First, start with the car - I hope you mean by new car new to you and not brand new off the dealer's lot. You will not get out of this rut if you go out and buy a new car...look for a reliable used car that an independent mechanic has checked (this part is up to you). Next, you may see some improvement by using a consolidation loan (card utilization down, overall utilization stable). However, the new loan will be a drag on your score because it will drop your average length of credit (I am sure you know what happens when that zero hits your length of credit average). As for pre-approved, remember re-approved does not mean you are actually approved, it is just one person's opinion based on a limited amount of date...once they pull your credit report, you can still be declined for any of a number of reasons. In all honesty, if you have been pre-approved to consolidate, why not get approved for a used car loan - the car acts as collateral which will lower your interest rate, If you do go for the consolidation loan, how do you plan on paying for the car? Do you have cash (in which case, you don't need the loan) or are your going to go further into debt with a car loan. Note that the hard pull for the consolidation loan will show up on your credit report and the closer you do it to when you need the car loan, the more questions it will raise. The best thing you can do is put off buying the car as long as possible (even a few months), cut up your credit cards so you don't use them AT ALL (if you have to use them, you have bigger problems and you are going to need more drastic steps to get out of this hole), make as much in payments on the cards as you can (their are two way sto do this, start with he highest interest rate cards first, pay minimums on all but the highest interest and put as much as you can (set a minimum) towards the highest interest card - rinse repeat until that card is paid off and then switch all that payment (no short cuts, ALL that payment) to the next card so you are paying that card's minimum plus the payment on the first card - repeat until all cards are paid off - and DON'T use the cards or use the same philosophy but start with the smallest balance and work up. One saves money, the other fulfills a psychological need (satisfaction)).).