Buying a car is a rite of passage for all adults in the United States. With a vehicle of your own, the world opens up to you: you’re no longer forced to rely on friends, family members, or public transportation to get from Point A to Point B, greatly expanding your personal freedom. However, a car of your own — whether it’s a certified pre owned vehicle or a newly purchased Ford — costs money; unless you have a few thousand dollars on hand, you’re going to need to take out a loan. To avoid losing money on an already costly venture, follow these three tips.
- Know your credit score first. Car loans vary from other loans in that they can easily be approved, even if you have poor credit. This is because it banks can repossess a vehicle with little effort. In order to ensure you’re getting the best deal, take the time to find out your credit score and understand what it means in terms of car loans; that way, you’ll be able to shop around before heading to the dealer.
- Get financing quotes ahead of time. Vehicle buyers are estimated to spend 59% of their time researching online, and that includes finance options. If you have excellent credit, the dealership will most likely offer the best financing rates; if your credit score is in rough shape, consider online vendors. You don’t have to accept their offers, but they may give you a rough idea of what to expect. If your credit is average, banks and credit unions offer the most competitive rates.
- Keep the term as short as possible. Many savvy car salesmen will pitch the cheapest monthly payment plan to new car buyers because it means they’ll end up paying more in interest. Though you’ll be making higher monthly payments with a short-term loan, you’ll have paid less by the time the loan is paid off. Think about the end result before agreeing to a loan, and keep the term as short as you can afford.
There are a number of finance options available for car buyers, whether they’re interested in certified used cars or brand-spankin’-new Ford trucks. Because finance options can be tricky to navigate, we hope that the above tips will help guide your purchasing experience in a way that saves you money in the long run.