How many credit inquiries are too many?

I’ve been working hard at repairing my credit for a while. Looking at what I can for free I have 2 “Hard inquiries”.

I was happy to not apply for anything for another year but my car is giving up the ghost. If I go to Carmax just to find out what they’ll give me for my jalopy will that count as a check and end up affecting me negatively?

My goal is to figure out how much of a cash down payment I’d need in addition to my trade in to end up with a used car and a payment I can comfortably afford.

I don’t anticipate needing to apply for any other credit this year.

Trade-in value can be estimated without a credit check, but you might want to check with CarMax to see if they’re doing more than that when you submit information.

As for the number of accesses that will affect your score… ultimately, it’s all up to the algorithm used by the scoring agencies and they do not disclose that in detail. I have been told that 2 credit checks in 90 days will not hurt you. Also, not everything is determined by credit score. Some lenders look for a pattern in checks - if it looks like you’re shopping around because everyone is rejecting you, then they can use their own discretion to interpret that.

Even one counts against you. Your score will be lower with one that with zero.

They take two years to disappear. They only affect your score for one year. If you have one every 11 months, then there is always at least one hurting your score. If you have one every 18 months, then there is one hurting your score 2/3rds of the time and not the other 1/3.
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