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Car shopping this Memorial Day? Look for auto loan ahead of time

By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Posted: 4 pm ET

Memorial Day, in addition to being a great and necessary celebration of the men and women of our armed forces, is also one of the biggest car shopping days of the year, and this year is likely to be no exception. Fortunately for those who will be hitting dealerships this weekend in search of a new ride, many automakers are running generous incentives right now to try and entice still-wary consumers onto dealer lots.

Chrysler/Dodge, Hyundai, Toyota, GM, Nissan, Mazda, Ford and other automakers are offering a choice of a large rebate or a zero percent APR auto loan on many models. Edmunds has a great, detailed listing of all the incentives available in your ZIP code.

But remember, dealer incentives are only one part of the equation when it comes to getting a good overall deal on your car. If you plan on buying a car this weekend, do yourself a favor and search our nationwide auto loan database or head out to your bank or credit union to arrange financing ahead of time. That way, you can negotiate on the car's price without worrying about what kind of deal you'll get on the auto loan. Or, if a dealer is offering a choice between zero percent financing and a cash rebate, you can have your cake and eat it too by simply taking the cash rebate and using the low-interest financing you've already secured.

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