Dear Driving for Dollars,
I couldn’t pay my car loan in full because I was laid off. I let the bank know and made regular payments of $200 instead of the full $329. After three months, it repossessed my car. Should I claim bankruptcy?
— Mindy

Dear Mindy,
It’s best to view bankruptcy only as a last resort. It costs money to file, it stays on your credit report for up to 10 years, and depending on the type of bankruptcy you qualify for, your assets and your overall financial situation, you may or may not get some or all the debt from your car loan dismissed. During the time the bankruptcy is on your record, it will be unlikely you’ll qualify for a mortgage loan or refinance. It will be very difficult to get a smaller loan, such as a car loan, and get approved for credit. If you do, it will be at a high interest rate. Talk to a credit counselor to get some advice about your financial situation and to see if bankruptcy is the best alternative for you.

Bankrate’s content, including the guidance of its advice-and-expert columns and this Web site, is intended only to assist you with financial decisions. The content is broad in scope and does not consider your personal financial situation. Bankrate recommends that you seek the advice of advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances before making any final decisions or implementing any financial strategy. Please remember that your use of this Web site is governed by Bankrate’s Terms of Use.

If you have a car question, e-mail it to us at Driving for Dollars.

More From Bankrate