white chevy camaro

The Complete Guide to Buying a Used Car With Shaky Credit

Buying a car with less-than-perfect credit can be a challenge—there’s no point in pretending it’s not. Unlike someone with a 750+ credit score, you can’t just call your bank for over-the-phone loan approval and then head to the lot to pick out your car, but you can still get the quality used car you need; you just have to learn how to buy a used car with imperfect credit.

There’s no shame in being in your position. In fact, most people will deal with credit issues at some point in their lives. The team at Owings Auto understands that, and we’ve made it our business to help people with bad credit get the reliable pre-owned vehicle they need.

We’ve helped more 20,000 of them!

Here’s everything you need to know about how to buy a used car without waiting for your credit score to go up.


The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out how much you can realistically afford each month. When considering this, remember to include more than just the car payment. You’ll also need to budget for:

  • Auto Insurance
  • Gas
  • Vehicle Maintenance

If you’re currently using public transportation or Uber, remember to deduct those amounts since you won’t have those expenses after you get a car.


It’s always a good idea to put some money down on a used car. This will lower your monthly payment and help you pay off the car faster. Plus, if you spend a few months saving the amount of money you plan to spend on a car payment, it will help you see whether or not the payment fits easily into your budget.

Finding a Trustworthy Dealership

This is one of the most important steps in buying a used car. You’ve probably heard horror stories of people buying cars that needed $2,000 worth of work within a week of purchase. Unfortunately, these aren’t just urban legends—there are many unscrupulous used car dealerships out there.

Buyers who live in the Arlington, TX area can head to Owings Auto to enjoy courteous, trustworthy service. We don’t need to toot our own horn because our reputation speaks for itself. Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of buyers with bad credit drive away in a quality, reliable car, and we maintain an A+ rating with the BBB.

Here’s something to think about:

How many used car dealerships do you think encourage buyers to take their cars to an independent mechanic before they buy?

Owings Auto does. That’s because we go over every car on our lot with a fine-tooth comb, and we only sell quality cars that are in great shape. Those aren’t just words—it’s a promise we stand behind with a free 12-month/12,000-mile warranty.

Consider Buy Here Pay Here Financing

Your credit may be stopping you from getting a bank loan, but you can still get financing for the used car you need. Since we make all of our own credit and financing decisions, Owings Auto can get you approved for a bad credit car loan the same day. You can even start the application online before you arrive.

We know you’re more than your credit score, and we understand that circumstances such as divorce, the loss of a job, and other issues can create credit problems. Even if you have foreclosures, past repossessions, or bankruptcies, our judgement-free financing team can still work with you. As long as you can prove residence and income of at least $1,500 net a month, we can get you approved. It really is that easy.

Choosing a Vehicle

Now the fun part! While you may dream of a fancy sports car that will turn heads, you may want to be a little more practical when choosing your next used vehicle (or maybe not!). Whether you’re looking for a work truck or an SUV to ferry the kids to school and sports, the helpful staff at Owings Auto will help you find a vehicle that fits your needs and your budget.

Want a shorter answer to how to buy a used car? Just stop by Owings Auto! We’ll give you a fresh start that puts you in a quality vehicle while also helping you rebuild your credit. Visit our Arlington, TX dealership today and enjoy being treated with respect by the team that values your business!

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