Should I get a car loan or buy a cheap used car?

I feel trapped because I have no car to get to a job and no job to secure a car loan. I have about $4,000 to put down on a car, and my credit score is around 625. Would I qualify for a car loan, or would I be better off buying a cheap used car with that $4,000?

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Eric Schad
Answered on Mar 12, 2021
I’m sorry to hear you feel trapped! Here’s the best plan of action to get a set of wheels:
With no income and a credit score below the U.S. national average, getting a car loan will prove difficult. Even a sizable down payment may not be enough to overcome these two obstacles. Lenders that might approve your loan application may also have some unsavory practices, such as instituting sky-high interest rates or unfavorable repossession tactics if you only miss one payment.
That’s why you should probably take the $4,000 and find something in your price range. However, you’re going to want peace of mind. While private sellers may offer more affordable prices, reputable dealers typically offer some sort of guarantee or warranty, even on used cars. This will cover some situations where maintenance or repairs are necessary.
Also, don’t forget that you still need insurance; you may need to look in the $3,000 to $3,500 range to save money for insurance and gas. But with any luck, this car should enable you to find a job and get to work!
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