Be sure to check out the deals available from local small banks and credit unions. Many small banks and credit unions send refinancing solicitations to recent car buyers. These offers may turn up in your mailbox just a few weeks after you've purchased a car. So be on the lookout.
Loan and title fees can eat into your expected savings. Ask the lender for a breakdown of these charges when shopping for your loan. You can also use Bankrate's auto loan calculator to compare the new payment with your current payment.
If you are having trouble making your payments, the best alternative is to talk to your current lender about extending the term of your existing loan. They won't want to do it, but if you can show them why this is important to keep you solvent, they should grasp that it's better to restructure the loan than have you default.
Don Taylor, Lucy Lazarony and Amy Fleitas contributed to this story.
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