Without a good credit score
, car buyers can't take advantage of low-interest-rate offers from car makers. Fair Isaac Corporation, which created the widely used FICO credit risk score, offers the following tips to improve your credit score. The most important action is to pay all your bills on time, even if money is tight, pay at least the minimum by credit-card due dates. The second-most important action is to keep credit card balances significantly lower than the limits. Also, don't get a new credit card or loan unless it's necessary; a 10 percent discount from a retailer isn't worth the credit-score damage of opening a store charge card. You can look for errors on your credit reports at the site freecreditscore.com. Since most lenders use the FICO credit score, check yours -- for a fee -- at myfico.com. Fair Isaac's final recommendation goes to those who don't think they can pay their bills: Contact your lenders and attempt to work out alternate payment plans.