When researching car loans, start out by checking your credit report. Make sure that everything on your report is accurate; it could be that information has been entered in error, and that your credit history is a lot less blemished than you may have been led to believe. If these errors aren't corrected you could find not only are car loans more expensive but this could affect other financing companies with whom you've applied.
When applying for car loans, access your credit score as well. For several years, credit scores were available only to prospective lenders, who used them to evaluate those seeking loans. Now it's possible for consumers to access this all-important number. Your score is available online from each of the three credit bureaus: Trans Union, Experian and Equifax. If you've got bad credit, it's helpful to know it beforehand. Knowing your credit score will help give you a sense of exactly where you stand in your search for a car loan.
When it comes to car loans, whatever you do — don't always rely on the dealer. Dealers take a cut of all car loan deals they land; as a result, any loan that they're able to get you with a bank or financing company is likely to wind up being far more costly to you than if you had contacted the lending institution on your own. Ideally, you'll want to secure your auto loan before setting foot inside the dealership as it will save you much more in the long run.
Shop around. Car loans and rates will vary from lender to lender so take the time to look around and see what deals are available. Your credit union is also a good place to turn. For years, credit unions have had a reputation of lending only to members with good credit, but that too has changed. Many are now beginning to expand their business to include those with less-than-perfect credit.