How to remove a co-signer from a car loan

Tara Baukus MelloQuestionDear Driving for Dollars,
My husband and I have bad credit scores so we needed a co-signer to get a loan for our car. Now, the co-signer wants her name cleared but our lender says we can't refinance the car unless we put down $5,000 because of our credit. Is there another alternative?
-- Nadine

AnswerDear Nadine,
Generally speaking, the only way to get a co-signer removed from a car loan is to refinance the loan. That said, there are indications recently that lenders have begun loosening their credit requirements a bit, so while your credit score may have required you to find a co-signer or make a larger down payment in the past, it may not now.

Start by reaching out to other lenders to see if they'll refinance your auto loan on your credit alone. To see current rates and lenders, check out's auto refinance tool. If they won't, you might see if a lender will agree to remove the co-signer after you've made a certain number of on-time payments but before you've paid off the loan.

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Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories. If you have a car question, e-mail it to us at Driving for Dollars.

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