With loan shopping, you might feel you are the only one on the spot, but that's not true. Just as much as lenders are looking at you, you are interviewing them. Be prepared with your own list of questions:
- What supporting documentation do I need?
- Do you require me to purchase a vehicle through a licensed dealership?
- How long will the process take?
- What factor will my credit rating have?
- What should my down payment be? Do you require a set amount?
- What is the trade-in value on my car? (This question is relevant for dealer financing only.)
- What would my base interest rate be? Will it ever change? Is that the best rate available? (Your base rate is the total yearly interest rate applied to your loan.)
- To secure this rate, do I have to pay points? (Points are a percentage of the loan the lender may charge you as a fee.)
- Over the course of the loan, how much interest would I end up paying?
- What will my APR be? (APR stands for annual percentage rate and includes the base interest rate and any other costs associated with your loan.)
- What fees are included?
- What would my monthly payments be and for how long? At the end of my term, will a lump sum payment (typically a larger final payment) come due? Can I lock in on the quoted rates/points? Is there a fee to lock in? (Locking in means the lender keeps your interest rate and points firm for a certain amount of time.)
- Can I make payments early without penalty?
- Can you require full payment of my loan and why?
[source: Lending Tree]
For more information on auto loans and other personal finance topics, visit the links on the following page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Automobile Magazine. "Auto Loan Application." (January 10, 2010) http://www.automobilemag.com/car_loans/36/51499/auto_loan_application.html
- Bankrate, Inc. "Auto Financing Basics." May 1, 2006. (January 10, 2010) http://www.bankrate.com/finance/auto/auto-financing-basics.aspx
- Booth Hubbard, Sylvia. "How much car can you afford?" Bankrate, Inc. January 20, 2005. (January 10, 2010) http://www.bankrate.com/finance/money-guides/how-much-car-can-you-afford.aspx
- Buss, Dale. "How to Get an Auto Loan During the Credit Crunch." Edmunds Inc. (January 10, 2010) http://www.edmunds.com/advice/finance/articles/135386/article.html
- ConsumerGuide Automotive. "Expert Automotive Advice." (January 10, 2010) https://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/featured-auto-expert-advice.htm
- ConsumerReports.org. "Auto-financing alternatives." June 2009. (January 10, 2010) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/car-buying-advice/guide-to-new-car-buying/financing/financing-alternatives/0702fin0.htm
- ConsumerReports.org. "Where to shop for an auto loan." April 2009. (January 10, 2010) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/car-buying-advice/guide-to-new-car-buying/financing/where-to-shop-for-an-auto-loan/0702loan0.htm
- Dratch, Dana. "10 Steps to your best deal on a car loan." Bankrate, Inc., Winter 2009. (January 10, 2010) http://www.bankrate.com/finance/auto/10-steps-to-your-best-deal-on-a-car-loan-1.aspx
- Edmunds Inc. "How Much Car Can I Afford?" (January 10, 2010) http://www.edmunds.com/apps/calc/CalculatorController?pmtcalAction=affordability
- Edmunds Inc. "True Cost to Own." (January 10, 2010) http://www.edmunds.com/apps/cto/CTOintroController
- Grant, Kelli B. "New Versus Used Car: Six Factors to Consider." SmartMoney. April 8, 2009. (January 10, 2010) http://www.smartmoney.com/spending/autos/6-Factors-to-Consider-When-Car-Shopping/
- Lending Tree. "Auto financing options." August 6, 2007. (January 10, 2010) http://www.lendingtree.com/auto-loans/advice/auto-loan-basics/auto-financing-options/
- Lending Tree. "Car refinance: Does it make sense for you?" August 6, 2007. (January 10, 2010 http://www.lendingtree.com/auto-loans/advice/refinancing-a-car-loan/does-it-make-sense-to-refinance
- Lending Tree. "Checklist: Auto Loan Documentation." August 6, 2007. (January 10, 2010) http://www.lendingtree.com/auto-loans/advice/auto-loan-basics/auto-loan-documentation/
- Lending Tree. "Checklist: Questions to ask your auto lender." August 6, 2007. (January 10, 2010) http://www.lendingtree.com/auto-loans/advice/auto-loan-basics/questions-to-ask-auto-lenders/
- Lending Tree. "How to get a car refinance loan." August 6, 2007. (January 10, 2010) http://www.lendingtree.com/auto-loans/advice/refinancing-a-car-loan/how-to-get-a-car-refinance-loan/
- Lending Tree. "What to ask before you take out a loan." August 6, 2007. (January 10, 2010) http://www.lendingtree.com/auto-loans/advice/auto-loan-basics/questions-to-ask-about-loans/
- Reed, Philip. "True Cost to Own (TCO)." Edmunds Inc. (January 10, 2010) http://www.edmunds.com/advice/buying/articles/59897/article.html