If you're like many Americans, you work hard to pay your bills, but sometimes bills get paid late and big, unexpected expenses may not be paid off for years. Unfortunately, that predicament can easily lead to bad credit. When you attempt to finance a new or used car, your bad credit can result in high interest rates, high payments you cannot afford, or even being denied a loan. Since none of those situations are fun, it's a good idea to apply the following tips when you need to get a new car.

#1: Put The Biggest Down Payment That You Can

It's easy to forget that your payments are a direct reflection of the total amount of the money being loaned to you, coupled with the interest rate and any other applicable fees. Therefore, your loan amount will go down if you can increase the amount of money you put down on the loan, as will the amount of money you are paying in interest. 

That means that if you can take the bus for a couple of months or keep driving your old car for a bit longer and save up even a few hundred more dollars, you may be able to negotiate better terms. In addition, a hefty down payment might allow a prospective lender to approve your car loan, since there is less risk on their part for financing a car to someone with bad credit when the loan amount is smaller.

#2: Get Copies Of Your Credit Report From The Reporting Agencies And Verify Their Accuracy

You might be surprised to learn that as recently as 2012, it was determined that as many as one out of five Americans found an error on one or more of their credit reports and needed to have it corrected. Unfortunately, if you know that you have bad credit, you might expect to have your loan declined or be quoted a high interest rate for a loan. 

However, you should take the time to verify that your credit report is accurate. By doing so, you can make sure that you are only being penalized for the issues that you're responsible for and not a clerical error of someone who put in the wrong information on your credit report. If you see an error, dispute it and you might see your credit score increase slightly soon after. 

#3: Get Someone To Co-sign For You

Having a co-signer for your loan can often permit you to be approved for a loan that you could not qualify for otherwise. However, you need to be aware that if you are unable to make the required payments in full and on time, the person co-signing for you will be expected to do so.

As a result, this option is better for you if you have a good job now and can afford the payments, and the issues that allowed your credit score to be negatively impacted are no longer a concern. For example, if you lost your job but are now employed and don't expect to be unemployed again, getting someone you trust to co-sign for you is a good choice. In comparison, if you're still struggling financially and you're not sure if you can afford all of the expenses related to financing a car, this might not be the right choice. 

In conclusion, getting a new or new-to-you vehicle can be difficult if circumstances have resulted in a less than stellar credit score. As a result, you are likely to find the advice discussed above to be quite useful when you need to be approved for a car loan with affordable payments and interest rates. Click here to learn more about financing with bad credit.