WHEN DOES REFINANCING AN AUTO LOAN MAKE SENSE?
We’re all familiar with refinancing a home mortgage. People do it all the time – often lowering the interest rate and saving hundreds on their monthly payments, but few people think about refinancing an auto loan. However, many of the same benefits apply. So, when does refinancing make sense?
- If you didn’t get the best rate available at the time.
Perhaps in the rush to buy that car or pickup, you didn’t shop around first for the best rates with local lenders. Credit unions in particular are known for offering favorable interest rates on auto loans to members.
- If your financial situation has improved since you got your loan.
Maybe you were going through a financial rough patch at the time, but your credit score has improved. These ratings are “tiered,” meaning even just a moderate gain can bump you up to the next level and earn you a lower interest rate from your lender. You may even discover a mistake on your credit report that cost you a better rate. Get a free credit report from the AnnualCreditReport website to check for errors. If you find one and have it corrected, it may be a good time to look into refinancing your vehicle.
- If you need to extend your repayment term to cut your payment.
If your monthly car loan note is busting your budget, refinancing to stretch out the repayment period for a longer loan term may help you. For example, if you have 24 months left to pay on the current note but can refinance it for 36 months at a comparable or lower interest rate, your monthly payments will fall. You may pay more in total interest over the life of the loan, but it might be worth it to give your monthly budget a bit of a break.
THE SOONER YOU REFINANCE, THE MORE YOU CAN SAVE
If you’ve only had your vehicle a few months, you may think it’s too early to refinance. That may not be the case. You usually pay more interest than principal in the early stages of a loan, so if you can get a lower rate, the sooner you refinance, the more you may save.
To see if a refinance makes sense in your situation, check out our Auto Loan Refinancing Calculator below or speak to an Auto Loan Advisor!
Information from Hal Bundrick, NerdWallet