Good used-car dealerships for unfortunate souls with bad credit?

My husband and I currently own a beat-up 2002 Aztek.  The car is a piece: bad wiring, broken speedometer, and endless dinging from a malfunctioning brake monitor. It wasn’t a problem when my job provided a fleet of cars to me for my travels as a social worker, I just drove the hunk of junk to work and used their car to transport clients. At my new job I’m required to use my own car for this while driving about 30 miles one way to work every day. I really need to get a new car before this one dies on me completely and leaves me high and dry.

I was wondering where one might find a reliable used car dealership in town. Our credit isn’t the greatest from old hospital bills and the like, but we make good payments and have improved our budgeting skills since getting out of college and realizing hey … bills don’t disappear if you ignore them like an idiot.

If the kind people of PDD have any ideas I’d be extremely grateful!

Miigwech.

16 Comments

tang!

about 9 years ago

The friendly folks at Affinity Credit Union are able to help sometimes.  Go and talk with them in person and see if they have some options for you.  They're good people.

TimK

about 9 years ago

Get your credit score and approach a lender (like a credit union) to see if you can get approved before you pick out a car. The terms will be better and you'll have an idea of how much car you can get for your budget.

Makoons

about 9 years ago

Thanks for these suggestions, folks. I really appreciate the help.

wildgoose

about 9 years ago

Boozhoo Makoons,

I am one payment away from being done with a car loan from the car dealership down next to Garfield Avenue on Michigan Street.  

They charged extremely high interest rates and it was painful but I don't think I could have gotten a loan without them.  So, when I really needed it I could get a loan on a very reliable vehicle, but it was very expensive to work through their financing.  I would recommend it, but only as a last resort.

Barrett Chase

about 9 years ago

I've only ever dealt with Krenzen, and what they do is put your credit information into their system, which is connected with banks and credit unions all across the area. They come up with a list of offers from lenders, and you pick the one with the best interest rate. The rates I've gotten this way have been better than I expected.

I don't know your situation, but keep in mind that if it's possible, coming up with a decent down payment will sometimes give a lender more confidence in you and help offset any past indiscretions.

gluvin

about 9 years ago

Stay away from CarHop.  In my opinion they are a predatory lender and dealership.  They sell cars for above the book value and charge very high rates.  I worked in banking in the cities and was amazed at how many people got taken advantage of by CarHop.  Of course this is my personal opinion.

kshykes

about 9 years ago

My name is Kelly Shykes and I work for Kia of Duluth.  Thanks, Wildgoose, for suggesting us as a place to go.  We have 100 percent guaranteed credit approval, so stop in or give me a call. 218-722-4542 x238

BadCat!

about 9 years ago

"100% credit approval" means "we back loans for people that probably can't afford them, so we charge higher interest to make up for the loss."

Tom

about 9 years ago

Wildgoose referred to Kia of Duluth as the "car dealership down next to Garfield Avenue on Michigan Street" rather than by name, said it was "very expensive" and recommended it "only as a last resort."

Only a car dealership could take that as a positive suggestion.

TimK

about 9 years ago

A reputable dealer (and I just bought a car from  the local Kia) will offer a loan with a longer term to someone with credit issues. They don't finance it themselves -- they find a lender that will stretch it out. Interest rates should be relatively competitive. I've got a pretty good credit score and was offered a few choices on loan terms for a 2013 model. If the body isn't falling off, you might consider investing in your existing wreck.  You might be able to get a note from your bank or credit union for the $1500 worth of "improvements" to the vehicle and pay off the loan in say a year thus improving. your future credit rating. Just 2 cents worth of a grain of salt...

wildgoose

about 9 years ago

I noticed all of those things, too Tom.  I'm a little surprised that they weren't offended, too.   The vehicle has been completely and totally reliable which is exactly what I need at this time in my life.  The sales people were all very efficient and honest - I knew what I was getting into when I signed up. But the interest is just brutal, that's why I said I'd only recommend it as a last resort.  And that is the crucial point.  Given a recent business implosion, a divorce, and crushing student loan debt no one else was willing to give me a loan despite the fact that I was trying to keep up with my bills and working full-time.  They took a chance on me and that has made a huge difference for me.  

BTW, I'm not sure if it will work for Makoons or not, but I really like TimK's suggestion of doing improvements to your existing vehicle. I can also recommend combing through the classifieds for a private seller with a good deal, if you have money to pay them straight up cash, that is.

BadCat!

about 9 years ago

Just a warning: dealing with the Kia service department has made me want to tear my hair out. I may or may not own a Kia again in the future, I know I won't own one in Duluth because I'll have to deal with them again.

Makoons

about 9 years ago

I think so far I will be trying for the Community Action Duluth program as I do qualify for it per the information on their website. If that ends up not working out for me, I'll then look into getting a loan for repairs. I really appreciate all your input and ideas.

As far as Kia goes, I attempted to buy a car from Kia of St. Cloud last year as they came highly recommended by a friend. I got a really ugly run-around from the sales people there to the point where they held my keys after they test-drove my trade in and made me tell them no for about a half hour before they finally relented and gave them back. I'm a bit traumatized by that and don't know if I could go back to a Kia dealership if that's the way their salespeople are trained to behave.

kshykes

about 9 years ago

It is great to get both positive and negative feedback about our dealership, the banks we use and our service department.  The only way to grow as a dealership is to listen to consumers and make changes based on what they want. We are always striving to do better!

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