When you have positive credit history it is far easier to secure car financing from lenders offering low rates and great terms. This is of course not the case for those who have no credit or a low credit score.
With good credit your ability to negotiate is far greater than in other circumstances. That said, it is never a good idea to walk into the first dealer you see and sign a financing offer without first shopping around and exploring your options. Dealers are very good at keeping you tied down with paperwork, leaving many wanting to simply get it over with. Do not fall for that trick if you have good credit!
Ideally, your best bet is to obtain financing first and then shop for the car you want. Doing so allows you much greater flexibility and power when negotiating with a dealer. The only downside is not being able to take advantage of offers only dealers can offer you, so be sure to check all your options before committing to any one deal.
Tips when shopping for a car loan
Check your credit. Get a copy of your credit reports and review them. Make sure there are no errors.
Print your credit reports and bring them with you when shopping for a car.
Figure out your budget. How much are you willing to spend? Can you afford a monthly car payment. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of insurance. Car lenders will require you to get full coverage on your car, so be sure to get an idea of what your insurance premium will be.
Research the kind of car you want and narrow it down to 2-3 choices. Be sure to get a quote on a new car from several dealers before doing anything. This will make shopping for your car far easier.
Contact your bank or even better, your credit union, and inquire about financing. Get a quote.
If buying used, be absolutely sure to get a CarFax report. Look for previous accidents or title issues and check to see that the information the dealer provided matches what is on the report. Do check the VIN numbers to make sure they match.
Have an independent, third-party mechanic inspect the car for you. Do not let the seller you convince you to use their recommended mechanic no matter what! In most states, once you purchase a so-called lemon, you are pretty much stuck. (Be aware, that even a third-party mechanic may miss problems with the car!)
Research the dealers before you set foot on their premises. Read the reviews on Yelp and check their ratings with the BBB. You don’t want to find out about their terrible reputation after having a bad experience.
Be careful with the warranty offers. Quite often, these are unnecessary and awfully expensive. Dealers will sell them to you because they make a lot of money by selling warranty packages. There is no need to decide on a warranty package when you purchase the vehicle.
Let the dealers come to you.
One of the best things you can do to provide you with leverage is to do your homework and let the dealers come to you to ask for your business. One easy way to do so, is to request free auto financing quotes by submitting your information to dealers who want your business.
When they call you, be ready to negotiate and protect your best interests!