Can I Purchase a Car While in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?


Technically, you’re not supposed to take on any new debt while you’re in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the one where you pay off a portion of your debts over three to five years. If you take on another debt during this time, it may reduce the amount of disposable income you have available to give the trustee to pay your other creditors.

Why the Trustee Might Agree

  • The court recognizes that three to five years is a long time to maintain a financial status quo, so you can ask for permission to buy a new car. If you have a perfectly good vehicle and you just want a new one, the bankruptcy trustee will probably object to the purchase. But if your vehicle is old and bordering on inoperable, and if you need it to get to work and produce income, the trustee may agree to the purchase.

Getting Court Approval

  • If you can find a lender to finance your purchase while you’re in bankruptcy, you can file a motion with the court, asking for permission to buy the car. If the court approves your request, the new car payment will then be included in your Chapter 13 repayment plan. You may also have to adjust your plan to accommodate this additional debt if your new car payment is more than the old one.


  • Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images
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