Take Control of Auto Financing

by Janean Flowe
Happy car buyer
Getting a loan shouldn’t spoil the joy of buying a new car.


Before you shop for a car, shop banks to find their best rates on an auto loan. You’ll usually do better to get a loan from a financial institution than from the dealership. “Zero percent financing” offers can sometimes work in your favor when weighing dealer incentives and rebates against the final price tag.

  • Take control: Getting approved for a loan by a bank means there’s one less thing you have to worry about while negotiating.

Loan Length

The longer your loan, the more you’ll typically pay for the vehicle. Small monthly payments might seem enticing. If you’re making them for seven years, though, you’ll pay more money in the end.

  • Take control: Understand how small monthly payments add up. An online loan calculator can let you see the total cost of your vehicle, including interest, before you buy it.

Down Payments

The more cash you pay up-front as a down payment, the better. You can opt for a shorter-term loan, which means you’ll pay less toward interest over the long haul. You might even get a better interest rate, because lenders see you as less of a credit risk. Be sure you reserve enough money to keep up with the costs of vehicle ownership or to be prepared for unexpected expenses in your life.

  • Take control: Decide in advance where your up-front cash will come from. If you plan to trade in your current vehicle as a down payment, an independent source such as the NADA Appraisal Guide can tell you how much it’s worth.

NEXT STEP: Visit AAA.com/GoAutoBuying or call 800-590-0145 today to begin your personalized AAA Member car buying experience.

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