If you're like the average American, chances are you buy a new car every five years or so. Most people need an auto loan when they buy a new vehicle, whether it's a car, truck, SUV or van and since the interest on auto loans can add up over time--especially on a five or seven year loan!--it's important to try and get the lowest rate possible on your car loan. So find a low rate car loan by…
1. Getting your loan before you shop!
If you wait until you get to the car lot to think about financing, the dealer will try and push "dealer financing" on you. That's because his financing usually comes with extra "padding" to make you pay more--and to boost his bottom line. The interest rate on dealer financing is often 3% higher than financing from a bank, credit union and or online loan company. So get a loan before you shop for a car. Another bonus: you'll have more negotiating power for the price of the car since the dealer knows you're a financially stable customer.
2. Knowing the current rates!
You'll never know if you're getting a good deal unless you know the going rates for car loans! Search the web, call around to local banks and ask friends or family what the current interest rates are for car loans. Be sure to compare apples to apples by considering things like loan term, since longer term loans often have lower rates. Your credit history will have an effect on your rate, too.
3. Comparison shopping!
Get quotes from as many lenders as possible. Check with your current bank, credit unions, online lending services and other loan companies. Get at least 3 or 4 different loan quotes so you can compare rates, terms and fees. Let them know you're shopping around and that you've received better offers. It's possible they'll lower your rate or drop your fees to get your business.
You may also want to consider an online lending service that allows you to compare rates between multiple banks and loan companies at one time, since they're a convenient way to shop around without getting multiple hits on your credit report.