How to Give Up a Vehicle to a Car Finance Company

by Duncan Jenkins

If you are struggling to make vehicle payments on a financed car, your last option will be repossession--or, you can surrender the car willingly. This option may save you some money in fees and repossession costs. Giving up a financed car to a dealer is quite simple; but afterward you will be on the hook for the remaining balance left on the loan as well as any fees charged by the lender for auction expenses.

Make sure you can no longer afford the car payment. Surrendering a vehicle does not mean you will no longer be responsible for the loan -- it simply means you may owe less.

Contact your auto dealer and alert them that you can no longer make your car payments. Make sure to speak with either a finance manager or an account servicing representative.

Ask about your options and the process prior to surrendering the vehicle. You'll want to know what you're getting yourself into before you actually give up the vehicle. In some cases, it may cost less to hold the vehicle than to surrender it.

Clean the car and wash it. The vehicle will be sold at auction. The better the car looks, the higher it will sell for, and the less you'll end up still owing on the car loan. Make auto repairs if necessary.

Bring the car and any extra keys to the dealer. Surrender the car. You may need to sign additional paperwork authorizing the auction.

Contact the lender to get the result of the auction. You'll still need to pay the difference between the outstanding balance and the auction sale price--including any extra fees. You may also need to pay a higher interest rate because of the surrender.

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About the Author

Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.