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Auto Loan Calculator: Estimate Your Monthly Car Payment

auto loan calculator

When you choose to finance your car purchase, it’s essential to determine what the auto loan’s payments are. An auto loan calculator is an online calculator that helps determine your monthly and total costs. You’re able to know precisely how much the car will cost you in the long run.

The monthly auto loan payments depend on your credit score, as well as factors such as the loan repayment term, the loan’s interest rate, the down payment amount, and the price of the car.

Deciphering the math that comes with auto financing can seem complicated, but having a good auto loan calculator on hand can help.

What Details Do You Need to Use the Auto Loan Calculator?

If you compare the HELOC vs. auto loan calculator, you’ll notice that auto loans have shorter payment terms than home equity and personal loans. Accurately calculating the actual loan payments requires you to have some details regarding the car and your finances.

The first step is determining the total value of the car. This value includes the displayed car price, vehicle warranties, titling fees, taxes, and any outstanding auto loan balance getting rolled over into the new auto loan.

With this figure at hand, you can deduct the down payment, rebates where applicable, and the trade-in value of the old car if you have one.

The next step focuses on the loan term. To calculate the payment amounts, you need to determine the loan term and interest rate. The auto loan term is available in terms of months.

Keep in mind that longer terms have lower monthly payments but high total interests.

You’ll also need to know whether the car you’re purchasing is new or used. In general, used car loans have higher interest rates when compared to new car loans.

Lastly, find out the auto loan interest rate. It’s available in the form of a loan percentage.

How to Use the Car Loan Calculator

An auto loan calculator such as the Federal Credit Union auto loan calculator allows you to compare loan costs by inputting various combinations. Some calculators make it possible to determine how increased monthly payments will affect the rate at which you finish paying off the loan. This way, you can come up with ways of minimizing the debt.

Before using the calculator, have a list of the vehicles you’d like and their respective prices. 

1. Key in the Amount You Require to Finance the Car

To calculate this figure, deduct the down payment amount and the approximate value of the trade-in car from the vehicle’s sticker price. To approximate your trade-in value, you can use online calculators such as the Kelley Blue Book.

If you have an outstanding auto loan, deduct this amount from the estimated price.

2. Factor in the Loan Term

The loan term affects the cost of monthly payments. If you select a shorter period, your monthly payments will be high, but the overall interest will be low. 

Use the auto loan calculator to compare different amounts and interest rates based on the loan term.

3. Select Whether the Car Is New or Used

In most cases, the annual percentage rate (APR) is higher for used cars. The reason is that the value of a used car varies significantly based on the mileage, current vehicle condition, and the vehicle’s history. 

4. Input the Interest Rate

Key-in the interest rate depending on the loan term and your credit score.

Interpreting the Results

When you key in the required details, the loan payment calculator, such as the America First credit union car loan calculator, instantly shows you the specific amounts, including:

      • The total monthly payment—These are payments you must pay every month for the loan term. This amount partially goes to the principal amount and the loan’s interest.
      • Total principal paid—The total principal is the amount you need to borrow to purchase the vehicle.
      • Total interest paid—The total interest refers to the interest amount you’ll pay during the entire loan term. Add the whole interest to the total principal to determine the vehicle’s total cost.

Some Tips About Using the Car Loan Calculator

1. Include Add-on Costs When Using an Auto Loan Calculator

When using the auto loan calculator, ensure you include all the fees attached to the vehicle. After selecting the car you’re interested in, find out the add-ons available, and then choose the ones you’d like. 

Some add-ons include maintenance programs, state and local taxes, fabric and paint protection, dealer documentation fee, and extended warranties. Since these add-ons increase the total cost of the car, you can, hypothetically, avoid them where possible.

2. Consider the Annual Cost Implications of Owning the Car

Annual costs include the license registration fees and the cost of car insurance. Some auto loan calculators have fields for such additional charges. If the one you’re using doesn’t have this option, ensure you include them in your budget.

3. Compare the Various Auto Loans Available

Contact several lenders such as banks and credit unions and request quotes when looking for the appropriate auto loan for you.

With the quotes at hand, key in the details into the auto loan calculator to see the monthly payments and total loan cost, including additional fees and interest rates. This helps to show you the most favorable loan depending on your budget.

If you’re undecided on the best car, you can key in different car values to determine which ones you can afford. For instance, you can use a $39000 car loan calculator or the $57000 car loan calculator. These calculators help to determine the exact loan payment based on the car’s worth.

Reverse Auto Loan Calculator

A reverse auto loan calculator helps you calculate the maximum loan amount you can afford, depending on the amount you’re willing to pay every month. Aside from the monthly payment amount, you’ll need to know the trade-in value of your car, loan interest rate, and loan term.

How to Use the Reverse Auto Loan Calculator

Monthly Payment

In this field, input the amount you’d like to pay per month. Ensure you’re realistic about the car that fits your budget for an easy time selecting the appropriate make and model.

Interest Rate

Key-in the annual interest rate on the auto loan in this field. The idea is to get the lowest rate possible, contributing to the monthly payments throughout the loan term. Lower interest rates mean lower monthly payments.


Before signing the paperwork on your auto loan, ensure you do some research to avoid unexpected expenses. Select the shortest term possible with affordable monthly payments. If you’d like a longer loan term, prepare to pay more interest at a higher interest rate.

Featured Image: Megapixl

About the author: I am a writer and an editor with experience in publishing, research, and SEO strategies. I have an honors BSc in Social Work from the University of Benin, Nigeria.

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