Recent data from the national credit bureau TransUnion shows auto loan late payments have fallen to their lowest point in more than a decade, suggesting Americans may be getting back on-track with regards to their finances.
Auto loan delinquencies are when drivers miss a payment for more than 60 days, and TransUnion tracks this stat across the country. The most recent report, for the first quarter of 2012, shows the rate of delinquencies has fallen 27 percent over the past year, down to 0.36 percent of all loans. That's the lowest rate measured since TransUnion began tracking the data in 1999.
"Auto loan delinquencies continue to perform exceptionally. This can be attributed primarily to growing demand for both new and used vehicles and higher used vehicle values, which equates to an increase in equity for consumers," said Peter Turek, automotive vice president in TransUnion's financial services business unit.
With drivers up-to-date on their auto loans, more car owners will have money left over for vehicle maintenance. Putting off necessary auto repairs or ignoring scheduled maintenance like brake service can be dangerous, so those with the extra cash should be sure to spend some on their car's upkeep.