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It is best to secure auto financing before heading to a car dealership to find a car to buy. Although dealerships are often able to offer fantastic interest rates, it is a good idea to get approved for a loan through your local bank beforehand. Why? Having an approved bank auto loan allows you to have negotiating power. The salesperson knows that you already have the financing for a car, and therefore all they need to do is talk you into purchasing a car instead of needing to go through the process of getting you approved for a loan. Being approved beforehand also lets you know exactly how much you can afford to spend, and should also give you an estimate of what your monthly payments will be. If it turns out that the dealership can offer you a better interest rate, then there is no reason why you can't cancel your pre-approved auto loan and obtain financing through the dealer. This way, you wind up with the very best interest rate you can possibly obtain.