Money Matters

New Truck Financing

Whether it’s in the coming year or further down the road, you will likely be looking at purchasing a new vehicle at some point in the future.

Since most of us don’t have the extra cash lying around to buy a vehicle out right, financing becomes the biggest question after deciding which vehicle you want to purchase.

Prepare Yourself

Before you start actually shopping around for financing for your truck, it’s a good idea to do a little research and get prepared.

Do some web searches and get an idea of what interest rates you can expect. Then drop some numbers into an auto financing calculator to see what that is going to translate to for monthly payments.

One of the free online auto financing calculators that I like is at (just look under the Auto tab). This calculator has the option to drop in three different interest rates so you can compare what that does to your monthly payments and what it means as far as total interest you will pay over the life of the loan.

This gives you a chance to sit back, without the pressure of the financing manager at the dealer, and evaluate interest rates, terms and monthly payments before you have added the complication of deciding on a specific truck that you’ve just test driven.

Once you have done your homework and have an idea of what you expect as far as terms and rates, then you’re ready to head out and check out your options.


I have always liked the idea of getting my own financing before I go into the dealership. I feel like I have more negotiating power when the dealer knows I’m not dependent on their financing office to facilitate the purchase of my vehicle.

Financing from traditional banks and credit unions are often a good route to go, especially if you already have a long-term relationship with one of these institutions. Just check with your bank or credit union the next time you stop by and see what they have for current offers.

Having a personal banker who can get the paperwork going for you and find you the best deal is beneficial.

On the other hand, don’t limit yourself to looking at only your current bank – research what offers are available and go after the best deal, wherever it’s at.

I’d especially recommend checking out the credit unions in your local area, even if you aren’t currently a member. A lot of credit unions have pretty broad membership criteria, so it’s likely you will qualify to join.

Credit unions tend to be smaller and have quicker service and more personal interaction with you as a customer. I have experienced quick turn around and excellent customer service with the vehicles I have financed through a credit union (and the best interest rate).

Dealership or No Dealership…

With all that said, let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.

Armed with your research and educated expectations, it is definitely worth your while to look into truck manufacturer and dealer incentives and financing offers. They regularly offer incentives such as zero percent financing, no payments for 90 days, cash rebates and additional money on your trade-in.

Find out what the manufacturer is currently offering and check out the dealers in your area as well, who sometimes offer their own incentives.

The key is – don’t go into the dealership without doing your homework first.

If you can get a great financing offer at a dealership, there’s no reason not to take advantage of it. Just make sure you keep the vehicle pricing and financing negotiations separate – don’t let incentives or zero percent financing distract you from ensuring you get a good price on your truck as well.

Don’t Forget the Web

Web-based auto loans have become very popular. It is common to have the option to apply on-line for a vehicle loan with your own bank or credit union, but there are also a myriad of options on the internet of other companies offering a quick decision on your vehicle financing application.

This can be a good option, if you want to handle the application process from your office.

Again, the important point is to research the internet lenders before you give them all your information.

Look for reviews and ratings of their current customers and make sure they are a solid, legitimate business.

Dealerships and manufacturers are also now offering online credit applications. You can eliminate hours spent in the dealership financing office by getting the financing application and approval taken care of before you even step foot on the car lot.

It pays to take the time to go online and see what is available in your area.

Whichever option you choose, educate yourself and be prepared before you get to the car dealer’s doorstep. You will find it will save you money, time and headache in your vehicle purchasing process.

About the author: Robin Walton has been a licensed contractor for more than 20 years and has 16 years of financial accounting and systems experience. With a degree in accounting/economics and hands-on construction experience, she understands the day-to-day business of contractors and landscapers.