auto

3 reasons to refinance your car

Auto loan rates are near record lows. So, this might be a good time to refinance if your interest rate is higher than the market rate. Here are three circumstances when a car refinance loan can pay off.

When you can take advantage of lower interest rates

Even a few points can make a big difference in the interest you'll pay during the life of the loan. To see the current rates in cities throughout the country, check out Bankrate's tool to compare local auto loan rates.

Beat the dealer

Dealers usually post higher rates than other lenders to increase their profit margin. If you financed with the dealer and you have a high interest rate, it's not too late to refinance through a different lender.

Look for loans at your local credit union and at your bank. Because credit unions are member-owned, they generally offer better rates. However, you may have to be a member to benefit from their deals. Banks also are more likely to give lower rates to their customers, so first look to borrow money where you put your money.

Better credit

Having bad credit -- or even just a few bad hits -- can affect your loan rate. If your credit has improved since you purchased the car, you may be able to refinance at a lower interest rate. Make sure to check your credit report before applying. You are entitled to a free report from each of the three credit bureaus every year.

Refinancing also might be a good option if you're having trouble making your current payments. Lenders will generally help consumers lower their monthly payments so they can afford to keep the car.

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