Buying a new car is a big decision. As excited as you may be about driving off the lot, you don’t want to rush through the negotiation process. Doing so could result in a less than desirable deal, which costs you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
Knowing how to secure the lowest possible rate on a new car loan is critical to feeling good about your transaction. Here are just a few of the many things you can do:
- Shop on your own: It’s easy to rely solely on the guidance of your dealership, but doing so puts you in a bad spot. There’s no way of knowing for sure if they have your best interest in mind. For example, they may increase your rate with the goal of making money on the back end of the deal.
- Ask the dealership for assistance: Just as you should shop on your own, you should also see what the dealership’s finance department can do for you. You may be surprised to realize that they can score you a lower rate than you could find on your own. It doesn’t always work out, but it’s definitely worth asking.
- Improve your credit score: There are many ways to improve your credit score, from paying down debt to catching up on any past due accounts. If you know you’ll be shopping for a new car in the future, use the weeks and months leading up to it wisely. Even if you only boost your score by 10 or 20 points, it could have a big impact on the rate that you receive.
- Make a larger down payment: Think about it this way. The larger the down payment, the less risk your lender is taking. When they take less of a risk, they can provide a lower interest rate. And of course, a larger down payment also means a smaller monthly payment. It’s a win across the board (as long as you have the money to spare).
When you do one or more of these things, you can confidently search for a new car loan. As you move through the process, do so with the goal of securing the most competitive rate for someone in your shoes.
What steps do you take when shopping for a new car loan? Would you add any steps to the list above?