NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) -
Refinancing your car loan is much easier than refinancing your mortgage.
There's no appraisal process. And the fees -- if any -- are minimal. (You may have to pay $5 to $10 to your state's department of motor vehicles to get a new car title.)
Can you benefit? Yes, if one of the following applies:
* You didn't shop well in the first place.
* You still owe at least $7,500 on a car that's less than 5 years old.
* Your car is not worth less an the amount you owe. (If it is, you're said to be upside down).
* Your credit has improved since you bought the car.
To refi, find your car's value out of the Kelley Blue Book to be sure you're not in the dread upside-down category.
Then shop around. Use Money.com's interest rate page or Bankrate.com, where a nifty search engine can pinpoint the best rates in your area.
If you belong to a credit union, call it as well. (Credit unions have made a specialty of car loans and offer lower-than-average rates. To find one you can join, visit the Credit Union National Association online.)
When you find what you think is the best rate for you, don't hesitate -- just go for it. There's very little downside.
But the one thing you don't want to do is extend the term of your loan. Most lenders will happily match the term on your loan, even if it's between their normal terms of 36, 48 and 60 months.
To figure your savings, just subtract your new monthly payment from your old one.
FOUND MONEY: $______/MONTH