Refinancing your vehicle loan can lead to a lower monthly payment, a shorter payment term or both. It depends on various factors, including the value of your vehicle, how much you owe and your credit standing. Read on for three common life changes that might mean it’s a good time to refinance your vehicle.
1.) Your credit rating improves
The biggest factor determining your auto loan status is your credit score. When your lender builds a loan package, they pull a credit report as a central part of that process. That number determines your interest rate and what other fees your lender might charge.
Keep a copy of the documents your lender pulled. That can let you see if your credit score has improved. Nine months of steady repayment can boost your credit score, resulting in a less costly loan. If you didn’t have much credit history when you purchased, refinancing can do you a world of good.
2.) You didn’t shop around initially
Dealers usually have a smaller range of lenders with whom they exclusively work. Those lenders have limited exposure to competition, so they can charge higher fees and rates. Do your own comparison shopping. Dealer rates can be 1 to 1.5% higher than those offered at smaller lenders, like credit unions. If you’ve never shopped around for a car loan, it’s worth doing now.
3.) You need to change your monthly payment
Your financial situation may have improved since you bought the car and you can now afford to pay more per month. You’ll save money in the long term by doing just that. Shorter-term loans usually have lower interest rates. Also, you’ll pay off the overall balance on your car faster.
If money is tight, consider refinancing for a longer term. Although you’ll pay more in interest, you’ll reduce your monthly payment and save the money you need now. You may also be able to reduce the monthly payment if your credit score has improved, interest rates have dropped or if you’re getting a better rate from another lender.