A Complete Guide on How to Get a Cosigner off a Car Loan

Assuming the role of a cosigner for a loan involves undertaking shared financial responsibility with the primary borrower. If the borrower fails to meet their payment obligations, they are responsible for covering the remaining balance. 

Given the magnitude of this commitment, it’s perfectly reasonable if they wish to relinquish their status as a cosigner on a car loan. Luckily, there are 4 methods to get a cosigner off a car loan. 

Read this article to uncover the process. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • The process to relieve a cosigner from a car loan involves four main methods: refinancing the loan, executing a cosigner release, enhancing the primary borrower’s credit rating, or settling the debt entirely or selling the vehicle.
  • Refinancing entails restructuring the loan under potentially improved conditions requiring proper documentation and a comparative evaluation of different financial institutions’ offers.
  • A cosigner release demands an official request to the lender and substantiation of the primary borrower’s financial capability.
  • Elevating the primary borrower’s credit score can persuade the lender to remove the cosigner.
  • A direct debt payment or vehicle sale can solve the situation, with a cautionary note to check the loan agreement for any clauses restricting early payoff. 

How To Get a Cosigner Off a Car Loan

Getting a cosigner off a car loan can be lengthy and costly. However, it is much better than assuming financial responsibility for a vehicle that is not theirs. The 4 main methods for removing a cosigner from a car loan include: 

  1. Car loan financing
  2. Cosigner release
  3. Improving the primary borrower’s credit rating
  4. Paying the debt/ selling the car

Car Loan Refinancing

Refinancing a car loan means opening a new loan with new paperwork, replacing the existing car loan. With new and better terms, you should continue paying off your car loan without your cosigner.

The requirements for car loan refinancing generally include: 


  • Valid Driver’s License 
  • Provincial Registration 
  • Personal Identification 
  • Vehicle Information 
  • Current Insurance
???? Note: 

The interest rates among Canadian lenders for car loans and their requirements can vary.  Inquiring ahead of time is recommended to prepare the necessary paperwork and finances, increasing approval chances. 

Here are the general steps on how to get a car loan refinanced:

  1. Pre-Qualification: Apply to see if you pre-qualify. Capital One will perform a soft pull that doesn’t harm your credit score.
  2. Official Credit Application: Choose an offer and complete your credit application. Capital One will perform a hard inquiry on your credit report, impacting your credit score.
  3. Finalize: E-Sign the contract, and supply supporting documents if needed. 
✅ Pro Tip: 

The terms and conditions of financial institutions on car loans can vary. It’s best to shop around to find the best offer. Check out our article on lenders that offer competitive car loan rates in Canada.

Cosigner Release

A cosigner release means formally asking the lender to release your cosign. Lenders aren’t obliged to remove a cosigner, so you have to take the initiative and request a cosigner release, and they will decide if they will grant it. 

Before someone agrees to cosign a car loan, they should see a cosigner release clause option in the lease papers. If unsure, double-check the contract since some car loans don’t include such a policy. 

People say this is the best option to get a cosigner off a car loan. Here are its requirements:

  • Primary borrower’s proof of ability to pay. As a primary borrower, provide enough evidence that you can pay off the car loan without the cosigner. The general requirement for this is a history of no late payments. 
  • Application form. You must complete a cosigner release application form provided by the lender.

Improve Primary Borrower’s Credit Rating

If the car loan has yet to be paid in full, you can ask the lender to remove your cosigner, provided that you can prove to them that you, as the primary borrower, can handle the loan by yourself.

There are a lot of ways to improve your credit rating, including:

  • Checking your credit report and dispute negative and incorrect marks.
  • Utilizing your debt by keeping your balances low.
  • Setting up automatic bill payments to keep forgetting to pay on time.
???? Note: 

There are financial institutions in Canada offering car loans without doing a credit check. However, their rates might be higher than others as they calculate the risks.

Pay the Debt/Sell the Car

If you have the means to do so, you can pay off the debt to quickly remove a cosigner from a car loan. The cosigner can do this as well. Without the money, you can sell the car to pay off the original loan. 

✅ Pro Tip: 

Remember to read your auto loan agreement, as some have restrictions on an early payoff.


Having a cosigner can fast-track your way to getting approved for a car loan when you’re still building your credit. However, when the time comes that you want to relieve the financial responsibility of a cosigner, the above methods to remove them should work.

FAQ on Getting a Cosigner Off a Car Loan

Can a cosigner remove the primary borrower?

No, the primary borrower can remove a cosigner from an auto loan, but the cosigner cannot remove the primary borrower. Cosigners have no legal rights or ownership over the car other than the primary borrower. They are only financially responsible for paying the loan, especially when the primary borrower defaults on it.

What happens if a cosigner dies?

A cosigner’s death means the primary borrower must pay off the loan alone. If you face financial hardship, you can change the loan terms, like adjusting the monthly payment amount. Sometimes, loan agreements require you to notify the lender of your cosigner’s death. Give them evidence, like a death certificate, and you will be given a cosigner release form.

Does cosigning count as debt?

Yes, cosigning means you are responsible for paying a borrower’s debt. The car loan will appear not only on the borrower’s credit report but also yours. Cosigning also increases your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), the metric that shows how much debt you have compared to your monthly gross income, which lenders look at when you apply.

Cameelle Suarez
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