If you're in the market for a different car, whether it will be brand new or slightly used, it's probably very important to you to get the best rates you possibly can on an auto loan. There are a lot of sources you can go to in order to get a loan, but some of them may not offer you very good rates. Here are a few tips on how to get the best auto loan rates.
Do Your Research
No one is going to walk in off the street and offer you a loan, especially if you expect good interest rates. You're going to have to make the effort to try and find a lender that will give you the best rate. Due to the nature of buying a car, which will invariably involve negotiating a good price, you will want to be prepared when you walk into the dealership. That means doing some research to find the best rate you can on a loan.
Ask Your Friends and Neighbors
A good way to find a lender that will provide you with good interest rates is to ask your friends and neighbors who they got their loans from. If the same bank or credit union keeps popping up in their answers, you will know that institution might be a good place to start looking for a loan.
Check Out a Few Banks and Credit Unions
Once you've narrowed down a list of banks and credit unions that will potentially provide good rates, you should schedule an interview with their loan officers. If you have a good credit score, they will more than likely be happy to talk to you about a loan. Having a good credit rating is extremely important if you hope to get good rates.
Manufacturer's Credit Bureaus May be the Place to Go
You may be able to get a loan through a name brand manufacturer, such as Ford Motor Credit or GMAC. These lenders frequently provide extremely good interest rates to their customers.
After you talk to a few different lenders, and have an idea of how high your interest rates are going to be at each place, it's time to sit down and compare their offers. Pay attention to the details of each offer. Make sure they're comparable and that you're not comparing dissimilar rates. For instance, one lender's rates may seem good because they offer 2.8%, while another is going to charge 3.5%. But if the lower interest rate is for a longer period of time, you could end up paying far more than a shorter term loan would cost.
Arrange Financing in Advance
If you go to a dealership with a preapproved loan, you will probably be able to work out a better price for car. Arranging financing in advance will not only mean you get the car at a cheaper price, but the amount you will pay in interest will be less--because you won't need to borrow as much money.
Let the Dealer Make the First Offer
When shopping for a car, it's a good idea to wait for the dealer to make the first offer. If you go first, you may be offering them more than they would be willing to settle for. Patience is essential when negotiating an auto loan. Find out what they're asking, then respond with an offer of your own--but be realistic. No dealer is going to sell you a $50,000 car for $10,000.
Make a Down Payment
If a dealer offers you a no money down deal, just say no. It would be to your advantage to put down as much money as you can afford to. This has a two-pronged affect; it will not only reduce the amount of money you'll have to borrow, but it will lower the overall amount of interest you'll ultimately have to pay.
Stick With a Short Term Loan
The fewer months you borrow money for, the less you'll be paying in interest. Short term loans may require a more substantial down payment, but you'll end up paying far less for a car if you take out a 36-month loan as opposed to a 72-month loan. The reason is that for the first few years of a long term loan, the majority of your payment will simply be going towards interest.
Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes for AutoInsuranceQuotes.org.