So You Missed Your Car Payment…

It happens to the best of us. Sometimes the end of the month sneaks around, and you find yourself short when it’s time to pay bills. So what do you do if you really can’t afford this month’s car payment? It’s never a good thing to not be able to pay, as you always want to have your account in good standing, especially if there’s a chance your car could be repossessed. Here’s some ideas to turn to when you’re going to miss your car note payment.

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Let them know.

Sometimes, especially if you have a good history of paying on time, your loaner will accommodate you and move your due date back until you can get the money, within reason. Most of the time, they’ll at least appreciate a heads up that you’re struggling and are working on getting the payment in as soon as possible. This won’t always entirely save you, but it’s always better for them to at least know you’re making an effort, and this isn’t going to become a habit. If you’re really in fear of your car being repossessed. this is a good first step because there’s some chance they will be willing to hold off before making any decisions if you promise to have the payment in by a certain date. It can never hurt to at least ask for a little mercy if you’re certain you won’t be able to pay it this month.

person using laptop computer holding card


Consider using a credit card.

It’s never ideal to pay off debt by simply adding a new debt, but it’s better than losing your car, especially if you depend on it for your paycheck to pay the car note. A payday loan, though it will have high interest, may be another option. You’ll want to make sure you’ve exhausted all options for payment before you decide it’s impossible. Just be sure to weigh the options and ensure that it won’t cost you too much to be able to avoid the hassle of missing a car payment.

Pay as much as you can.

This is another concept that may not be a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free-Card, but it can help your image a lot. If they can see that you’re making an effort to pay as much as you can afford, they’ll be more willing to trust that the rest is coming. These key factors may not keep your credit from being damaged, but they can at least keep you from getting in trouble with your lender or losing your vehicle.

person standing in transportation vehicle

Refinance, sell, trade-in, or give up your car.


If you see yourself not being able to make payments in the foreseeable future, this may be the point to make the difficult decision to make a change in your vehicle situation.


This involves your lender reevaluating your interest rate, monthly payments, and more based on your good credit history. This will only work if you’ve been paying the full amount on time for a while now. This can help make your car note be a bit easier to make.

Sell or trade-in

It may be time to think about finding a cheaper option. By getting rid of the car you have now, you can find something cheaper, or maybe even save money for a bit by carpooling or taking public transit. This can allow you to ensure when it’s time to get a car again, you will be safe on your payments for quite some time.

Give up your car

This should probably be a last resort, but if you see no other options, giving up your car may be the way to go. Sometimes there’s just nothing that can be done financially, and you must accept it and learn how to do better in the future. Giving up your car may be your chance for a fresh start and time to get your finances in order.

person holding black Honda car steering wheel

While we can do all we can to avoid it, we may still find ourselves scrounging for extra money to make the car note, and still not make it. These steps can help make the process a little easier, but ultimately, it’s up to you to take responsibility and decide what option will be best for you and your financial future.


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