Here are tips to consider as you finance your next vehicle: (1) skip as much financing as you can. A large down payment can give you instant equity, shorten the term of your loan and save big money on interest. (2) do your homework. Before applying for a car loan, check your credit report and score; (3) get your loan first. But if you are approved for a loan from your bank or credit union, you may have more flexibility in getting the best rate, negotiating the purchase price or being able to accept cash back in lieu of dealer financing; (4) aim for a loan of five years or less; and (5) get the extras like protection packages and extended warranties elsewhere. If you truly need what your dealer is selling, you can probably buy it for less from a third party. Learn more about car buying at Military.com.