For every perfect car that’s just out of reach, there’s a car loan available to help you get behind the wheel. Getting a quote, or multiple quotes, for that matter, can help you get the car you want while staying within your budget. However, not all loans are created equal and if you fail to shop around, you could end up getting a bad deal. Here’s what you need to know to get a solid quote.
How to Get a Car Loan Quote
Step 1: Get your credit squared away. Before you apply for a loan, check your credit score and address any discrepancies you find. You’ll want to make sure your score is as accurate as can be to ensure you’ll get approved.
Step 2: Have personal documents handy. Most loan providers will want copies of your W-2 and paystubs to verify income. Before you call, have these by your side.
Step 3: Decide who to work with. Typically, there are two outlets from which you can get a car loan — a dealership or a finance company, such as a bank or credit union.
While it may seem convenient to work directly with the people who are selling your future car, you’ll be hard pressed to find a dealer who works for you versus their own interests. The best advice is to work directly with your bank to get a loan quote, or to shop around with independent lenders such as CarsDirect.
Step 4: Pin down the car you want. Comparison shopping for cars is great, but any financial company will want more details than just “pickup” or “coupe.”
Pin down the car you want to buy before contacting a lender. Even if it’s just knowing you want a 2020 Toyota Camry LE, the more specific details you have, the better.
Step 5: Try an online loan calculator. While it isn’t going to be 100% accurate, it can give you a better understanding of what to expect from a loan provider.
There are numerous free calculators online that let you plug in loan amounts, interest rates, and loan periods to get different results.
Armed with all this information, you’ll have a better chance of getting the right quote to fit your needs and your budget. And don’t forget that you’ll need car insurance, too.