It’s not very well known that you can refinance an auto loan – but you can, and around a million people do so each year. Plus, it’s a pretty simple process; much less involved and time consuming than doing a refinance of a mortgage, and you can end up with a car loan that meets your needs if your circumstances have changed since buying the vehicle.

People usually refinance their auto loan for one of three reasons:

  1. Their credit has improved substantially since they bought the vehicle, and they now qualify for a much lower interest rate.
  2. They want to refinance to a longer term and reduce their monthly payment, even if it’s at a similar rate.
  3. Rates are lower overall or the person didn’t shop around for financing when buying the car – so even with the same credit profile they can reduce their interest rate and/or monthly payment.

Here’s some resources to help you get your auto refinance started:

MyAutoloan  
Lending Tree

 

Some things to keep in mind if you want to refinance your auto loan:

  • Most lenders won’t consider you if you aren’t consistently paying your current auto loan on time.  Even lenders that specialize in people with credit problems want to see that you pay your current auto loan on time every month.
  • Many lenders have limits on vehicle age and mileage; those limits vary but you will have fewer options if your vehicle has over 100,000 miles and/or is more than 6 years old.
    • Another way to look at this is that if you have a vehicle that’s 6 years old, or 90,000-100,000 miles, but you plan to keep it awhile, then you may want to get that refinance done before year end, or the odometer rolls over, while you still have choices.
  • It’s common for the lender or loan broker to ask you for some basic documents upfront: your driver’s license, your vehicle registration, and your vehicle insurance card.  If any of these are expired, lost, or nearing renewal, get that all squared away first – otherwise the lender likely won’t be able to advance you forward until those docs are in order.