding lemons

Even more useful for credit-challenged buyers is a section of the report in which CR offers advice on "seven ways to avoid a lemon."

Here it what Consumer Reports suggest buyers do:

1. Check for signs of collision repair.  Some include mismatched body panels or doors, hoods, or trunks that don't close properly. Bring a magnet to test for the presence of body filler; if it doesn't stick well to a steel panel, there may be filler under the paint and can indicate a repair.

2. Beware of flood damage. A moldy or mildew smell, discolored carpeting or intermittent electrical problems may be signs.

3. Check the fluids.  Wet spots in the engine compartment or under the vehicle can indicate leaking oils or fluids.  Check the oil and transmission fluids for proper texture and color.

4. Read the smoke signals.  Blue smoke from the tailpipe indicates that the engine may be burning oil.  Billowing white smoke indicates water in the combustion chamber, usually because of a blown head gasket, damaged cylinder head or even a cracked block – all expensive repairs.

5. Step on the gas.  Knocks and pings while accelerating can reflect an overheating engine.  If the engine revs excessively before the car accelerates, it may indicate a misadjusted or worn-out clutch or damaged automatic transmission.

6. Check the vehicle's history.  A vehicle history report from Carfax ( or Experian Automotive ( can alert a buyer to possible odometer fraud; reveal past fire, flood, and accident damage.  Unfortunately, these services don't catch everything, so it's no guarantee that a car is problem-free.

7. Get it inspected.  Have any car thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic.  Check for any recalls related to the car and verify whether the work was done.

As we see it

By following this, buyers with less than perfect credit issues will know what to do when it comes time to pick out a used vehicle.

Another valuable tip: Auto Credit Express matches people that have experienced difficulties with their auto credit with new car dealers that can offer them their best chances for approved car loans.

So if you're ready to reestablish your car credit, you can begin now by filling out our online car loan application.