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Auto loan affordability calculator

Estimate the monthly payments and total interest of your loan.

Calculating your monthly auto loan payment can help you determine exactly how much car you can afford before you even set foot at the dealership. Our car loan calculator can both help you estimate your monthly payment and the total interest you’ll pay over your loan term.

How to use the loan calculator

Your monthly payment depends on the total amount you borrow, your trade-in value, your loan term and your interest rate.

1. Select your loan term and interest rate

Enter your preferred auto loan term in years. You can pick from 24- to 72-months when you apply for a car loan, although 84-month terms aren’t uncommon for new cars.

The length of your loan will impact your monthly payments. The longer your term, the lower your monthly payments will be — but the more you’ll pay in interest. On the other hand, a shorter term means a higher monthly car payment but less paid in interest.

Your interest rate also plays a role in how much you can afford to spend. The better your credit score, the lower your interest rate will be — and the more car you’ll be able to buy.

2. Enter your income

You can enter your annual or monthly income to estimate how much car you can afford. And if you have any untaxed income or income from rental properties, enter them. These may mean you have extra flexibility when buying a car.

3. Enter your other expenses

Since your car loan should ideally be no more than 20% of your overall budget, enter any other loan or credit card payments into the car loan affordability calculator.

If you have dependents, enter them as well. This will help you get a more accurate estimate before you start shopping for a vehicle.

How much are the payments on a car loan?

To make the most out of our auto loan calculator, you’ll need to know your loan amount, term and potential interest rate. However, your monthly payments will also be affected by the sales tax in your state, your down payment, dealership fees, DMV fees and the trade-in value of your previous vehicle.

Current auto loan interest rates by credit score

Credit scoreAverage new car rateAverage used car rate
Excellent (super prime): 781 to 8502.41%3.71%
Very good (prime): 661 to 7803.54%5.54%
Good (near prime): 601 to 6606.64%10.43%
Fair (subprime): 501 to 60010.81%17.26%
Poor (deep subprime): 300 to 50014.66%21.07%

Source: Experian’s State of the Automotive Finance Market Report — Q1 2021

Compare auto loans

Select your credit score and state from the table to see lenders you might qualify for.

1 - 4 of 4
Name Product Filter Values Minimum credit score APR Loan term Requirements
LightStream Auto Loans
Good to excellent credit
2 to 7 years
Must have a good to excellent credit profile, be a US citizen or a permanent resident with a valid green card, have a valid Social Security number, credit card verification requested upon loan approval and have a valid US address.
Quick car loans from $5,000 to $100,000 with competitive rates for borrowers with strong credit.
Varies depending on the lender
3 to 6 years
Varies depending on the lender
CarsDirect auto loans
No minimum credit score
Varies by network lender
Must provide proof of income, proof of residence, and proof of insurance.
Save time and effort with this lending service specializing in beginner-friendly or subprime car loan.
No minimum credit score
3.9% to 27.9%
1 to 6 years
18+ years old, annual income of $4,000+, no active bankruptcies
Get pre-qualified for used car financing and receive competitive, personalized rates.

How do lenders determine my borrowing power?

Lenders consider your monthly living costs and weigh them against your monthly income to see if you can afford loan payments. However, it gets more involved when you factor in multiple incomes, credit card and other loan debts and financial dependents. And if this is your second vehicle, you may not qualify if you don’t have sufficient cash flow in your budget.

How can I increase my chances of approval?

If you want to qualify for a prime interest rate, you’ll need to demonstrate a strong ability to repay your loan. Here are a few tips:

  • Spend less. Opting for a used car or a new car with a lower price tag will reduce the amount you need to finance. This means a lower monthly payment and may help you score a lower interest rate.
  • Save for a larger down payment. Not only will a large down payment show you can handle your finances, it also helps you save on total vehicle costs.
  • Pay down your debts. A lower debt-to-income ratio increases your cash flow and may improve your credit score — helping you qualify for lower rates on an auto loan.
  • Add a cosigner. A cosigner can help increase your chances of qualify for an auto loan, especially if you have bad credit or insufficient income.
  • Shop around. Don’t just rely on dealer financing. Get preapproved for a loan from multiple lenders to see what kind of auto loan rates you may qualify for.

Bottom line

Remember to take into account fees and sales tax when determining how much you can spend on a car. You can compare more auto loans to find the best lender to finance your next ride.

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