Advice on Getting a Good Interest Rate for a Car Loan

Updated on April 25, 2008
B.B. asks from Saint Augustine, FL
4 answers

We are in desperate need to purchase a van. We are due in 1 1/2 mths and can't fit 3 large car seats in our car sincr my 2 other daughters are under 3 yrs old. We also have been financially struggling with my husband not able to find much work so we need to lower our car payment. My problem is we don't have good credit and have been either denied credit or given a really large interest rate (ie 17.79% road loans). We can't wait the 30 days to improve our credit in case the baby comes early. In addition, the car dealers have been trying to play around with us like they normally do offering us nothing for our trade in etc. I need advice on a loan company that accepts bad credit but doesn't give you some outrageous interest rate. I feel like when you are down everyone just keeps kicking on you. People like us who need a better interest rate to reduce our payments aren't able to get it and the people who can afford more get the lower rates. I am not expecting some unrealistic interest rate of 8% but around 11-13% would be good. I really need some advice. I keep telling myself God has a plan for us and gave us this 3rd unexpected blessing for a reason. But nothing seems to be falling in place yet. My hsband's work still is bad, we can't get any assistance because I make too much but yet I make too little to get a good car loan, we can't find a good affordable daycare with room for our kids and are still living with my in-laws. I really need advice so at least we can move on with a vehicle that is more reasonably priced and can accompandate our family.

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answers from Orlando on

The best thing to do is to go to the bank first and get the loan. Personally we took out 2 loans through CFE (Central Floriad Educators Credit Union) which they have a few branches, you can find one on their website:

Let's just say that my husband has average credit and that our personal loan for his boat he got a 7% interest rate and when we purchased the car later that month we also went through them and received a 7.2% or lower (can't remember exactly) interest rate for a used vechile. The dealership had run our credit and they would of given us a 17% interest rate! That is absolutely insane.

I would just give them a try. But very important is that you know you have a small window where you can have your credit pulled more than once when searching for a vechile before it actually effects your credit. Also you want to be sure that you know how much money you have to spend on the car before you go in. It makes shopping and negotating much easier. My husband and I simply told them that we liked the car but we were only able to do so much for the car with our loan. He told us he couldn't do that and we said, okay thank you for your time. Got up to go, and don't you know it was, Hold on let me talk to my boss and see what we can do for you. And well, lets just say we walked out with the car we wanted for the price we wanted. Right now is a time that consumers aren't paying as much for things and therefore they are willing to take deals. Don't be afraid to shop around on line before you find your car.

But by far I would suggest just giving CFE or any other bank a chance first. CFE has great rates and they are very friendly. You can always call around and see what banks have the lowest interest rate going now. What you will need to do is go and open up and account with CFE and you can talk to someone at that time who help you with opening the account and the loan. You simply have to have a bank account (savings and/or checking).

Be careful of all those "insurance extras" that they like to add on in the end. They will go through this list that just sounds really good, but in reality you don't want it. If you know the type and brand of the car that you are interested in then print out the kelly blue book value of that one as well. And don't be afraid to walk away more than once! Oh, and sometimes if you owe more than what your trade in is worth, don't be afraid to tell them that they have no deal unless they pay off the debt in full. You will want to know exactly how much money you owe on the car you own before trading it in. We told them that our vechicle had to be paid off and that was not negotionable. They actually went and paid 6K for it, and we didn't owe that much so we got a nice little check in the mail from the bank with the difference! This happened because I said I am pretty sure this amount is what we owe, and they said you know what we will pay a little more than that just to be sure. We made sure that it was in the contract that if our former vechile did not get paid in full then the contract would be void.

Trust me we got a $20K loan, with okay credit and on one income which is not very high. I receive WIC, so you know it can't be to high.

I've got 3 that are 3,2, and 10 months old so I know how hard it is to find something that will work for the 3 carseats! Honda CRV's are pretty good on gas mileage and will be big enough for the 3 carseats. Any CRV made after 2004 will have the safety latches. The trade in value is fairly good on the CRV as well. Currently we have a 2004 Toyota 4Runner which does okay on gas mileage for something that is so big, but it has enough room for the 3 carseats, and it has the safety latches and holds its retail value better than most SUV's. Also starting in 2004 Toyota began adding a 3rd seat to the vechile. So if you look around you might be able to find one that has that 3rd seat. We didn't get one with the 3rd seat, but I find myself thinking how nice it would be to have one. Personally I wanted a mini van, but we needed a vechile that would tow the boat and work as a family car. Those two things were our biggest concerns so that is how we ended up with the 4Runner.

If you need help or have questions feel free to call me: ###-###-####. Oh, and when we got our first loan with GTE Credit Union (we were living in Tampa at the time) they actually had a representative from the bank come with us to help us with the purchase of the car.

Hope this has helped you out some! Good luck and God Bless.



answers from Jacksonville on

Victoria gave you some very good advoce. Look up your car's value at It will give you resale and trade in value. Print this out and take it with you to the dealership. Remember that if you own more that its value now may not be a good time to trade up. We ran into this problem with my husband's truck. We waited a another year to get a van. Once you know where you stand you are better off with the dealerships. I would check out your local credit union. They tend to have better rates and not as strict on loans to those with lower credit scores. Our local cu even has repoed vehicles for sale at great prices. I think you live in an area where there is a Vystar CU. Check them out. I worked for them and they are great. Go to to get a free copy of both of your credit reports. Go over it and make sure there is nothing on it that is a mistake. We always check ours once a year and find stuff that was paid or not ours on it. Try to sell your vehicle and get some extra from it to make a small down payment on a used van. Just $500 is good. Do ya'll have two vehicles now? Maybe sell both and get a really cheap one for your husband to drive to work and use the other money to get a van. We did this. My husband got an older truck to drive to work and hunting and we got a van for us to use together. You say you make too much for assistance? Even WIC? You can still work and get it. You have 5 in your household now so I would got to the health department and double check on everything that is available. Go there do not call you will not get anywhere. I think Florida has a health plan for kids now? I am in georgia and we have Peachcare here. So check to see if their is one. They can ever get you in touch with agencies that help pay you utilities.

YOUR HUSBAND HAS GOT TO GET MORE WORK OR A SECOND JOB TO HELP YOU OUT!! I understand that his line of work is slow but that just means that he has to get a second job to compensate. No excuses anymore. With a new baby and two small children ya'll need your own place. How do all of you live together especially if you and the inlaws do not get along? Are you and the kids in the same room? He need to get you your own place. Do his parents have no shame that their grown son and his family are living with them? They should be encourageing him to support his family. A lot of people are suffering financially now. I know some who are taking on second jobs. Several men at my husbands work have gotten a part time job because all of their hours have been cut. He is in the building supply industry also.
I say all this because I have read your other posts and nothing seems to change. You say you want a better life for your family but you are not taking action. No one is going to do it for you. God is not going to send angels down and physically remove you from your situation. You have to show him that you want to do something. He is there to lean on in times of need but you have to help yourself.
I really feel for you and especially your children. You waited so long to have kids. I know you love them more than anything in this world. So take the steps to give them a happy mother.
Sorry this is so long. I wish you a safe delivery and a healthy baby boy.



answers from Jacksonville on

I refinanced my car loan by using I would definitely start there and see what offers you get to figure out what is realistic. There is no embarassment, b/c it's online, so no one has to suffer rejection in person. Remember one thing... CAR DEALERS NEED YOU NOW MORE THAN EVER... they act tough, but if you walk out like they are something gross on the bottom of your shoe, until they talk sense to you, you have the power as a consumer. With gas prices the way they are, if you have to have a van, pick one that is reasonably priced, like the Mazda MPV or the Hyundai Entourage. Kia also makes a decent van, and I've heard that Ray Carter Kia on Blanding does great deals for trades, like $4000 no matter what the car looks like. Check out consumer so that you can find out what the best van is for the price.

Good luck!


answers from Jacksonville on

Where do you do your banking? That's the first place to check. If you have access to a credit union, you should check there.
Find out what your current vehicle is worth sold directly thru the paper or something (not a trade in at a dealer) through Kelly Blue Book ( I think). Then you can estimate how much you might need for the balance of the loan to be the replacement. Then, line up a vehicle to use after selling your current one (maybe borrow MIL or FIL's?). Once you sell your current one, get pre-approval at the bank/credit union, THEN begin shopping for a gently used van. Probably 2 yrs old would be my suggestion. You go into the dealer not needing his financing, and you are in the power position. But, if your credit is totally whacked, don't expect a miracle. There is a reason that the interest rate is higher for those with poor credit... it's called the cost of the amount of risk that the lender takes on when loaning you the money. The higher the risk of default on your part, the more money the lender might have to SPEND to recover what has been loaned (lawyers, etc if you default). That is part of this whole housing mess right now... a bunch of lenders sold mortgages to people they shouldn't have (too high a risk).

Just remember that you do NOT want to buy a new vehicle, nor have two at one time. You want to buy a "new to you" vehicle. And you want to SELL the current one FIRST.

From reading some of your previous posts, you might consider asking your in-laws what they recommend. Maybe they will re-consider that your husband should be doing a little more working and a little less golfing, fishing, and surfing.

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