For those with spotless credit, shopping around for an auto loan isn’t that big of a deal. But when you have credit that is less than perfect or in recovery, you should be more concerned about submitting a bunch of applications. When you submit a loan application, the dealership Finance and Insurance, or F&I, department will check your credit. This is known as a hard credit inquiry. When you are looking for a car, the credit agencies know that you will want to shop around, so any auto loan inquiries that take place within a 14 to 45 day window will only count as one, and typically won't negatively affect your score.