Auto Repossession

Your Credit and Your Next Vehicle 

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What is a Repossession?

When you take out an auto loan, you do not truly own the vehicle until the loan is paid off. Until you have met the terms of your purchase agreement, the lender continues to have a vested interest in your vehicle. If you fail to meet the terms of your loan or voluntarily forfeit your vehicle the lender will perform a repossession. This simply means that the lender retaking ownership of the vehicle. Repossession is often the result of default or non-payment but can occur for other reasons. 


When Does a Car Become Repossessed? 


When your vehicle is subject to repossession is dependent on the specific agreement you made with the lender and or dealership. In some instances, lenders may attempt repossession immediately after a missed payment, while others allow for more grace and alternative routes.

In Ohio for example, the average number of days before a car gets repossessed after default payments is around 70. This is, however simply a statistical average and does not reflect Ohio law.

What Happens After Repossession?​

if you are unable to avoid repossession and your vehicle is forfeited back to the lender, this is not necessarily the end of your financial obligations. Most often the lender will sell your vehicle at an auction in an attempt to recoup the balance of the loan. If the auction price is less than what you owe you will likely be liable for the difference as well as any fees associated with repossession.

How Long is a Repo on My Credit?

According to the TransUnion Credit Report User Guide, a repossession will show up on your credit history report under “Manner of Payment” either as a code 08 for repossession or a code 08a for a voluntary repossession.


Repossession will undoubtedly leave a serious blemish on your credit history but the extent of the change will largely depend on your credit score before the repo. A great credit score could see a significant drop, while a poor score may not drop so drastically in number. Payment History accounts for 35% of your FICO score. However, regardless of your score after a repossession, the negative report itself will affect your buying power. Learn How to get your free credit score here.


A repossession will stay on your credit report for seven (7) years.

How to Get an Auto Loan after Repossession

The short answer is yes, you can obtain an auto loan after repossession. Depending on how long ago it was reported to the credit bureaus, you may qualify for credit amnesty and forgiveness programs through traditional lenders. If your repo was very recent or you have poor credit you may be charged higher rates due to the increased risk associated with your credit.


Alternatively, one can turn to Buy-here pay-here lots. These dealerships have in-house financing and can help people who do not qualify for traditional bank loans. A buy-here-pay-here could be a good option for building credit if they report your payments to the bureau, Otherwise, some dealers will approve you with no credit check, however, your on-time payments will not contribute to building your credit. This can be a good option for people who do not want to deal with credit checks or banks. 

Best Places to Pre-Qualify Online:

  1. Auto Credit Express

  2. SuperMoney

  3. Buckeye Finance

  4. Carvana

  5. With Your Personal Bank or Credit Union

Can I Get a Repossessed Car Back?

Should you pay off a repossession?

If you are able to pay off the remainder of the loan in full along with any associated repossession costs you may be able to reobtain your vehicle. Alternatively, your dealer may reinstate the loan and offer some type of payment plan to cover missed payments and repossession costs. 

Can I Buy My Car Back?

If your car is being sold by the lender at auction you may be able to attend and bid on the vehicle yourself, allowing you to acquire it with no additional cost. However,m you will still be liable for any balance owed to the lender

Even if you are able to get possession of your vehicle back the repossession itself will still have harsh effects on your credit score and future lending opportunities. 

How Will My Car Be Repossessed?

In most states including Ohio, car lenders can seize your vehicle without prior notice if you're in default. However, a lender or their representatives do not have the right to threaten, use force, or otherwise "breach the peace." After your loan is in default repossessions can happen at any time, whether at the grocery store or out of your own driveway.


a collection company or some other representative will send someone to take possession of your vehicle. Some dealers, particularly buy-here-pay-here dealers keep spare keys to their loaned vehicles as well as utilize GPS tracking. A repossession is a lawful process and you should not interfere with or otherwise delay or obstruct the repossession of your vehicle. If you believe your repossession was unlawful or performed improperly it is important to contact the police rather than attempt to stop or interfere with a repossession. 


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Auto Loans After Repossesion  - Ohio Car Loan

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