Finding the right car loan can be overwhelming. Whether you’re buying a new car or a used one, you’re probably looking for the lowest rate and monthly payment. Depending on your credit score, lenders may be more or less willing to work with you to find the best auto loan.

Between choosing the length of the loan to negotiating a lower rate, there are several factors that go into selecting a car loan. If you’re ready to apply for an auto loan, keep these tips in mind while you’re shopping around.

Verify your credit score.

If you’re not sure how if you have excellent credit or you simply haven’t checked your credit score in a while, you should use a free credit score tool to get your number. By getting a free credit score, you’ll have a better idea as to what loan offers you’ll be presented by lenders. Of course, excellent credit is ideal. It can help you get the best deal, especially for new vehicles. A great option is to discuss this with your credit union. A federal credit union may be more likely to give you the best terms possible. Unlike commercial lenders in the United States, like Bank of America and U.S. Bank that have higher-rate loans, a credit union may offer lower monthly payments pending a soft pull for credit approval. Of course, a bad credit score can negatively impact your terms for the life of the loan.

Use a comparison tool.

If you need help deciding between different auto loans and monthly payments, you may want to use a comparison tool. You’ll want to put in some key information. This will include the model year and age of vehicle, the automaker, and whether you’re looking for a new car loan or used car loan. A comparison tool can show you whether certain lenders have a minimum loan amount and give you an estimated annual percentage rate based on the overall loan amount. A comparison tool is the best option for finding the lowest-rate car loans possible, but this comes with some caveats.

Read the fine print.

Sometimes, there’s a big difference between a low-interest rate and the best interest rate. The best auto loan rate or personal loan is one that has a solid annual percentage rate, doesn’t require a massive monthly payment, and allows for more flexible payment terms. The best rate isn’t always the lowest possible auto loan rate. Especially for new cars, the lower the interest rate, the more restrictive the terms of the loan may be. If you’re getting a loan through a private party, you may want to request an upfront copy of the loan paperwork so you can review the details on your own time. If you’re struggling to parse the dense jargon in the loan paperwork, a great option is to reach out to a financial adviser. They can help you navigate the auto loan details more effectively. An auto loan calculator can be useful too.

Pay ahead of schedule.

This one doesn’t just apply to auto loans. As with any loan, the sooner you’re able to repay the loan, the sooner lenders are willing to discuss the terms and interest rates. While you don’t have to devote massive amounts of your income to loan payments, paying more than the minimum loan amount can help you secure better terms if you ever need to refinance or secure another loan in the future. Plus, it can improve your credit score.

Finding the best auto loan rate takes time and effort. There are so many variables to consider that it’s often hard to choose between lenders and annual percentage rates. By following some key tips, you’ll be more likely to choose the best auto loan for your needs.