Buying used cars instead of new is a great way to save money, but many people forget to factor in the costs of auto financing when setting a budget for a new (to you) vehicle. Before you head to the used car dealership, it’s important to understand how auto financing works so that you can make sure that you only buy as much as you can afford — and only pay what you need to.
Tip #1: Know Your Credit Score
Just as with any other kind of loan application, your credit score will have a huge impact on your auto financing options. It’s important to work to improve your score in every way, shape, or form you can during the months leading up to your car shopping. Of course, that isn’t always possible — and there is hope. Even if you have bad credit, you can still often find a way to get an auto loan on a car that’s under five years old.
Tip #2: Work Through a Dealership
Most car dealerships offer on-site auto financing options for their customers. They’ll likely work with anywhere from five to 10 banks on your behalf to solicit different rates and options, so that you know you’ll be getting the best deal possible.
Tip #3: Make a Down Payment
You may be surprised to know that some car dealers will let you drive off the lot without paying a single cent! While that might seem tempting, it’s a good idea to pay as much as you can upfront as a down payment. The less interest you end up paying, the more money you’ll save in the long run.
In the end, auto financing really isn’t as complicated as it might seem. The important thing is to be aware of your financial situation and to only borrow what you can afford to pay back. Don’t let the hassle of auto financing turn you off from buying the used car you need. Take the opportunity to get the best deal on a great car that will give you mileage for years to come.