Ask Drive Chicago Archive - September 2016

Q: i was curious to know if you would be able to answer this i am only getting 4100 a month from my union i dont have a car not because of repo or anything like that but i am going to a different railroad and i need to get a car not the greatest credit but where do recomend i go - jeff

Jen: Hi Jeff, buying anything requiring a loan can be a hassle if you have bad credit. However, it doesn’t have to be that way if you do a little homework first. I’d suggest you visit and request a free copy of your credit report. You are entitled to one free copy each year. There are likely a few things that you can correct or pay off to improve you credit score immediately. Once you feel that you’ve done all you can with your credit rating, visit a few banks to get an idea of what percentage loan rate you would be able to get for a new vehicle (you will be able to get a more favorable rate on a new vehicle than a used vehicle). Armed with this information, visit a new car dealer NOT a buy-here-pay here used car dealer. The new-car dealer has access to several different sources of credit, from banks to manufacturer-supported financing to self-financing. Be upfront about your situation and the new-car dealer will work with you and its credit sources to get you the best possible rate. There are more than 400 dealerships within our network, so you will definitely want to shop around to find the best deal. has a dealer locator where you can enter your zip code to generate a listing of local dealers, depending on which brand you are interested in: It’s cheaper to lease a vehicle now in the state of Illinois, so that may be an option you want to consider -- depending on your credit. Or, many dealers sell certified pre-owned vehicles –- another good option if you want to save. Additionally, we offer this handy auto loan calculator ( so you can determine what you can afford per month. Once you have that determined, you can click on the “Used Cars” or “New Cars” tab at the top of the site and search for cars that fit within that budget. I hope this was helpful; good luck with your search.