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Bad credit seems like the end of the road for anyone who wants to purchase a new car, but it’s not as bad as you might imagine. The problem for many is the lack of credit education available to consumers before bad credit is a problem. Hindsight is easy when you’ve ruined your credit and want to repair it, but it’s not so easily accessible to those who’ve yet to make poor financial decisions. Whether you’ve run up your credit card debt, stopped making card payments, or you’ve simply made poor credit decisions following a job loss or other life experience, you might have bad credit.

In South Carolina, it’s imperative you learn to recognize what means bad credit and what doesn’t. Depending on which of the major credit bureaus you’re working with, your score means something a bit different. While it’s not a substantial difference, each credit bureau has a different number ready for you. Understanding where that number falls on the “Bad” range helps you understand where you need to start looking for a car loan.

There’s bad credit that’s low, bad credit that’s average, and bad credit that’s high enough to turn into fair credit before much longer. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, you have bad credit. This means you’ll need a down payment. The higher your bad credit score is the less you’ll need to put down before a lender will work with you. You’ll need to put something down, though, and it’s usually at least 10% of the price of the car you wish to purchase.

Now that you know you’re credit score, it’s time to find out where you can go to find a loan. Many dealerships in South Carolina have their own lenders. Some of those lenders are willing to work with those who have poor credit, but their car options are limited. Lots that offer this type of financing often have a special lot of cars that are older with high mileage, but that are approved for bad credit financing. You must understand it’s nearly impossible to leave a car dealership with a brand-new car with bad credit unless your down payment is substantial.

Dealership lenders aren’t your only option. There are several bad credit lenders online, and there are other ways you can find a loan. You can check with your credit union, your bank, or you can turn to a buy here, pay here lot if your score is very low and your down payment isn’t big enough to make a difference. The best way to secure financing with lower rates and terms is to put down enough money to make the financed portion of your new car as small as possible. Shop for the best rates, but you’ll need to understand you won’t get a low rate with bad credit. This can affect what you buy and how much you pay for it.

South Carolina Dealer Laws

South Carolina law is strict regarding vehicle dealerships. All dealers are required to obtain specific licenses before they can operate within the state. This requires at least 8 hours of training, and it also requires potential dealers understand the ramifications of their choice not to abide by the laws. Each dealer is subject to specific fines and time in prison if they fail to operate using the correct licenses.

All dealers are required to treat all customers fairly regardless of their bad credit, and each one is required to learn how to tax, tag, title, and fee each customer who walks away with a new car. All dealers must have a certified mechanic on staff or on their payroll to inspect each car that comes through the door, and each one must have a title check performed. Without this information, it’s not possible for a dealer to get into business. Any car sold that becomes a lemon must be adequately dealt with, which is part of the reason all dealers and salespeople are required to undergo so much training to ensure they’re able to learn the state laws in place to protect both dealers and buyers.

Driving in South Carolina

What makes driving in South Carolina so important is the lack of public transportation. While it’s available to those who need it, it’s not always possible for families who live in this southern state to get in and out of their homes to work without a personal vehicle. Taxis, cabs, and buses aren’t always available unless you’re in a bigger city and unless you’re downtown.

The weather is moderate throughout the year, though it does become cold and there is a chance of snow in many of the northern areas and mountainous areas. Hurricanes and tropical storms always pose a threat to the coastal communities, and heavy rains are dangerous for low-lying communities in South Carolina. However, there are many major roads, smaller back rounds, and beautiful locations in which to commute when you’re in the state.

One thing to know is South Carolina is known as a Nascar state being in the heart of racing country, and it’s also low on the nation’s list of safe states in which to drive. It’s got more alcohol related fatalities per year than 48 other states. It’s also one of the states ranked at the bottom of the nation’s list of careless drivers. According to state-wide specifics, it’s the midland counties with the highest death toll. Driving along the coast is safer, but it’s always wise to drive safely in South Carolina, especially when you worked so hard to find bad credit financing.

Your bad credit score isn’t going to stop you from buying a new car in South Carolina. What it’s going to do is stop you from getting the best interest rate, getting the best new car, and from affording what you really want to afford. Learning to manage your finances and work on your credit is going to help you buy a new car with a better rate down the road, but a big down payment and a little persistence can pay off if you allow it.