How to Finance a Used Car


At Sheridan Nissan, we offer a wide selection of used cars to shoppers across New Castle, Wilmington, and Newark, Delaware. Along with that, we want to help you be as informed as possible throughout your all your automotive adventures.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to financing a used car at our dealership. As you read, feel free to contact a team member with any further questions you may have along the way!


Used Car Financing Terms

Financing Down Payment

When it comes to buying your next used car, it helps to be aware of some of the most common finance terms. A few of these include:

FICO Score A credit score for consumers issued by the Fair Isaac Corporation.
Down Payment Cash payment credited against the total cost of a used car, decreasing the remaining balance to be financed.
Monthly Payment Outstanding amount plus any interest, paid on a monthly basis, per the terms of an automotive financial agreement.

Step-By-Step Guide to Financing a Used Car

Guide to Financing a Used CarWhen it comes to financing a used car, you first want to determine your budget. This will help you narrow down your options and home in on models that fit your lifestyle, preferences, and target price range.

  1. Set Your Budget: As a good rule of thumb, it’s recommended to spend 10% to 15% of your income on all your automotive needs. These include your monthly auto loan payment, fuel, insurance coverage, and service. Once you have your budget set, you can shop for vehicles within your price range.
  1. Value Your Trade-in: When shopping for a car, many drivers want to get rid of their current set of wheels. Trading in your car is a quick and easy way to do this while also helping you make a larger down payment. In turn, this means you can take out a smaller car loan, reducing your monthly payments. To view an estimated value of your trade-in, head over to our Value Your Trade form.
  1. Get Pre-Approved for a Car Loan: If you choose to finance your used car rather than paying for it outright, you can get pre-approved for an auto loan online before you start to shop.
  1. Start Your Search: Once you know what kind of interest rate and monthly payments you can expect for your car loan, you can begin to narrow down your options. We offer both traditional used models and certified pre-owned (CPO) models.
  1. Read Vehicle History Reports: As you browse, check out vehicle history reports for your favorite models to evaluate their condition.

Once you’ve narrowed down the options and homed in on the used car with the features, specs, and price you want, you can officially apply for a car loan. Then, you’ll compare your offers from different lenders and pick the interest rate, loan term, and overall agreement that best suits your needs.

 

More Tips for Picking Out the Perfect Used Car

As you move through your used car search, we invite you to check out our vehicle reviews. Reading these will give you a better sense of what different models have to offer.

Additionally, you can check out used car rankings online along with safety ratings from trusted sources like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and Kelley Blue Book®.

Refine Your Used Car Search

Conducting automotive research can further help you narrow down your options based on features, specs, performance, and more. It’s also useful to create a list of your top priorities, such as your preferred:

  • Year
  • Mileage
  • Trim level and more!

Once you have an idea of the type of used car you want, you can then schedule your test drives before you make your final decision. This will give you the opportunity to spend some time behind the wheel to truly get a feel for each of the models on your short list.

How Can I Improve My Credit Score Before I Buy a Used Car?

Since your credit score is one factor that impacts the type of auto loan you can get, it’s important to check your credit score before you get pre-approved for financing or apply for a car loan.

Another factor that impacts your credit score is your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit you’re using divided by how much credit you have available. Along with that, it helps to have a healthy mix of credit, including a combination of both credit cards and loans.

Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

If your credit score isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, there are a few steps you can take to improve it before buying your next used car. First, you’ll want to verify that all the information on your current credit report is accurate. If you notice any discrepancies, you can then dispute them. After that, you’ll want to:

  • Get up to date with any past-due payments
  • Set alerts to stay current with all future bills
  • Leave any unused credit lines open

By following these steps, you can continue to boost your credit score and secure a car loan for your next set of wheels.

What Is Nissan Certified Pre-Owned (CPO)?

At our dealership, we carry both traditional used cars and certified pre-owned (CPO) models. Nissan CPO vehicles are models that have passed a comprehensive 167-point vehicle inspection by a qualified technician.

Certified Pre-Owned Perks

On top of that, our Nissan CPO cars all have fewer than 80,000 miles on their odometers. They also come with special perks to give you extra peace of mind before you buy, such as:

  • Roadside Assistance
  • Limited warranty coverage
  • CARFAX® Vehicle History Report and more!

CPO Nissan models offer the best of both worlds thanks to benefits like these that help you drive off the lot with confidence for miles to come.

 


Payment Calculator

Explore Our Used Car Financing Tools

For your convenience, we also offer a few financing tools you can access online. These will enable you to jump-start the financing process from the comfort of your own home. Our virtual finance tools include:

With these tools at your disposal, you can compare used car loan estimates, estimate the value of your current car as a trade-in at our dealership, and even get pre-approved for an auto loan before you arrive.


Slide Into the Driver’s Seat of Your Next Used Car Today

To take the next step toward buying a used car, browse through our inventory online. Also, be sure to check out the auto financing offers we currently have available.

Then, contact us at Sheridan Nissan to schedule your used car test drives near New Castle, Wilmington, or Newark, DE!


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114 S Dupont Hwy • New Castle, DE 19720

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Sheridan Nissan 39.66374, -75.604525.