Car Loan Payment Calculator
Use our car finance calculator below to see your estimated monthly payments. Having your monthly car payment calculation in hand will not only give you more negotiating power as you search for the perfect car near you, but it will also simplify the entire buying process.
Vehicle Price $5,000
*Title and other fees and incentives are not included in this calculation, which is an estimate only. Monthly payment estimates are for informational purposes and do not represent a financing offer from the seller of this vehicle. Other taxes may apply.
How to Use the Car Payment Estimator
To use the auto calculator efficiently, you must gather a few numbers before heading to the dealership. Accuracy in your calculations will lead to a more truthful monthly car payment.
Here’s a closer look at the different numbers that will make up your car payment:
- Trade-In Value: Unless you’re buying your first or an additional car, most buyers will be able to trade in their current car and put money down towards your new car. You can determine how much your car is worth at Cars.com or various other online resources.
- APR: The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost you pay each year to borrow money, including fees, expressed as a percentage. This is different than the interest rate as the latter does not include fees to obtain the loan. Your APR will be based on your credit score, current economic conditions, your lender, the car and more. Nevertheless, the higher APR, the more you’re going to pay.
- Term: This is the length of the loan or how long it will take you to pay it off. You can obtain a loan for however long you wish, but most loan terms are for 60 months (five years), 48 months (four years) or 36 months (3 years).
- Vehicle Price: The total price of the car. Remember that you don’t need to accept the sticker price of the car. All dealers are willing to negotiate final car prices. If they don’t, find another dealer nearby.
- Down Payment: You should put down at least 10 percent of the total cost for a down payment to limit your APR and monthly loan payments. In fact, experts at Cars.com recommend at least 20 percent, if you can afford it. And remember, your trade-in value can go towards your down payment.
- Sales Tax: Every state is different. You can find your sales tax at your local DMV, a state government website or by just calling a local dealer.
Car Search: Find Your Perfect Car
What to do Before Auto Loan Calculation
Before you fill in our car loan calculator, you have to do your research. First and foremost, determine how much you can afford. You need a maximum budget in mind before and during your negotiations. Those who don’t come up with a number almost always pay more than they planned.
Next, determine the make, model and trim level you desire. There are hundreds of different models out there, all coming with their pros and cons. Cars.com can help you determine the perfect make and model with their Matchmaker tool.
Once you have a specific car in mind, look up average prices near you. No matter what year you’re eyeing, we found the average prices for 20 of our top-selling cars at Cars Near Me.
Now, enter your numbers into the auto finance calculator above. Take your estimated payment number and use it as you negotiate with the dealership.
How to Negotiate & Lower Your Auto Loan Payments
The key to any negotiation is arming yourself with as much information as possible. The more knowledge you possess, the more control of the negotiation you’ll have. Because you did your research, have a max budget, know your ideal car, researched average prices in the area and gathered an accurate monthly payment calculation, you’ll have the leverage with any dealer.
Before you head to the dealership, consider the time of year, month or week. In fact, research shows that dealers drop prices early in the week, end of the month or quarter, on holidays, or at the end of the model year. Showing up on the dealer lot on a specific day can potentially save you thousands.
When negotiating with a dealer, you should always ask for the total, out-the-door cost. This is the final price of the car plus additional tax, title and license plate fees associated with each vehicle on the lot. Let this price serve as a starting point for negotiations.
All sales reps should be happy to provide any and all information. If they hesitate, you should find another dealership or sales rep to work with. Always know that you have the upper hand. Undoubtedly, there are similar cars at dealers nearby. Therefore, don’t be afraid to step off the lot. If the salesperson is quoting prices much higher than your research or refuses to answer simple questions about the car or loan, walk away.
Loan Calculator Q&A
As you’ve read above, research is key to any negotiation. To ensure you have the best odds of securing the best deal, we’ve gathered some of the most common car shopper and car loan calculator questions and answers:
Where Can I Secure Financing?
Car shoppers can secure financing from a bank, credit union or the dealership directly. To ensure you get the best loan, you should go to all three and see all interest rates.
What is the Minimum Down Payment for a Car Loan?
You should put down at least 10 percent of the total cost for a down payment to limit your APR and monthly loan payments. In fact, experts recommend at least 20 percent, if you can afford it.
What Is a Good Interest Rate on a Car Loan?
Car loan interest rates change frequently. Your interest rate will be based on your credit score, current economic conditions, your lender, the car and more. Nonetheless, as of 2019, average interest rates range from 4 percent to 6 percent.
How do I Determine the Trade-in Value of my Car?
You can determine how much your car is worth at Cars.com, Kelley Blue Book or various other online trade-in value tools. You can also search cars for sale on Auto.com to get average prices for similar vehicles.
How Much of a Car Loan Can I Get?
The only way to determine an accurate total car loan estimate is to take your credit score and credit history to a bank, credit union or dealership. They’ll share the maximum car loan you can secure.
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