I Refinanced My Auto Loan

Last year we refinanced our home mortgage and saved a bunch of money, but at the time it didn’t occur to me to refinance my auto loan.

In preparation for replacing our second car I was reading The Biggest Lies Car Manufacturers and Dealerships Tell to Sell You a Car and I recognized one: You Don’t Have to Finance Through the Dealership. With our first car that’s exactly what I did, not realizing I had the option to shop around. So as preparation for finding a new loan, I decided to refinance the loan we had and in the process find out how it works and who has the best rates.

My current loan is with TD Auto Finance at 3.99%. Not horrible, but I’ll save a bunch if I can get down at least .75% on a 48 month loan. Here’s what I did:

  1. Contacted TD via secure website message to see if they would refinance me. They responded, “Unfortunately, as an indirect lender, TD Auto Finance is unable to offer a refinance option at this time.”
  2. Asked the local bank where we scored an awesome home mortgage rate, but they don’t offer auto loans.
  3. Tried LendingTree and received four “quotes” — two lenders that wouldn’t give me a rate unless I called them, one that gave me a range of rates, and one (CapitalOne) that gave me an actual rate of 2.99%. For the amount of personal information I forked over, the results were disappointing. Still, I was happy to get one rate in my green zone.
  4. Talked to Chase where we have our checking account. I don’t have any great love for Chase, but operationally they work, there’s a lot of branches near me, and there’s a convenience to both myself and them of paying the loan out of the checking account. I walked into the branch hoping for a better, high-touch service, but their rate using the quick calculator wasn’t great: 3.64%. They offered to submit a loan application to see if their actuaries might do better, so we did. The next day they offered me 3.09%. I asked if they could beat Capital One’s rate. They asked for some more information about the car and then offered me 2.84%. I accepted, and stopped by the branch to sign the documents in about 30 minutes.

The upshot is now we’re saving $60/month on the loan. Yay! I’m paying $85 in fees to the state for transferring the title, but I’ll recoup that in less than two months.