Car payment estimator

The process involved in buying a vehicle could be quite long. With decisions ranging from purchasing a used or new car to the type or brand of car to purchase; and whether to finance or lease the purchase, deep thinking has to be undergone before buying a vehicle. You will also have to go through the process itself, with all the different steps, laws, rules, and paperwork involved. One of the many processes involves estimating the car payment before going ahead to make a purchase.

More often than not, purchasing a vehicle requires significant financial investment. Even for a modestly priced car, many people would not be able to pay in cash. This means they would need to take out an auto loan in order to purchase a vehicle. When you decide to take out an auto loan, many factors come into play, which could be pretty confusing. This article discusses the various factors to be considered in estimating auto loan payments.

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Written by: Big Piggyy



Loan Term

14 days -60 months

Est. APR

% 390 - 445

Loan Amount

$100 - 15,000



Loan Term

14 days - 60 months

Est. APR

% 173.81 - 495.36

Loan Amount

$50 - $10,000



Loan Term

12 - 60 months

Est. APR

% 46.93

Loan Amount

$100 - $15,000



Loan Term

90 -150 days

Est. APR

% 26

Loan Amount

$500 - $850



Loan Term

6 - 60 months

Est. APR

% 19.99 - 36.99

Loan Amount

$500 - $15,000

Using the Car Loan Payment Calculator

A car payment calculator (or auto loan calculator) helps to estimate what a monthly car loan payment will look like, and how much interest would be paid over the life of the loan. To estimate the car loan payment, the following information is usually required:


New or used vehicle

Auto loan payment takes into account whether the vehicle you intend to purchase is new or used. If you do not know the interest rate, this can help you determine the rates you will use. Note that interest rates tend to be higher for used cars.

You can check auto sites for appraisals and pricing guides. In using a pricing guide, ensure that you check the car’s trade-in value and not the retail cost. The retail cost of the car is the price at which the dealer sells the car, while the trade-in value is the price the dealer would be willing to buy the vehicle from you. You can also get purchase offers from your local auto dealer or online services such as Carvana or Vroom. 


Cost of the vehicle

Vehicle cost is the amount of money you intend to borrow in order to purchase the car. If you plan to make a down payment or trade-in another vehicle, simply subtract that amount from the price of the car to determine the loan amount. 


To estimate the prices for new cars, start with the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (also called vehicle’s sticker price or MSRP). After that, subtract any savings from manufacturer rebates or dealer negotiations. Then, add the cost of options and the “destination fee” charged on new vehicles.


Estimating prices for used vehicles is not so straightforward. You can begin with the seller’s asking price, but you should be able to negotiate for a lower price. Online pricing guides can help you get an idea of a fair price, or you can check local online classified ads for other cars. 


Loan period

The loan period is also known as a term. It is defined as the amount of time you have to repay the auto loan. Auto loans are usually in 12-month increments, the standard terms being 24, 36, 48, and 60 months. Generally, longer loan terms will imply lower monthly payments but higher interest rates. On the other hand, shorter loan terms will mean higher monthly payments but lower interest rates. 


Interest rates

This is described as the cost to borrow the money, expressed as a percentage of the total loan. There are many ways to determine interest rates. On the auto loan calculator, you can select your credit score to see the average loan rates. You can also check online for auto loan rates. If you have been preapproved for a loan, simply enter the rate you have been offered.

Once these details are entered into the car payment calculator, the results displayed usually includes information about the:


Total monthly payment

The total monthly payment is the amount you will pay each month for the duration of the loan. A percentage of this monthly payment goes towards paying the principal, while the other part applies to the interest. 


Total principal paid

The total amount of money you will borrow to purchase the vehicle.


Total interest paid

The total amount of interest you will pay over the life of the auto loan. Generally, the longer it takes to repay the loan, the more interest paid overall. The sum of the total principal paid and the total interest paid gives the overall cost of the car. 


More tips about using the auto loan estimator

Apart from looking at the amount of money to be paid monthly, pay attention to the total amount you will spend on the auto loan. If you use the auto loan calculator to compare loans, a lower auto payment may look appealing, but it might result in a higher interest, and hence a higher overall cost. 


It is noteworthy that you could also have costs added to the result shown by the auto loan calculator. These costs usually result from state and local taxes, registration fees, and dealer documentation fees. Search online or contact the dealership for estimates of these costs in your locality.


You can use the auto loan calculator for more than just calculating car loan payments. You can also use it to compare offers from different auto dealers and try different loan terms and interest rates. The knowledge you gain can aid you in negotiating with dealers and lenders, ultimately choosing the best auto loan for your financial situation. 



For most people, purchasing a car is usually a very significant investment. Despite their financial situation, they should be able to purchase cars. A car payment estimator helps determine just how much loan they would need to buy a new vehicle. It considers factors such as buying a new or used car, the price of the car, the loan term, and the interest rates. You can also use the auto loan calculator to compare offers from different lenders and dealers, thus helping you negotiate for the right car at the right amount.

Big Piggyy

"Show me the MONEY!!!" – Jerry Maguire

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