Learning the details of auto loans is the best way for car buyers to be informed when choosing the terms and conditions of a loan. Auto finance can be complicated for those not sure of how dealerships or direct lenders calculate their interest rate and monthly payments. As a helpful way for consumers to purchase vehicles without paying full cash, a car loan is an integral part of the car buying process for most people.

However, the factors that go into creating auto loan rates and terms by the bank are still sometimes a mystery for even the most informed car buyer. Brushing up on the characteristics of a car loan is one of the best ways for a consumer to compare the available deals and know the best time and price for their next vehicle purchase. Here are some car finance details you should know before shopping around for your next new or used car.

Auto Loan Rates and How They’re Calculated

Car loan interest rates may vary slightly between sources. When shopping around auto loans to both dealerships and direct lenders, you may find varied car loan interest rates, but these numbers won’t sway by much. The current auto loan rates are dictated by market conditions and your geographical location. When calculating the lowest auto loan rates offered to you, a creditor will ask for financial details including your occupation and length of employment, any extra sources of income you have, and your current credit cards and debts.

Vehicle finance loans will also require a credit report to be run. Your credit score will determine the interest rate given, as well as the terms that are offered. A satisfactory credit score can usually put the auto loan interest rates around two to six percent, while a low credit score may offer car loan interest rates of twenty to thirty percent. Bad credit car loans may also have stricter terms and conditions, as well as a longer timeframe for payoff.

Used car loan rates may also be higher than when purchasing a new car. However, the purchase price of these vehicles is often lower, allowing a smaller loan amount. This keeps the monthly payments down for the car buyer, so it can be worth looking into a used car. Dealerships have access to several banks and can shop the auto loan rates around to these banks before offering a deal. However, looking into a direct lender before sitting down to buy a used or new car with the dealer is always a good idea to ensure you’re getting the best car loan interest rates.

How a Down Payment Affects Your Car Loan

Auto loans can also offer lower monthly payments if the down payment at the time of purchase is a large one. A big down payment cuts down on the loan amount, making the monthly payments much more manageable. Those who can offer a hefty down payment for their car loan may also be able to reduce the time span of the loan, which leads to less required payments.

Dealerships will sometimes offer their customers help with the down payment, like matching the contribution made by the car buyer, or offering an extra few hundred dollars for the down payment. These car finance offers are great to take advantage of because they’ll knock that amount off the loan finance total, and ultimately lower the monthly payments.

If the down payment you can contribute when buying a car is less than stellar, you may want to consider waiting and saving money before making your purchase. A bigger down payment can save you overall with a lower monthly payment and less interest you’ll need to pay out to the bank.

Interpreting Auto Finance Terms and Conditions

When financing a car, there are many terms and conditions that come along with the car loan. It’s important to understand everything that’s expected of you as the car buyer before agreeing to these terms.

There are many details of a vehicle finance agreement, but a few terms should be considered before the purchase is made. The auto loan interest rates that are offered should be contemplated. A refinance auto loan may be an option in a few months if the current auto loan rates are high and the market or credit score improves. The exact monthly payment due and any late payment penalty fees are factors to consider for the car loan. A car buyer should also be aware of the timeframe of the loan and if there are any pay off penalties.

Understanding auto loans before signing a contract is important for car buyers so they can stay on track with their budget and payments. Financing a car can feel like a confusing process, but knowing these details will help car buyers find the best deal with agreeable terms.

Last updated on Friday, February 28 2020.