Many people are under the misconception that you can't qualify for a car loan after you file for bankruptcy because you don't have good credit. In many cases, the opposite is true. Some people file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy and are able to buy a car within the same month because their credit actually improved after their debts had been cleared or renegotiated.
How is this possible? Filing for bankruptcy signals two things to creditors. First, it tells them that you've taken significant action to stop racking up debt that you cannot pay. Second, it tells creditors that your debts have been cleared (Chapter 7) or they're being paid down via an affordable payment plan (Chapter 13). Either way, you more than likely have access to more disposable income than you did prior to filing for bankruptcy, which can make you an attractive candidate for a car loan.
Sure, you can expect higher interest rates than people with higher credit scores and without bankruptcy on their records, but it's not impossible to get an auto loan soon after you file for bankruptcy. Typical APRs for post-bankruptcy auto loans are in the double digits, sometimes as high as 20% or more. However, after making regular payments for six to 24 months, this rate can drop dramatically and improve your credit rating along the way. You can also look into refinancing your loan if your original lender isn't decreasing your rate over time as much as you'd like.
If you can, make a big down payment on the car (20-30%) and choose a loan that doesn't have a prepayment penalty in case you decide to pay the car off early or refinance for a better rate down the line. If you need help reorganizing or eliminating your debt, contact a qualified bankruptcy lawyer.
TIPS ON BUILDING CREDIT AFTER BANKRUPTCY: