February 15, 2019

You’ve done your homework, you’ve shopped around, and you’ve arrived at the price you’re willing to pay for a new car. Congratulations, you’ve won the first half the battle.

That’s right, just half of it. In order to get the best deal on a car loan, here are several tips that can get you do to prepare yourself for dealing with loan officers and gaining as much knowledge as you can on the process.

Know your credit history

The loan officer you deal with will pull your credit history; wouldn’t it be better if you knew all they’ll know going into that  meeting?

Know your lender

The Better Business Bureau is a great place to start, and if your perspective lender has been flagged, right down the citations and either find another prospect or ask the lender about the issues.

Shop the loan, then shop the car

Start the pre-loan process with them before you ever step foot on a dealership’s property. Try Car Loans Now, where we specialize in shopping the best rates. Getting prequalified gives you the power over the dealership on exactly how much you can spend.

Time is of the Essence

Every time you apply for a loan, your credit score will go down. But if you apply for several within a two-week period, it only counts as one application. Get all your paperwork lined up so you don’t take multiple hits on your credit score.

Focus on the Sum, not the Parts

Knowing how much you can afford to pay per month on a car loan should be private information. If you tell the lender your target, they can hit it without losing money by extending the length of the loan, which will cause your vehicle to depreciate more while you keep paying the same amount for it.

Is it the best deal?

Most lenders aren’t going to lead with their best rate. At Car Loans Now, we do the dirty work to feel out the entire market and give you a range of where every interest rate should be. You can take this information to the lender and see if they can match it or not.

Avoid the ‘c’ word

Conditional is a dangerous word in loans, because it means that things can change without you having a say in the matter. If that word appears in the terms of your loan, don’t agree to it.

Bring a calculator

Assuming that the lender’s math is going to be spot on be problematic. You should keep your own calculations and make sure the loan adds up. If not, something’s wrong and you need to figure it out before you sign.

Read the fine print

Never, ever sign a document that you haven’t read from cover to cover. Your signature makes you liable for whatever it says, including things like variable interest rates, late or prepayment penalties, and mandatory binding clauses

Equip yourself for the process

There are lots of tools online, including several handy ones at Car Loans Now, that will let you crunch the numbers efficiently and be on a level playing field with the lender.