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4 minutes read Read Published January 04, 2023.

Written by Allison Martin Written by

Allison Martin’s career began more than 10 years ago as a digital media strategist. She’s been featured in a variety of top financial media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, MoneyTalksNews , Investopedia, Experian and Credit.com.

Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain the confidence to control their finances through providing clear, well-researched facts that break down otherwise complicated topics into bite-sized pieces.

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You’ve refinanced your car a long time ago, to secure an affordable monthly installment, but now you’re curious to know when you could refinance your car if you find a better rate. Maybe you’re considering a refinance in the beginning and wondering whether you’ll have the chance to later refinance. Either way, it could be a wise financial decision. However, you must be aware of the pros and cons and the requirements for refinancing prior to proceeding. You might find other alternatives that do not require refinancing are better. How many times could you refinance a car? If you’ve already done it, you’re able to do it again. In reality, there’s no legal limit on the number of times you are able to refinance if it’s possible to find a lender willing to assist you with the transaction. « Vehicle refinancing is not limited by the age and value that the car is worth, » states Christina Naylor the chief operating officer of Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union. If you refinance several times, you may be more difficult to secure a new auto loan with competitive terms. Some lenders view steeper terms as the chance of default is greater. « The problem is, why do they continue refinancing? » Naylor says. « Are they using equity or cash to pay down debts that are revolving and then immediately running up the balances on their credit cards? This is a risk to the lender and it’s a bad strategy for the creditor. » What is the time limit to you refinance your car? There is no legal requirement that specifies an exact timeframe to refinance. If you find that a lender will consider refinancing your loan soon after it’s funded then you may be in luck. However, it might not be a wise financial decision, particularly when you’re thinking about a refinance when the depreciation rate has reached its peak early in the vehicle’s lifespan. There are reasons not to make more than one loan But there are times when refinancing more than one time isn’t wise. You may face a prepayment penalty. Your current lender might charge you fee for paying the loan early. Fees will add up. There are loan origination and title transfer fees, which are standard with refinancing transactions. These costs can add up over the course of several refinances, together with the extra interest you may pay if you extend the loan duration. You may have to pay more than the vehicle is worth. Another aspect to be considered when refinancing more than once is how it affects depreciation. In general, refinancing more than once causes you to owe more than the value of your car and is known as . This is a problem when you want to sell or trade your vehicle prior to the time you pay off your loan or if your vehicle becomes unusable. You may damage your score on credit. Credit inquiries can remain in your credit file for up to 2 years, however they will only affect your score for 12 months. If you refinance more than once within an extremely short time, the additional inquiries may affect your credit score . Refinancing conditions Lenders often have guidelines that you have to meet in order for refinancing your car such as: Age The majority of lenders will insist that your vehicle is at least 10 years old. of age. However, if you’re refinancing for the second, third or even the fourth time, your vehicle’s age could be over the threshold and make it unsuitable to refinance. Value: The car should never be valued less than what the amount you owe on the loan. It’s not difficult to go upside down on your auto loan If you make more than one refinance, making this requirement problematic for some borrowers. Mileage: Most lenders limit vehicle mileage to 150,000 or 100,000 miles for refinances. If you’ve owned the vehicle for a while, you may have many more miles than lenders allow. How can I ensure I am getting the best rate when I refinance my vehicle loan? Refinancing your vehicle can result in significant savings, therefore it’s important to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best rate possible. Your first step should be to take a look at the current car loan. Check the loan terms, including interest rate and loan length. Also, take a peek at your credit report to determine whether it’s better than it was when you applied for your current loan. It could be a good idea refinance at a bank or credit union with which you are a member. This could increase your chances of being approved and you could be able to get a lower rate due to your connection to the lender. It is also important to examine rates and terms offered by different lenders, like banks and online lenders. If possible, prior to you submit a complete application. This can help you better make comparisons between loan options and increase your chance of getting approved. After narrowing down your options you can use an application to evaluate the loan offers. Pay close attention to the prepayment penalties and fees. Make sure the savings outweigh any expenses that are associated with refinancing. How to reduce the cost of your monthly payments If are considering refinancing but you find that refinancing doesn’t seem like the best option, you can consider these alternatives: Change your loan. Contact your lender and ask to someone from the loss mitigation department to . Let the representative know that you’re experiencing financial hardship and ask about alternatives to make your auto loan less expensive and to avoid repossession. Switch your vehicle to a cheaper option. Look through the options at local dealers and make a an inventory of cars with low prices and monthly payments that won’t make your budget stretch too far. Reduce your options by visiting the dealership. negotiate a deal that gets you a fair price as well as the car you purchase. Sell your car privately. You may get top dollar for your car by selling it using your own. When the transaction is concluded then use the money to finance a downpayment on a new or used car. Be aware that the current vehicle shortage is a problem, and it could take a while to find the right vehicle at an attractive price. Next steps Whether your credit has improved since taking out your car loan or you have already refinanced before and would like better loan conditions and a lower monthly payment, you can take another shot at refinancing. But before you move forward make sure that the benefits outweigh the costs and research lenders to find the best deals to maximize your dollars. Otherwise, consider modifying your existing loan to secure the best deal, in the event that refinancing isn’t financially sense. It is also possible to trade your car into or sell it privately if refinancing isn’t the most beneficial option for you. Learn more

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Written by

Allison Martin’s work began over 10 years ago as a digital media strategist, and she’s since been featured in a variety of top financial outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, MoneyTalksNews , Investopedia, Experian and Credit.com.

Editor: Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain the confidence to control their finances through providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down otherwise complicated topics into bite-sized pieces.

Auto loans editor

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