Is A Credit Pull Required To Test Drive A Car?

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Automotive Content Editor

Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


, Automotive Content Editor - March 28, 2022

A test drive is an integral part of getting a car loan, and it's how you truly know that a car is right for you. But what's required to test drive a car, and will a dealership pull your credit before you get behind the wheel? Here's what you need to know if you're concerned about whether or not a credit pull is really necessary.

Credit check required? A credit check isn't typically required to test drive a vehicle, though a valid driver's license is. Some dealerships may have a policy where they tell you it's required, but they can't pull your credit without your permission. When a dealer does this, they may be trying to see how serious you are about buying.

Two types of credit checks. If you're at a dealership truly intending to purchase a vehicle, your credit is going to be pulled at some point. Your permission comes when you fill out an application. This type of credit check, where you request a loan, is called a hard pull, and it may impact your credit by around 5 to 15 points. Don't worry though, the drop is temporary, and part of normal credit fluctuation.

There's another type of credit check that's called a soft pull. This happens when you aren't asking for a loan. For example, if you check your credit yourself, or if a lender checks your credit to send you a pre-approval without your request (like those credit card offers you get in the mail). These types of credit checks don't impact your credit.

Getting a car loan. Your credit check is only one part of your journey to a car loan, but it can impact the interest rates and terms you're able to get when you apply for a loan. The better your credit score is, the lower your rates may be. Other qualifications to be aware of are your income, employment status, and your willingness to use a down payment upfront.

Being prepared is also key to getting the best deals you can on your next vehicle. To this end, you should check your own credit before you head to the dealership, and research your options ahead of time.

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, Automotive Content Editor

Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


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