Keep your credit score in good shape for the best rates!Why You Must know Your Credit Score

If your credit is already bad, the last thing you want to do is make it worse by going from dealer to dealer looking for a loan, resulting in "hit" after "hit" on your credit report. Just what are "hits" and why do they matter so much?

When someone looks up your credit report, it results in an inquiry or "hit", which is recorded and usually takes a few points off of your score. If you are teetering on the edge of not being approved, then getting one hit too many can push you over the edge.

The good news is that you don't get penalized when you check your score. So you can keep on eye on how close you are from a poor credit score and how many hits you may be able to afford, without it affecting your chances of getting a car loan.

Although most dealers are reputable, some dealers may run your credit even if you ask them not to. Therefore, it is a good idea to check your own credit (since you don't get penalized for it) and see which dealers ran your credit and which didn't.

Since hits can damage your score, many car buyers rightfully want to know if they have even a small chance of approval before letting a dealership run their credit. It might be wise to take a copy of your credit report(s) and score(s) along with you and let the dealer have a glance at them.

While salesmen working for larger dealerships usually don't make the final decision (they just run your credit and the computer gives them a green or red light,) salesmen at smaller dealerships may have more of a say. This is especially true if they are running their own "buy here, pay here" lot.

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