Even if you've never purchased a car before, you probably realize you're going to need a car loan to do it. So, to help all the first-time shoppers out there, here are the six steps on how to apply for a car loan.
  1. Check your credit. Odds are high that you're pretty new to the whole "adulating" thing, so you may have never checked your credit before. You need to do this before you even think about applying for a loan. Your credit report will show you your credit history. Make sure the information listed is accurate and if you spot any problems, try to clear them up.
  2. Set your budget. Once you know your credit is in the clear, look at your funds and lay out a budget. Track your money for at least a month to see how much you actually spend buying coffee, going to the movies, eating out, etc. Then decide if you want to make any cuts and how much you want to put towards your new car. Don't forget insurance, maintenance, and fuel costs.
  3. Get pre-approved. The best place to start with this process may be the bank or credit union that you currently use. Fill out their loan application and you should get a pre-approval letter that is good for up to a certain amount of money.
  4. Start shopping. Once you know your monthly budget and how much you want to spend total, you can narrow down your shopping field. Make sure to aim for something practical and not just the flashiest car on the lot. For example, if you frequently go camping, you want something that has enough cargo space for all your gear. Let the dealership try to find financing for you as well. It won't cost you anything and you may get an even better rate.
  5. Close the deal. When you've nailed down the final price, you'll sign all the necessary paperwork in the finance department at the dealership.
  6. Make your car payments. The last step, and one of the most important, is to pay back your loan. Not long after you purchase your car you should receive information about how and when to pay back your loan. You should be able to easily make payments online and can usually set up automatic payments so you don't even have to actively think about it.
Now that you know all there is to know about applying for a car loan, it's time to get started. If you need any help along the way, give us a call at Dan Young Chevrolet Buick GMC GM and we'll be glad to lend you a hand.