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You need to make plenty of hard decisions when you’re buying a car, but one that requires your full attention is your auto loan. How do you find the best car loans for your financial situation? What loan features should you be on the lookout for? It’s not an easy process, but by comparing lenders and keeping an open mind, you can find the best auto loan for your next car.
The truth? There is no single best car loan option out there. Not everyone looking for a car loan is buying the same car, earns the same income or is in the same financial situation. The best car loan really depends on what you need from your loan, what you’re eligible for and what work well with your budget and lifestyle.
In order to find a car loan you can qualify for, ask yourself the following question when comparing lenders:
You likely won’t find the best car loans at a dealership because dealers outsource their loans to direct lenders. The interest rate a dealership receives from one of its partner lenders may be marked up by a few points so that the dealer can make a profit.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find a good loan at a dealership, but it’s best to look into other financing options as well. This is not only a solid backup plan in case the dealer can’t offer you the best loan, but it also gives you an edge when negotiating. You never know — even with dealer markup, a dealership may be able to offer you the best loan if they want to prevent you from going to another lender.
In general, yes. Lenders may be more willing to offer favourable terms if you have some money saved to use as a down payment. A larger down payment means you borrow less, which then reduces your monthly payment as well as the money you’ll pay the lender back in interest.
For instance, you’re looking to borrow $15,000 for a new vehicle. The lender you’ve chosen to go with has offered you a 60-month term with a 7.45% APR. By calculating your monthly payments with different down payment amounts, you can see how much money you’ll save each month and overall.
|Down payment||Monthly payment||Interest paid|
In this example, by having $3,000 saved up, you end up spending about $600 less on your loan and reduce your monthly payments by $60. A sizeable down payment can make the best car loans even better by potentially saving you hundreds of dollars in interest over the life of your loan.
What you’ll need to provide depends on the lender and the type of loan you’ve chosen — here’s what you’ll need:
Check exactly what you need with your lender before you submit your application.
Once you’ve found a loan that meets your needs, you’re ready to apply. Though eligibility requirements differ between lenders, you must be at least 18 years of age and a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident to qualify for a loan in Canada.
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