Refinancing an auto loan can be beneficial, if done correctly, particularly in difficult economical times. Ironically, a large percentage of consumers don't even realize it's possible to refinance an auto loan.
The process of refinancing an auto loan is similar to refinancing a mortgage. The borrower seeks out a loan with better terms or a lower interest rate and the new lender becomes the official owner of the vehicle until the loan is paid in full.
Refinancing an auto loan can be desirable for a couple of big reasons. Even the slightest improvement in a borrowers credit rating can result in the availability of a more manageable interest rate. Another reason would be to extend the length of the loan which generally makes for smaller overall payments.
Borrowers should beware of lending institutions that promise cash out of the refinance or terms that seem too good to be true. In most cases if it seems too good to be true it probably is. Also it's important to not stretch the length of the loan for too many years in the hopes of dramatically lowering the monthly payment. The value of a newer vehicle decreases rapidly within the first few years after initial purchase and one could easily find themselves trapped upside down in a loan.
Interest rates fluctuate enough that it is possible that six months to a year after initial purchase the average rate is several points below that of the borrower's current rate. If the borrower has a decent credit rating and does their homework they may be able to secure a refinanced auto loan that brings the interest rate down significantly.