Does my driving record affect my ability to get a car loan?

When you’re applying for a car loan, lenders and insurers will be looking at a range of criteria to determine how risky you are with your loan and purchased vehicle. The vehicle is traditionally secured as collateral in the event you default on your payments.

Can you qualify for the car loan?

When you’re purchasing a vehicle, your driving record will not be used to determine your financial stability, your credit score will. It isn’t legal to deny an auto loan to an applicant based solely on their driving record.

Even DUI’s, something that can and should terminate your driver’s license, have no bearing on your financial standing with a lender.  

Other driving violations such as speeding or parking tickets will not disqualify you from the loan process either. After all, most drivers will find themselves with a minor traffic violation every now and then.

To qualify for the loan and get a decent interest rate, you’ll have to prove that you’re good at paying bills on time through a credit check, and a solid down payment will show the lender you've done some savings yourself.

Penalties that impact affordability

A good credit score can make your car loan rather affordable, surely.

So even though your driving record won’t automatically keep you from qualifying for a car loan, a poor driving record can drop a heavy burden on that debt.

Loan experts will tell you that having a bad driving record can negatively impact your ability to pay back the loan, and afford the total cost of owning the vehicle, because you insurance rate (which does rely on your driving record) will be expensive if you’re considered a risky driver.

According to, “Most people that purchase a car don’t just consider their monthly loan coast, but consider their cost of insuring the vehicle as well… Furthermore, if someone is buying a new vehicle, they will likely be shopping insurance rates.”

Having a bevy of driving violations on your licence, within a short time period especially, will hurt your insurance premium and drive up the monthly cost of that vehicle overall. Drivers with poor records can be kicked out of their regular insurance coverage, effectively forced into getting insurance from a high risk provider. Insurance for high risk drivers is typically expensive based on your proven driving risk.

To get a better insurance rate, drivers with poor records can try to clear up their driving record before applying for their auto loan and insurance in tandem. Traffic violations will bring less of a penalty than a DUI.

You can also seek the help of a criminal expunging lawyer.