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Car Loan Calculator: How to Estimate Your Monthly Payment

Buying a new car? Make sure you know what your monthly payment will be before you drive off the lot, so there are no unpleasant surprises on the road ahead. Desert Financial’s car loan calculator can help you determine the amount for a car in any price range.

Along with knowing the actual sticker price of a car, you’ll want to see if you can afford it by calculating how much you’ll pay each month. In just three easy steps, you can find your exact monthly payment using Desert Financial’s car loan calculator, as outlined below.

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Results received from this calculator are designed for comparative purposes only, and accuracy is not guaranteed.

How to Calculate Your Monthly Auto Loan Amount

To calculate your estimated monthly car payment using our auto loan calculator, follow these three simple steps:

  1. Enter the Loan Amount.
    Your auto loan amount refers to the amount you’ll borrow after your down payment and/or trade-in amount. This isn’t the total cost of the car, so be sure to take that into consideration when determining what kind of car you can afford.

  2. Select the Loan Term.
    This refers to the number of months you’ll have to repay your car loan. Car loans have a broad range of terms, with the most popular loan terms at 60 and 72 months. The longer your term, the lower your overall monthly payment will be, but you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan.

  3. Select the Interest Rate.
    The interest rate is the price you pay for the privilege of borrowing money from your lender. The interest rate you receive on your auto loan depends on various factors such as your credit score, loan term, model year and the loan-to-value of the vehicle you are purchasing. Before selecting an interest rate on our auto loan calculator, it’s a good idea to check with your lender to see what the current auto loan interest rates are for new or used vehicles. You can find interest rates for auto loans through Desert Financial on our rates page.

As soon as you’ve provided your information, the calculator will automatically bring up your total estimated monthly payment amount based upon those values. With this number in hand, and assuming the result is within your budget comfort zone, you can go ahead with confidence knowing you can afford the monthly payments.

Factors to Consider Before Taking Out a Car Loan

After determining how much you can spend on a new vehicle to ensure a comfortable monthly payment, you may want to consider these additional factors before applying for an auto loan:

  • Your credit score. The lower your score, the higher your interest rate is likely to be for the loan. Credit score requirements will vary by lender, but if your credit score is on the lower end, you may want to spend some time working to improve your credit to ensure you get the best interest rate for you.
  • Down payment amount. The more money you initially put down on a car, the lower your loan amount and monthly payments. If you don’t need the car immediately, it may be worthwhile to wait until you’ve accumulated a substantial down payment.
  • Financing options. When buying a new or used car, finding the best financing option for you is important. The most common options are to either finance your loan through a bank or credit union directly or to allow the dealership to arrange financing on your behalf. When choosing your lender, be sure to consider the average interest rates at each lender as well as their eligibility requirements and level of service.

Buying a new set of wheels is exciting, but before you ride off into the sunset be sure to work out the dollars and cents of your car loan. How much will you be paying each month for your new car? Use our auto loan calculator and the instructions outlined here to find out.

Ready for a new ride? Get an auto loan with Desert Financial.


The material presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.