Sometimes life throws us curveballs. You made a big financial gaffe – you bought a fancy car when you were making lots of money, but six months ago you lost your job and are now way behind on your car loan payments. A relative offers to cover your car payments while you catch up. Or perhaps you have a friend with really terrible credit but good income and a car sitting in your driveway just waiting to get some more use. You want to let him cover the costs of your car payments in exchange for letting him drive the car. In all of these cases, you might start to wonder:

Can someone take over my car loan?

The short answer that you are not going to like: Um, probably not.

Edmunds.com Sr. Consumer Advice Editor Philip Reed told Credit.com, that “… in most cases, care loans are not assumable. When the registration and title are transferred to a new owner, the lender needs to be notified. The lender will then require a credit check to make sure the new owner can make the payments. This leads to the initiation of a new loan at the new owner’s credit level.”

Some banks will be able to work with the old and new owners to figure something out. In the latter case, the new payer of the car payments would still need to go through all of the hoops as if they were getting the car loan in their own name from the outset. And there might be a tax consequence as well.

What are my alternatives?

Typically, the easiest way to ease the monthly financial pain is to reduce your car payment. Many people don’t realize that refinancing your car loan is an option. But there are new online tools from Standard Auto Financing that can provide you with loan options in about 5 minutes.

You can lower your payment with a reduced interest rate or stretching payments out over 4, 5, or 6 year notes. In some cases, you can take cash out depending upon your equity position.

A second option is to shop auto insurance. Auto insurance companies are constantly seeking new customers and at any given time, will have special programs and offers for a typical consumer. Like refinancing, there are review sites that will provide you with multiple options – review your auto insurance savings here.

Can’t You Just Ignore the Bank and Go Rogue?

You could just form a gentlemen’s (or gentlewoman’s) agreement with someone and let them drive the car if they’ll agree to regularly pay you and you’ll continue to make the payments on the vehicle with their money. But what happens if they don’t pay up?

I have personally tested this theory and it didn’t end well. A friend took over payments on my truck and about 5 months later, I was contacted by the auto loan company about not receiving payments. It had ruined my credit as my friend was several months behind on payments. It was a terrible strain on our friendship, and it took me several years for my credit to recover.