There's a new report out from The Center for Responsible Lending that reminds me of an old journalism tip: these people are not your friends. In journalism that refers to your sources and the people you cover; in used cars it refers to dealers who arrange your financing.
I'm not being anti-dealer when I say that. The Center for Responsible Lending (which just proves there is a center for everything) determined through a study that, on average, consumers who don't arrange financing ahead of time typically face higher interest rates of 1 to 2%. The whole thing is explained in an article on used car financing that I published.
It sounds minor but it adds up to billions of dollars a year that consumers are paying in unnecessary costs. Sure, it's only a few hundred bucks to the consumer but look how widespread the impact can be (and why dealers are so willing to do it.)