Thursday, March 1, 2007

Looking for a new car?

How To Get The Best Deal On A Car Loan
By: Jon Arnold

You have done your research for that new car you want to buy. You have narrowed down the choices, checked the gas mileage ratings, checked the maintenance history, checked the typical resale value, and gotten opinions from others about the various local car dealerships that offer your choice to understand the rating they get for post-sale service and support.

But do not ignore an aspect of this whole thing that is probably every bit as important as the actual make and model of the car that you choose, which is financing the car or truck with the best deal possible on a car loan or truck loan. You need to gain some knowledge about financing if you do not understand long-term financing, because the whole deal with financing is that you have more options than you think you do, and even options that look identical on the surface, like cars, are entirely different when you take a peek under the hood. In other words, getting the best car loan or truck loan, whether a new car or truck, or a used car or truck, is MUCH more than just the monthly payment amount that you are quoted.

Of course the car dealerships anticipate this. You are in the spotless showroom with the free coffee and the shiny new vehicles on the showroom floor just itching to be driven by you, and your right foot is already twitching with the thoughts of getting this baby on the road to see what she can do. So the car dealerships have "guaranteed financing" programs already setup, all you need to do is sign your name and the car keys will be in your hand.

Do not fall for it, at least not until you have done your homework. In fact, this is a part of your homework that you can do prior to even setting foot in the dealership. Do your homework and perhaps even get pre-approved from a lending source before you go to the dealership. More often than not, if you tell the car salesman that you have already been pre-approved for financing, you can often get an even sweeter deal. But by all means, do NOT tell them how MUCH you are approved for, since then he will feel obligated to get as close to that amount as possible.

While it may be attractive to get a 6 or 7 year car loan, perhaps even longer, when you look at the monthly payment figure, this is rarely a good deal based on the amount of interest you are going to be paying. You need to look at what you have paid for the vehicle at the end of the loan period. For example, on that $40,000 new car on car finance plan 1, you might have paid a total of $55,000 for it, including interest, whereas on car finance plan 2, you only paid $48,000 for it. That is an extra $7,000 that went flying out of your pocket needlessly, and I know you can think of better uses for $7,000 than the toilet. Yes, the interest rate alone can indeed make that much difference.
Jon Arnold

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