Car Lenders don’t have to wait a certain number of months to repossess your vehicle if you are behind. They don’t have to wait at all. Making a partial payment won’t legally ensure the repossession doesn’t happen either and neither will the fact that you are struggling financially.
Having said that, most car lenders will attempt to work with you if you are late on payments. They typically don’t just take the car the first day you are late.
If you are late and do not see an easy way to catch the car up, here are some options:
1. Ask for a “deferment”
Moving a payment or two to the back of the loan is the most common remedy.
2. Request that any late charges be waived
The unpaid late fees are enough to create a delinquency. It helps if you can prove that waiving these fees will help you bring the principal amounts current.
3. Request a loan modification
Extending the term and lowering the monthly amount may be just the ticket.
4. Refinance the loan
If the credit score is still good, a new loan may reduce the rate, the payment and possibly buy a month or so with no payment.
5. File for Bankruptcy
A bankruptcy may offer you the ability to retrieve an already repossessed car, protect the car via the bankruptcy code automatic stay, reduce the debt to the value of the car and/or reduce the interest rate.