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Refinancing does start your auto loan over. When you refinance a car loan, you choose a new loan that has a different rate and possibly a different term. The new loan replaces your current loan.
Refinance terms offered by lenders most commonly are from two to seven years. Although refinancing starts your loan over, you can choose a new loan term that is shorter, longer or similar to what was remaining on your original loan. Keep in mind that longer loans tend to carry higher rates.
Most lenders have requirements for when you can refinance your auto loan. Typically, you won't be able to refinance your original auto loan until it has been open for at least two to three months, allowing time for the title of your vehicle to transfer from the manufacturer or previous owner to your current lender.
Some lenders may require that you have at least a certain amount of time remaining on your loan as well. To see a benefit from refinancing, it's best to have at least two years remaining on an auto loan. More interest is paid in the beginning of a loan term, so there is less potential for savings if you refinance too late in the term.
Refinancing a car loan is typically a fast process, with some lenders able to approve and fund the loan on the day you apply.
Considering refinancing your auto loan?
You may benefit from auto loan refinancing in these situations:
Your finances have improved and your credit score has increased since taking on a car loan.
Interest rates for auto loans have decreased since you first got your loan.
You took a higher-rate loan at a dealership and think you could qualify for a better rate with a different lender.
You are having trouble making your monthly auto loan payment. Refinancing to a longer term can reduce your payment, but you could end up paying more interest over the life of the loan.
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Refinancing is an opportunity to start over with your loan, so take the time to apply with several auto loan refinancing lenders. Once you have all of your offers, you can use our auto loan refinance calculator to compare and find the auto loan that will benefit you the most.