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Before You Get to the Car Dealers: Getting an Auto Loan

So, you have a new automobile in mind, but you don't have quite enough money on hand to pay for it in cash. It is time to take out an auto loan. Auto loans are a great way to help you get in the vehicle you want. The process of taking one out might be a little daunting, so here are some tips to help you with the procedure, from checking your credit score to finally driving home.

Credit Score

Before you begin visiting local car dealers to pick up the perfect vehicle, you should take a look at your credit score. This number will play a big role in whether or not you will be approved for an auto loan and at what rate. There are several websites that provide free credit reports to help keep you informed of your credit score. Find a site that is easy for you to navigate and use it to check your score often. Your credit score changes month to month, so your soft credit score might go up while you are looking at automobiles.

Determine Your Payment

After a home, an automobile is usually one of the biggest undertakings a person will assume. In order to be a smart buyer, you should determine how much of your income can be spent on your new purchase. Keep in mind that, along with loan payments, a vehicle will need insurance, gas, and regular maintenance. A good percentage of your income to spend on all of these related expenses is about 10-15%.

Seek Pre-approval

Just like for credit scores, there are several opportunities for auto loans that can be accessed online. Many of the nation's top insurance companies offer pre-approval applications through their websites. It is also a good idea to check with your local bank or other financial institution. Since the bank will be a little bit more familiar with your unique financial situation, they might be able to offer you an improved rate or payment than other companies. Finally, some car dealers offer financing help through the dealership. If you have a particular retailer in mind, contact their financial office to see if they can help you navigate the process.

Pick a Vehicle

This is the fun part of the purchase: choosing what vehicle best suits you. Keeping your allowance in mind, you can begin shopping at nearby car dealers for something that fits your style and needs.


Once you've made your decision, you have to go through the process of filling out all of the paperwork. Representatives from the car dealers will be helpful in this period since they have to do it on a regular basis. This representative will work with your lender to finalize the loan for the vehicle, as well as help you get the necessary warranties or protection for your new purchase.

Now that you have completed all of the steps in securing your auto loan, the only thing left to do is drive your new vehicle home from the car dealer.

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