Some people don’t know the first thing about car loans. They see a car they want and hastily decide into car ownership, fully unaware of the consequences. Jumping into the fray without knowing what you’re in for can lead to a lot of heartbreak, especially if your car loan application is rejected.

When it comes to car loan applications, educating yourself is the key, and there are a number of ways to avoid disheartening disappointments while making sure your application gets approved fast. Here are ten ways to get your car loan application approved:

Save up

Saving for a down payment is the most important thing that you can do to get approved fast. The best lenders won’t consider you seriously if you’re not willing to invest a large amount upfront. A 20 percent down payment is a good place to start, but the more money you can put down, the faster (and better) things will work out for you.

Evaluate your financial status

Before talking to a lender, you’ll want to evaluate the three things that they’re sure to look at first, namely your income, credit history, and debt-to-service ratio, or the percentage of your income that will go toward your monthly car payments. If you must, talk to a financial advisor to identify if you are in a good position to apply for a car loan with your current financial situation.

Clean up your credit history

Having unsettled credit is a major red flag for loan providers. After all, it can be risky for them to invest in someone who doesn’t demonstrate good payment behavior. You should endeavor to show your lender a good credit history, and you can do so by paying your bills on time, paying off credit card balances, and if you have any unpaid loans, settle them and obtain a certificate of payment from your lender. If you have an existing credit you can’t pay off immediately, you need to secure documents proving your ability to pay. The goal here is to make the lender see that you’re fully capable of paying the loan you’re applying for on top of the loan that you have.

Get pre-approved

Getting pre-approved for a car loan before you start shopping is the responsible way to begin the car buying process. A pre-approval can provide you with information on how much you can afford and the interest rate you have to pay. On one hand, you’ll know how much you can set aside. On the other, you avoid falling in love with a vehicle that’s way above your pay grade.

Stick to your limits

After evaluating where you stand and getting pre-approved, you’ll be able to identify the loan duration and the monthly spending that you can reasonably take on. Don’t let lenders dictate how much you can spend on a car loan. Rather than purchase a luxury car because the lender says you can, be smart and keep you monthly car payments within your means.

Stay in your job for at least two years

“Save up for a down payment, clean up my credit history, and now stay in my job for two years? I thought this was an article on how to get approved fast?” If you’re asking yourself this question, we’re sorry if the title of this article misled you, but the truth is, it takes a lot of work to have a car application approved fast. As they say, nothing worth having comes easy. That said, having a two-year minimum work history with your current employer boosts your chances of getting a car loan approved quickly. If you don’t have two years yet, you can still get approved as long as you provide an acceptable explanation for your change of employer.

Avoid new debt

Your worries don’t end when your car loan gets approved. For your peace of mind, it’s important to avoid acquiring another debt while going through the car loan process. A diligent lender can review your credit before closing, and if your credit report reveals any unwanted changes, this can stop the loan from closing, which ultimately prevents you from being a proud car owner.

Know your car loan requirements

Different lenders have different requirements for their car loan. Do some research to learn what’s required of you for each loan and/or lender that you’re interested in. You may be in a good position for a car loan today, but upon learning your requirements, you may realize that you still have work to do. For instance, do you have a copy of your tax return for the last two or three years? Some lenders actually require this. Get a firm understanding of what the loan requires and then start from there.

Be truthful with your financial details

It’s important that you don’t inflate your income or lie about details in your loan application. Lenders are sure to double-check the info that you provide, and if there’s anything amiss, not only will your loan be denied, you could hurt your chances of getting any kind of loan at all, now and in the future. You could also end up facing criminal charges, especially if you are unable to make payments on the loan while being dishonest with your personal info. The consequences are definitely not worth it, so be sure the details you submit are all correct and accurate to your best knowledge.

Get expert help

It wouldn’t hurt for you to talk to a car loan broker. These professionals have extensive network of lenders that they’re connected to, and applying through them could give you access to providers you may not even know or heard of if you apply of your own. Through their well-established connections, you get the chance to find the best provider with the best rates. Their expertise can also guide through the loan process from start to finish, which can speed up the process immensely.