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These days getting a car loan is commonplace and most car buyers are given a host of offers from both lenders and car dealerships.When looking at different car loans, there are several red flags that buyers should be aware of. Often there is a lot more to a car loan than first meets the eye. Here are three things you need to know of before taking on a car loan.

Hidden fees and add-ons
The car finance market often highlights loans with very low or even 0% interest rates. While these offers seem appealing on the surface, they typically come with a catch. Many of these seemingly helpful car loans hide behind the offer of low interest rates but come with a range of hidden fees and unnecessary add-ons. These can significantly inflate the overall cost to the car buyer.

Before committing to any car loan, it’s vital that you examine the fine print. Ensure you know every aspect of the car loan agreement and don’t hesitate to ask questions. If a salesperson or lender is overly pushy or fails to provide transparent information, consider it a red flag. Avoid falling for any high-pressure tactics and any optional services that don’t genuinely enhance the value of your car purchase.

Expensive penalties for early payment
While it’s common for car loans to impose penalties for early repayments, excessively high penalties should raise concerns. Lenders have a vested interest in collecting interest payments over the loan term. However, exorbitant penalties can discourage borrowers from paying off their loans ahead of time, saving them money.

Paying off a loan early can be a smart financial move, as it reduces its overall cost. If a car loan has high penalties for early payment, it’s worth exploring alternative options with more favourable terms. Look for lenders that support early repayment without imposing unreasonable financial burdens on buyers.

Guaranteed approval
A big red flag for a car loan is the promise of ‘guaranteed approval.’ While everyone would like fewer hassles in their life, there should be no guarantees when it comes to finance. Reputable lenders and dealerships all use responsible lending practices. They assess your credit score and financial history to determine your ability to repay the loan and establish an affordable amount you can reasonably borrow.

The most effective way to avoid many of these issues is to work with a finance broker. They can compare your options so you have a clear understanding of what you can borrow, that way, when you go to buy you have a known budget that you can work with.