Car Loan Resources
for the Coronavirus Pandemic

Updated May 25, 2020. This page will be updated regularly, so check in often for new information.

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Car loan resources

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic triggers layoffs, Americans are scrambling to figure out what it means for their household bills, including their car loans. Many lenders have stepped in, offering deferred payments, lease extensions and waived fees. It may even be possible to buy a car at a discount or have your existing car repaired.

What to do if you can’t pay your car loan during the coronavirus pandemic

Don’t panic — there are several options if you’re having trouble making ends meet.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends talking to your auto lender as soon as possible if you’re having trouble paying your auto loan or you think you may have trouble. Here is a list of popular auto lenders and their contact information. Keep in mind there could be significant wait times — messaging online or through an app may be faster and more convenient.

Even if your lender is offering COVID-19 relief— or agrees to your request for help — you may need to supply proof that you’ve been affected, such as unemployment insurance documentation or possibly medical bills.

Defer a car payment

Also called a car payment extension, a car payment deferral is when a lender allows you to push payments back until a later date. Note that you’re not actually skipping payments when you defer — you will still have to make those payments, just at a later date, and interest will continue to accrue. Deferring a car payment will not affect your credit score although it will be noted in your credit history, according to Experian.

Change your car payment due date

If you haven’t missed payments yet and you don’t think that things are so bad you need to defer a car payment for a couple of months, you could ask to change your car payment due date. Doing so could give you more time to comfortably come up with the money to make the car payment.

Request a penalty fee waiver

Ask your lender to waive late fees and other penalties for late or missed payments in this time. Some lenders are waiving late fees automatically.

Make a payment plan

A payment plan is typically for when you’ve already missed your scheduled payments. It’s a new payment calendar that aims to help you catch up and repay your missed payments in manageable portions while you make the current payments that are due on time.

Auto Loan Relief by Lender

Auto Lender Contact # Business Hours Relief Programs
Acura Financial Services See website for local number Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. local time Payment deferrals, lease extensions as well as late fee waivers are available.
Ally Auto 888-925-2559 Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-7p.m. ET Deferred payment up to 120 days with no late fees, including Mitsubishi customers.
Bank of America 800-215-6195 Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. ET Customers may request payment deferrals here.
BMW Financial Services 800-578-5000 Mon-Thurs, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. ET; Fri, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. ET No specific programs here — call for more details.
Capital One 800-946-0332 Mon-Fri, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. ET No specific programs here — call for more details.
Chase 800-336-6675 Loan and lease extensions available.
Chrysler Capital 855-563-5635 Mon-Fri, 7 a.m.-9 p.m; Sat, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. CT Purchase customers may request a payment extension. Lease customers may request a deferral or extension.
Citizens One 800-708-6682 Mon-Thurs, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri, 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Repossessions suspended; 90-day deferrals and late fee waivers may be available.
Ford Motor Credit 800-727-7000 Mon-Fri, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Call to request a payment due date change or delay a payment.
GM Financial 800-284-2271 Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. CT; Sat, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. CT Late fees automatically waived for payments due Mar 1-May 31.
Honda Financial Services See website for local number Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., local time Late fee waivers, payment extensions and deferrals available.
Hyundai Financial Services 800-523-4030 Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. ET Up to 30 days of deferred payments for current owners.
Kia Financial Services 866-331-5632 Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. ET Kia owners may request 30-day extensions up to 3 times.
Lexus Financial Services 800-874-7050 Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. local time No specific programs — log into your account or call for more details.
Mini Financial Services 866-275-6464 Mon-Thurs, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. ET No specific programs here — call for more details.
Nissan Motor Acceptance Company 800-456-6622 Mon-Fri, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. CST; Sat, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. CST Payment deferrals may be possible and late fees are automatically waived through May 31.
Santander 888-222-4227 Mon-Fri, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat, 7 a.m. -5 p.m. CT No specific programs here — call for more details.
Toyota Financial Services 800-874-8822 Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. local time Payment extensions may be available. Log in to your account or call for details.
Wells Fargo 800-559-3557 Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. local time Repossessions suspended; fee waiver and payment deferrals on a case-by-case basis.

What to do if you’re facing repossession

If none of the above tactics work and you’re facing repossession, it’s still a good idea to talk to your lender. Repossessing vehicles is actually an expensive process for lenders and often they’d rather help you get back on track. You can read more here about car repossession.

You could also reach out to a nonprofit credit counseling agency for advice and help. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) offers free and discounted financial advice.

Buying a car during COVID-19

Maybe you were car shopping before the crisis or perhaps you suddenly find yourself without transportation. If you’re wondering whether to wait or buy, the two biggest considerations may be the question of stable income for the length of an auto loan and if it’s even possible to get the car you want amid dealer shutdowns. Some automakers are offering heavy discounts and online buying to convince you the right answer is to buy now despite the possible uncertainty.

Dealership delivery, online car buying

If dealers are open in your area, call and ask them to bring a couple of cars you’re interested in to your house, along with the paperwork. This way, you could buy a car without going to the dealer but with the full experience of test driving.

CarMax is offering solo test drives without a salesperson and home deliveries. Tesla is offering “touchless delivery,” so you don’t have to get within six feet of another person during the car-buying process.

It’s also possible to buy a car completely online through companies such as Carvana.

New-car incentives

If you’re looking for a current or even a previous year’s model, watch for special incentives from automakers. Keep in mind that you’ll typically need strong credit to qualify for these 0% APR financing deals, and you must finance through the manufacturer’s lending arm. These deals are limited to the select models that the manufacturer chooses and can vary by location. Financing deals can sometimes be combined with cash rebates though some rebates are specifically for first responders and health care workers. Expiration dates also vary, so check manufacturer websites for the most up-to-date information.

Beware of 84-month auto loans. Since low car payments may be a priority, 84-month auto loans could be especially tempting right now and lenders may be offering them more often. However, be aware that a seven-year car loan has a lot of downsides and may not be right for you.

What to do if your lease is ending during the coronavirus pandemic

About 1.8 million car leases will end by July 2020, according to J.D. Power. If yours is one of them, here’s what you could do.
  • Purchase or lease a new vehicle

    Automakers are offering some great deals on car leases, purchases and financing right now. Turning in your lease and getting a new car may be a good solution.

  • Extend your lease

    If you are unable to return your vehicle or choose not to, you may be able to extend your car lease by a certain number of months. Some automakers, such as GM, may extend your lease by one month automatically. Other manufacturers may require that you contact them.

  • Turn in your vehicle

    Contact your local dealer to see if they are open to accept lease returns.

Car repairs during the coronavirus pandemic

While car sales are not considered an “essential business” during many mandated shutdowns or may be limited, car repair businesses are essential services that should be operating under somewhat normal conditions. Some businesses will even make house calls to repair your car, such as Your Mechanic while dealerships may pick up your car for service.

Coronavirus car scams

A decline in dealership business may lead to questionable dealership practices in the form of so-called “auto stimulus checks.” Such marketing materials should not be confused with the actual rebates Congress approved in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The Federal Trade Commission recommends not responding to texts and emails about checks from the government. You can get reliable information about the coronavirus pandemic — including scams — and the government’s response to it here.