HARDISON’S TIPS – JULY 2, 2021 – July Fourth car shopping? Avoid these big mistakes (PT.2)
Not knowing your credit score
This ties into the pre-approved loan. The interest rate you’ll pay on your car loan depends at least partly on your credit score. The higher it is, the better rate you can secure.
HOW CREDIT SCORES ARE VIEWED*
|EXCELLENT||750 and over|
This matters, because many of the advertised rates for dealer financing are for consumers with excellent credit. Knowing where your credit score falls can help figure out whether you’re entitled to the best deal even if it’s not immediately offered.
Not paying off your old loan
Some consumers plan to trade in their car as part of their purchase, only to find out it’s worth less than what they still owe on it.
Of course, dealers are usually happy to roll that negative equity into your new loan.
Say your car is worth $6,000 and you owe $10,000 on it. Assuming you don’t have the $4,000 lying around to pay it off — most consumers do not — it would get added to the purchase of your car.
For a $31,000 car financed at 5 percent for 72 months, another $4,000 would add about $64 to your monthly payment.
While that might not bust your budget, it’s a slippery slope. Three or four years later when you want a new car, you will face the same situation.
“That cycle will keep going,” Guthridge said.
Saying yes to dealer add-ons
Once you reach the finance office, you could be offered options like extended warranties or sealants or different types of insurance.
Generally speaking, they really aren’t necessary, Guthridge said.
“All it does in increase your payment,” he said.
However, one option typically offered could be worthwhile if you don’t already have it: gap insurance. If you total your new car, it will cover the difference between what your vehicle is worth and what you owe on it.
Standard auto insurance typically only covers your car’s value, not the balance on your loan. Because new vehicles lose some of their value right after they’re sold, gap insurance can come in handy if your car is totaled and you owe more than its value.
“If you don’t have equity in the car, this can be worth it,” Guthridge said.
Be aware, though, you might pay more for it at the dealer than you would elsewhere.