Although local lenders offer auto loan refinancing, only about 12 percent of borrowers take advantage of the option. That’s largely because average car buyers are unaware such programs exist or don’t know how to apply. By understanding what auto loan refinancing involves and its potential benefits, community members can make informed decisions about their financial health and well-being.

What is Auto loan Refinancing?

Replacing a car, truck, or SUV usually also involves changes to the financing. It’s not unusual to purchase a new vehicle before paying off an auto loan. This strategy typically involves maximizing the trade-in value and enjoying a reliable and comfortable ride.

Refinancing a car loan can also be used as a strategy to accomplish financial goals. Regardless of why you want to redo an auto loan, it remains a relatively simple process of securing a new auto loan that pays off the balance of an existing one.

4 Circumstances When Auto loan Refinancing Is a Good Option

If you are making monthly installments on an auto loan, there are sometimes benefits to refinancing. Depending on the interest rate and terms of your current auto loan, these are common reasons why people often explore refinancing an auto loan.


1. Interest Rates Have Dropped

The total cost of your new or pre-owned vehicle is largely determined by how much you pay over the life of an auto loan. Anytime interest rates drop, it triggers an opportunity to potentially save money. By either leveraging the equity you built up or refinancing at a lower principal amount, a more favorable interest rate can save thousands over the life of an auto loan.

2. Your Credit Score Has Improved

Making consistent monthly installments on an auto loan helps improve your FICO score. Higher scores open opportunities to access lower interest rates and terms. By putting your new credit score to work, refinancing a car loan can save you money.

3. You Want to Lower Monthly Auto loan Payments

The desire to reconfigure and reduce monthly expenses is a common reason to refinance an auto loan. Whether driven by an unexpected tightening of your budget, loss or lowering of income, or simply wanting to allocate resources differently, refinancing can lower your monthly liabilities. This can be accomplished by leveraging a higher credit score, equity in the vehicle, refinancing at a lower principal, or extending the repayment period.

4 You Need Cash

Cash-out refinancing is a popular option for people who require money in hand. This option comes into play under a number of circumstances. Equity in the vehicle may be used because the original loan has been paid down or the vehicle has appreciated in value. The difference between what is owed on the auto loan and fair market value can be pulled out through the refinancing process.

Steps to Start the Auto loan Refinancing Process

You don’t have to be a financial wizard to navigate car loan refinancing. It’s just a matter of knowing what to do and following through. These are steps to consider if you want to refinance your auto loan.


1. Review Your Current Loan

There are two essential things you need to know about an existing auto loan when considering refinancing. The first involves the total repayment amount. The second is whether you have met the minimum threshold to qualify for refinancing. After determining those two items, contact a credit union loan professional and find out if refinancing is an option.

2. Check Your Credit Score

Consider requesting a free copy of your credit report from all three major bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Check the document for any errors and have them corrected. You can also take proactive measures to raise your score in 30 days, such as reducing credit card debt and improving utilization.

3. Estimate the Value of Your Car

The Kelly Blue Book, among others, offers a user-friendly platform to determine car, truck, and SUV values. By inputting the year, make, model, mileage, and condition of your vehicle, you can ascertain the fair market value in your area.


4. Shop Around for the Best Refinancing Rates

It’s important not to be tempted by refinancing promotions that appear to be too good to be true. Take your time and shop around for the lowest rates, fewest fees, and most favorable repayment terms.

People often find during their market research, that credit unions offer low-interest rates and favorable auto loan terms. Credit unions are often able to give their members great deals since one of their main operating principles is to be community oriented.


5. Get Your Paperwork in Order

Before scheduling an appointment with a local auto loan specialist, gather all the necessary information and create a folder. This will save you time and energy, and avoid the need to reschedule or send documents later. These are things to put in your auto loan refinancing file.

  • Proof of Income
  • Bank Statement
  • Driver’s License or State-Issued ID
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Existing Auto loan Documents
  • Vehicle Information

By conducting due diligence, shopping for competitive interest rates, and having your documents in order, refinancing an auto loan can be a stress-free process and help you accomplish financial goals.


ACU is Here to Help!

If you think auto loan refinancing might be a good fit for your current financial goals, contact ACU today to discuss the next steps or if you have questions, we are happy to work with you to determine if auto loan refinancing is the best option and guide you through the process. ACU also offers an easy online application process so you can get your auto loan from the convenience of your home!


Membership in America’s Credit Union is open to anyone who lives or works in Dallas, Rockwall or Collin Counties, Texas, and their family members. Employees of select employers may also be eligible. See our Membership page for details.