Auto Loans 101 – 5 Questions To Ask Your Lender


Investing in your dream car is a process that can feel a little overwhelming. From choosing the correct car model to cracking the best deal with your auto lender, the procedure surely requires some prior research. When it comes to auto loans, discovering a suitable auto lender can be a tricky business. It might not be every day that you are exposed to the various options that different auto lenders provide. Therefore, it is imperative to understand how a particular auto loan program impacts your pocket. Sometimes, knowing which questions to ask makes all the difference.

So, which are the key questions to keep in mind while applying for an auto loan?

1) What is the type of interest rate on the loan?

Usually, there are two types of interest rates on an auto loan, namely, fixed rates and variable rates. Under fixed interest rates, the monthly payments of your loan are uniform throughout the term of the loan. Planning of future finances becomes fairly easy with a fixed rate auto loan as you know the exact amount to be paid. With variable interest rates, the interest rates fluctuate indicating a change in the monthly payments. Therefore, it’s always advisable to choose an auto lender providing fixed rate auto loan.

2) How long is term period of the loan?

You must take care of finding out the term of your auto loan. Some auto lenders may render low-interest rates spread over a span of a shorter time frame, for instance 2-3 years. It can hike up your monthly payments as against a term period spread over 5-6 years. Hence, before choosing an auto lender, it’s wise to evaluate all your options and then choose the one that is suitable to your needs.

3) Does the loan require down payment or balloon payment?

Down payment refers to the initial lump sum amount that you pay to the dealer. Alternatively, if you pay a lump sum amount to the lender at the end of the term of the loan, it is called balloon payment. A loan structure composed of either of the two payments helps in reducing the overall loan amount, thereby decreasing the monthly payments. Thus, if you have enough cash to put aside for down payment, it can hugely help in reducing the loan burden of future payments.

4) Is the loan entitled to any penalties?

Due to the excitement of getting a car, we often tend to skip a detailed review of the financial contract before signing it. Many a times, a pre-payment penalty is included in the contract if the loan is repaid early. Each auto lender may have varying penalties; therefore it’s always a good idea to ask your auto lender if there are any extra charges attached to the auto loan.

5) Does the loan include payment protection?

A clause of payment protection in your auto loan program can safeguard you in times of unforeseen circumstances or even extend credit insurance for your auto loan. When comparing loans from different auto lenders, make sure you get the best deal by thoroughly evaluating all the terms and conditions.


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