Bankruptcy might actually be just what you need to give your credit score a little boost.
For starters, if you're thinking about bankruptcy, your score probably isn't so great to begin with. The only way to make it better is to get rid of all those late payments, and get rid of all that debt.
Bankruptcy does just that.
Make no mistake, your score will bottom out once you declare bankruptcy, and the bankruptcy will be on your credit score for the next decade.
The more time that passes, however, the less the bankruptcy matters, and your score can actually bounce back quite quickly. As often as not, it will be higher a year after declaring bankruptcy than it was beforehand.
There are several ways to help your score bounce back quickly. Check your credit report after declaring to make sure that there are no longer any delinquent bills being reported.
Apply for a credit card to rebuild your credit history. You will probably only be eligible for a secured card, which means you pay a certain amount in advance each month and can only charge that much. At the end of the month, you replenish your account with another advance payment.
It may take a year or two, but eventually you will be able to get actual credit. After that, it's up to you.
Use the card wisely and you'll be eligible for a car loan in no time. If you don't, that bankruptcy will remain a major part of your credit profile, no matter how much time passes.