What Happens When You Can’t Make Car Payments?

With Equity: Sell or Refinance

Find out how much your car is worth and compare that value to the amount you owe on the loan.

If you owe less than the car’s value, you’ve got equity.

You’ll pay off your loan and that’s that.

There will be no danger of hurting your credit because of late or missed car payments.

Can you go to jail for not making car payments?

No, you cannot go to jail for nonpayment of a debt. Call the lawyer, or collection agent, or finance company (whomever is calling you–identify clearly who they are and who they represent), and negotiate.

Can you give your car back to the finance company?

When you return your car to your lender or dealership, it’s called voluntary repossession. You take your vehicle back to your lender or dealership before it’s taken from you. Your credit will still take a hit, but it might be slightly smaller than with involuntary repossession — and can save you fees.

How do I get out of a car loan I can’t afford?

You can get out from under a payment you can no longer afford.

  • Refinance if Possible.
  • Move the Excess Car Debt to a Credit Line.
  • Sell Some Stuff.
  • Get a Part-Time Job.
  • Don’t Finance the Purchase.
  • Pretend You’re Buying a House.
  • Pay More Than the Specified Monthly Payment.
  • Keep Up With Car Maintenance.

How often can you defer a car payment?

Typically, most lenders wait until you are about 3 months behind on car payments. Although you can be considered in default after 30 days, lenders may wait 90-120 days before taking action.