Although it would be great to be able to pay cash for everything and never accrue debt, for most people that’s just simply not a possibility. Especially at a time when money is tight due to staggering job losses and a downturn in the global economy, it may be necessary for you to get a loan in order to get some higher-ticket items on your wish list. This is especially true if you’re looking to get a newer car with a history of few if any recalls. If you’re looking to finance a car, there’s definitely a right way to go about getting a car loan and a wrong way. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you want to finance your auto loan using your smarts.

Know Your Credit Score

In order to get your car loan, you’re going to need to know your credit score. Your credit score is calculated using a broad range of factors, including how many accounts you have open, the percentage of credit you’re using on each account, and any other loans or debts that you might have in your name. One thing to note is that hard inquiries on your credit can lower your score since they’re sometimes a sign to lenders that you’re actively seeking out loans. That being said, there are a few free websites that let you check and monitor your credit score without creating a hard pull. Your bank can probably offer you credit monitoring recommendations if you need them.

Compare Quotes Ahead of Time

Once you know your credit score, it’s time to find out if you qualify for a car loan that’s going to be helpful in your current financial situation. It’s important to compare different loan rates and terms in order to get the best deal possible. Some loan providers like Firstmac will even offer pre-approved car loans which can help you make your car purchase even faster.

A pre-approved car loan can get you pre-approved on the same day and have your offer finalized just two days later. Getting pre-approved can help you budget more specifically, get a lower interest rate, and even help negotiate the price of your vehicle. Best of all, getting pre-approved is obligation-free!

Put Some Money Down Towards the Car

As you’re thinking about how to fit a monthly payment on an auto loan into your budget, one way to lower your monthly cost is by putting a down payment towards the price of the car instead of financing the entire purchase. If you can put 20 percent down towards your vehicle that will go a long way towards lowering the terms of your loan. That being said, even being able to toss $1,000 or $2,000 towards the purchase price of your new car can help you lower your costs, especially if you have bad credit.

Try to Avoid Financing Other Miscellaneous Fees

It’s important that if you get any added features to your vehicle that you pay for those out of pocket instead of including them in your loan. This includes other miscellaneous fees like title and registration costs, as well as any costs to transport your vehicle. One thing to note is that the cost to move a car from one place to another can vary from region to region, so make sure to get a quote from a business like EasyCar Shipping before you head to the dealership. Having the exact quote for your transportation costs can help you be certain that you won’t need to add these sorts of fees to your auto loan and can help keep your costs low.