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Calculate Your Monthly Payment Before Visiting the Dealership!

Use GoodCar's free car loan calculator to check your car payment before visiting the dealership. Find out if you can afford your dream car or how much of a monthly payment you can afford.

Enter all the fields into the calculator and instantly see the results. Our figures are based on the vehicle's price, your trade-in, down payment, interest rate, and length of the loan. Keep in mind that these figures may not factor in any dealer rebates, manufacturer incentives, your credit score, or additional fees like document preparation, etc.

Car Loan Specifics

Buying a new or used car is exciting until you find out how much it will cost you. It is important to get all the facts before car shopping.

A monthly payment is only part of the equation. You must factor in maintenance, gas, insurance, and any repairs that may not be covered by a warranty.

When you apply for a car loan, understand that the lender will look at various factors. For example, a car loan should not be more than 10-15% of your net wages.

When a dealer gives you a monthly car payment, be sure to break it down so you know precisely how they derived at that figure. Car dealers have been known to pad invoices and add extra items to the price of the car as long as the monthly car payment meets the customer's expectations. Be sure to ask for the dealer invoice, read over the window sticker carefully, and compare the MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price) with the price they are charging you. Compare term lengths to ensure you are getting the best deal. Paying over more time will cost you more in interest.

Glossary of Car Loan Calculator Terms

Below is a glossary of our tool's car loan calculator terms. Please read them carefully to understand how each number factors into the whole.

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Purchase Price: The purchase price of a vehicle is the price you and the seller agree upon. It may be the sticker price, MSRP, or another price based on incentives, discounts, or inflation. The purchase price is the price you will pay to buy the car before any interest, taxes, or fees. The lower the purchase price, the lower your monthly payment will be, and you will pay less interest over time.

Down Payment: Typically, when you finance a new vehicle, the lender will require you to make a down payment in cash. This money will reduce the amount you finance and make your monthly payments lower. Generally, you should put down as much as you can and finance as little as possible. The higher your down payment, the less interest you will pay, and you may even qualify for lower interest rates.

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Trade In Icon, Car and Cash

Trade-In: If you have a vehicle that the dealership is interested in buying, you can trade it in to lower the cost of your new car. When you decide to trade in a vehicle, the dealer will thoroughly inspect it looking for issues. They will then give you a price they are willing to pay for it. If you agree that figure will be taken off the cost of the car and sometimes used for a down payment instead of cash. Keep in mind that often, you can get more selling your vehicle privately than trading it in at a dealership.

Loan Term (number of months): The loan term is the number of months you will have to make payments on your car before you pay it off. Typically, car loans last from 3 to 6 years. The longer the term, the more you will pay in interest. However, paying over a longer period will lower your monthly car payment.

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Interest Rate Icon, Signed Deal

Interest Rate: The interest rate for your loan will be based on your current credit score, the loan amount, the loan terms, the down payment, and the lender's specific lending criteria. You will get a lower interest rate if you put down a large down payment, choose a shorter term, and have a great credit score. Often credit unions and local banks offer better interest rates for car loans.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Loans

There is no quick or easy answer to this question. Sometimes manufacturers offer incentives or better deals such as zero percent interest rate when you finance through them. Often, you can get a great rate from your own bank or credit. Shop around for the best rates and terms before deciding.

Even if you pay a small extra amount with each car payment, your car will be paid off much faster, and you will save a lot on interest.

Use GoodCar's loan calculator to determine different monthly payments based on the price of the car, interest rate, and loan terms. Find the one you are most comfortable with before shopping. Only you and the lender can determine how much car you can afford.

Enter all the figures into the loan calculator and click the "Calculate" button. You can play around with different scenarios to see how things change based on different cars and other criteria.

Poor credit can affect you negatively in many ways. However, most lenders will provide financing for a car loan with specifics terms. You may have to pay a much higher interest rate, choose a shorter term, and may have to come up with a hefty down payment.

There is no minimum. Some people can get cars with zero down. Other car buyers may use their trade-in as a down payment. If you don't put down any money, your monthly car loan payment will be higher, and the interest rate might be more than if you did.

The national average for interest rates on car loans hovers around 5%. If you can do better than that, with dealer financing or putting down more money to reduce the interest rate, you will be doing well.

Depending on the interest rate and terms when you initially financed your car loan, it may or may not make sense to refinance. Check the remaining terms and interest rates and if you can do better, refinance. Sometimes people use their vehicles as collateral to take out a new, short-term loan when they need quick cash.