In a world of uncertainty surrounding the dos and don'ts of coronavirus, quarantine, and the confusion about whether or not you should make major purchases during the global COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few things that remain the same. One of these is that there's a no return policy on vehicle purchases. It's important to be 100% sure that you can live with the car you're financing before you sign on the dotted line.
Reach Out to Your Lender
If you recently purchased a vehicle and have since been impacted by the impact of COVID-19, the first thing you should do is talk to your lender. You most likely won't be able to return a newly purchased car, but many automakers are offering programs to help those in need.
These programs are coming in the form of payment deferments, loan forbearances, and even lease extensions. These offers aren't available to everyone, or from every lender, but you won't know if your lender offers something like this until you contact them to find out if they can help you.
Think About Your Next Car
If you’re struggling with your current car loan, and your current lender can't help you out, you might consider trading your vehicle in for something else. You may not be able to complete the trade in process right now, but you can start looking for a replacement car.
Since you can't cancel an auto loan, you need to make sure your next vehicle meets your needs right from the start. This means knowing your driving needs, or what they’ll be once any stay-at-home orders are lifted in your state. If you're purchasing a car as a bad credit borrower, make sure that you're searching for a vehicle that's both affordable and reliable, and preferably one that holds its value.
In a normal situation, this would mean spending time at a dealership, or several dealerships, looking at makes and models in person. Right now, this is difficult due to shelter-in-place orders closing many showrooms. So, what do you do instead? Reach for your mouse or your phone, and start searching online.
Ways to Research a Vehicle You Love
If you're planning on getting another vehicle, hopefully one that doesn't give you buyer's remorse, you should complete as many steps as possible before contacting a dealer or a lender. This means going more in-depth than just finding a car you like the looks of on an automaker’s website.
Since you can't go to the dealership right now to test drive vehicles to your heart's content, you have to get a little creative with your information gathering. Find a car that you're interested in and check reviews on several sites. See if you can find a site that has both exterior and interior images of the vehicle, and one that utilizes 360-degree viewing. Finding out what different reviewers think can give you a broader picture of a car than its automaker’s homepage.
If you're serious about the real-world experiences of someone who isn't an expert, look for consumer reviews on the make and model you're considering. This is a really good idea whenever you're making a major purchase, because it gives you the take on a product from everyday people.
To get the lowdown on gas mileage and safety ratings, visit sites like the U.S. Department of Energy's www.fueleconomy.gov, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website www.iihs.org or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website https://www.nhtsa.gov/. Each can give you more information than you're likely to find elsewhere.
Waiting to Trade In Your Car
Once you've completed the research you can do from home, you should wait to trade in your car until you can test drive something else – you don't want to end up in the same situation you're in now with another vehicle you're not satisfied with.
See if car dealerships are accepting appointments in your state, or if you have to wait until any government orders are lifted.
When the bans on social gathering lift, trading in an unwanted car is a great alternative, since you can't just cancel your current auto loan. If you have equity in your vehicle, you should have no problem paying off your loan and using the surplus cash toward a down payment on your next car.
However, if you owe more on your vehicle than it's worth, you may want to wait even longer to make a trade. If you don't, you run the risk of owing the lender a good chunk of change, or getting sucked into a rollover with a new lender, which makes your loan more expensive.
Let Us Help You Get Started
When you're ready to find a dealership for your next car loan, let Auto Credit Express help. We're teamed up with a network of dealers all across the country that have lenders available to help people in many types of credit situations, including bad credit, no credit, and even bankruptcy.
We want to connect you to a local dealership that's open and ready to help you out. To get started, simply fill out our secure auto loan request form and we'll get to work for you. Since you can do this from the comfort of your own home, you can stay safely socially distanced and still start your next car buying journey!