My scores are so low due to a thin file and the COs causing my utilization to look high- my CCs are PIF or under 10% but when you add the outstanding $$ on the COs my utilization is higher than my CLs.
I have more than 20% to put down but I do not see that as enough to make up for the low scores,.
Thin files don't cause low scores. Really they don't.
However, you are right that the CO balances contribute to the utilization on your cc's.
Have you tried PFD's yet? Or are you just going to let them drop off?
A big down payment does help you. Talk with another CU. Before they pull your credit have the conversation so you don't end up with more pulls and more turndowns. Ask them straight out what percent of down payment works with scores in the X range.
I am doubtful on the PFDs- it is Cap One and FPB. As I have seen it on these boards- neither are wiling to entertain PFDs...
Honestly if they're going to drop off in a year, don't stress about paying them. Why do you want to "waste" money? Your score will probably go to the 700s as soon as the baddies drop off anyways and it doesn't seem like you DESPERATELY need the car...Just keep up with making sure you pay the CC's you do have on time!