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With the big role vehicles play in most people’s lives, finding the right car can be critical. This isn’t always easy. And, just as finding the right car can be challenging, so too can paying for it.

Many turn to loans to help fund an auto purchase. Recent statistics point to the average size, length and amount of interest paid on such loans having gone up in the U.S. in recent years.

What debt a person takes out when buying a car can have big impacts for him or her in the future. High amounts of auto debt and interest are among the things that can put significant strain on a person’s finances.

So, people may wonder what they can do, when purchasing a car, to try to reduce the amount of auto debt they end up taking out. This can be an especially important thing to think about in today’s environment, given the recent trends of financing for vehicles generally getting more expensive.

A recent CNBC article noted some of the steps consumers can take towards keeping debt down when it comes to vehicle purchases. These include:

  • Keeping an eye on whether there are any special financing deals for the car(s) you are looking at
  • Strengthening your bargaining position by getting preapproved for financing prior to going to the dealership
  • Checking the prices at multiple dealerships to try to secure the best deal
  • Giving careful thought to what you need and don’t need in a vehicle
  • Being mindful of loan length, as longer loans can mean increased overall costs
  • Looking into your used car options, as these can be cheaper

Now, sometimes, despite a person’s best efforts to keep his or her debt level down and his or her financial situation stable, unexpected circumstances happen that lead to struggles with paying back loans. When this happens with auto debt, there are many things a person could be facing, including potential loss of his or her vehicle.

When individuals that are dealing with debt problems fear that they could be facing such a loss, it can be important to reach out for guidance what steps they could take to try to maintain ownership of their vehicle. In some circumstances, going through the bankruptcy process can help a person keep his or her car in the face of struggles with auto debt.