Sudden and unexpected car repairs can be costly. How would you pay for unanticipated work? 

If you’re like 29% of Americans, your savings just aren’t enough to repair your vehicle in time. You would take out a personal loan to get the fast cash you need instead. 

Borrowing a personal loan can be a strategic financial move since there are options that may help you address urgent car issues without delay. The trick is finding a personal loan that fits your budget, so you can realistically afford your monthly payments.

Check out these borrowing tips to help you search for such a loan.

Shop Around 

If you rely on your car to get to work or important medical appointments, you can’t wait for repairs. You need your vehicle back on the road as quickly as possible.

With this kind of time crunch, you might feel compelled to rush through the borrowing process, picking the first (and potentially only) personal loan you find online. 

Against the odds, you might find a loan that works with your budget, but you face an even greater chance you don’t. Even if you can afford your terms, you can unintentionally lock yourself into a loan that costs more than other options.

If you just give yourself time to relax and shop around, you might uncover more than just one affordable choice. Be sure to check with at least five financial institutions to get a feel for what you qualify, checking a mix of big banks, digital platforms, credit unions, and online direct lenders. 

Use Payment Calculators

Legitimate online loan companies spell out the true cost of borrowing one of their products. Their website should show the APR as well as a breakdown of their fees and schedule. This information provides a good base of information, but you should do a little more tinkering with the numbers to see if your loan is the right choice.

Slug your principal, interest, and finance charges, and term into a couple of payment calculators. These online tools can help you determine if you can truly afford the payments each month. 

Pay Attention to Loan Term

Plenty of factors play into how much you pay for your loan. However, interest and term are two of the biggest players of them all. Consider what both bring to your loan. 

Generally speaking, you want to find the lowest interest rate for which you can qualify, but you should also consider how long this loan will remain in your budget. 

Timing is important with any vehicle because of wear and tear, but it’s especially important with older cars. You don’t want to sign up for a loan only to have to make additional repairs soon after the ink dries. Or worse, your loan outlasts your car.

Drivers, Look to the Future

Every car runs into unexpected trouble eventually, even new leases or luxury brands. Keep this in mind as you sit down with your budget. You should play around with this spending plan to set aside some cash in an emergency fund. 

Your emergency fund balance acts as a personal financial KPI — the higher the number, the easier you’ll handle the unexpected. 

Admittedly, saving might be challenging when you have loan payments due but try anyway. Even $10 a month will help you in the long run. Eventually, try to up this amount to $80 a month to develop a capable emergency fund for your vehicle.