The meeting of creditors, also called the 341(a) examination, cannot be scheduled any sooner than 20 days nor any later than 40 days after your case is filed. Most such meetings are scheduled between 35 and 40 days after the case is filed. Certain deadlines are scheduled based upon the date of the exam, the last of which expire 60 days after the exam, or roughly 95 to 100 days after the case is filed. At that point, the case is scheduled to be closed, and provided that you have obtained and filed the certificate issued after you complete the Personal Financial Management Course, your discharge should issue.
With regard to the car, among the documents you should have filed with the petition was the Statement of Intent Regarding Secured Consumer Debts. In it, you should have indicated what you intend to do with your car loan. The Bankruptcy Code gives you up to 45 days to carry out your intention. If you indicated your intention was to surrender the car or redeem it through Redemption 722 (or one of the other lending agencies offering that service), and you have not done either by the 45th day, the automatic stay that keeps the lender from repossessing the vehicle will terminate automatically, and the lender is at that point free to pick up the car. Since that will fall between 6 and 7 weeks after the date you filed your petition, if not keeping the car, you should make alternate transportation arrangements by that date. Also, be cautious about leaving personal property in the vehicle, as repo men and repo yards are notorious for being unable to account for what happened to your valuables after the car is repossessed.
You will be eligible to receive your discharge 60 days after your 341 is concluded. In many states, your discharge won't come through that quickly though unless you bug the clerk to get it. Of course, you will also have to have filed your FMC certificate in order to get your discharge. Some car lenders may file a Motion to Lift stay to have the right to repo the vehicle before your discharge comes through, so do your best to keep up the payments until the discharge arrives. Hope this perspective helps!
Your discharge date will be shortly after the date shown on your meeting of creditors notice as the "last date for objections". That will typically be about 60 days after your meeting of creditors (which is usually about 30 days after filing). The lender can come get the car anytime after they have gotten relief from stay or the automatic stay has otherwise been lifted (expired or you have received your discharge).
What does a discharge have to do with getting a car?
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here. Please visit my web site: www.avanesianlaw.com for more information about my services.
From filing to discarge takes about 6 months depending on your judge and trustee. Give or take a month. You can keep your car for the pendency of the bankruptcy unless your lender does a motion for relief from stay. After the BK you should be able to get financing for a new car. Be careful of the new interest rate.
I agree with William and Dorothy above. Sometimes you have to stay on top of things to get responded to in a timely manner. This is true especially true in Bankruptcy proceedings. Staying on top of payments until discharge is equally important.