Auto Loan Calculator - NerdWallet (2023)

Enter your preferred loan details to see loans that match your selections.

Use this auto loan calculator to estimate a monthly car payment and total loan cost based on information you input — such as vehicle price, interest rate, down payment amount, trade-in value, length of the loan, sales tax rate and registration fees.

You can change what you input to see how different factors will affect your car payment amount and total interest cost.

What you should know about auto financing

If you haven’t financed a vehicle before, it may help to have a quick overview of how car loans work. Most people can’t pay cash for a car or truck, and so they apply for an auto loan, usually at a bank, credit union, online lender or the car dealership. When you’re approved, the lender provides a lump sum of money to pay for the vehicle you’re buying. You receive the vehicle to drive, while at the same time making monthly loan payments until you fully repay the loan.

Different aspects of a car loan (some that you can control more than others) contribute to what you will pay monthly and over the life of the loan. Our car loan calculator is a tool to try different values and plan for what you will spend.

How to use the auto loan calculator

Here’s a description of the information you can input into this car loan calculator, some required and some optional.

Price of vehicle. Input the price you think you’ll pay for the car. To estimate a new car’s prices, start with the vehicle’s sticker price (also called the MSRP). Subtract any savings from dealer negotiations or manufacturer rebates. Then add extra costs, such as vehicle options and the “destination fee" charged on new cars.

For used cars, estimating the sale price is a bit trickier. You can start with the seller’s asking price, but you may be able to negotiate that lower. To get an idea of a fair price, use online pricing guides or check local online classified ads for comparable cars.

Interest rate. There are several ways to determine an interest rate to enter. If you get prequalified or preapproved for a loan, simply enter the rate you are offered. Otherwise, you can use the current average interest rate for your credit score.

This table uses Experian average car loan APRs by credit score (based on the VantageScore credit scoring model) and is a good guide:

Credit score

Average APR, new car

Average APR, used car

Superprime: 781-850.



Prime: 661-780.



Nonprime: 601-660.



Subprime: 501-600.



Deep subprime: 300-500.



Source: Experian Information Solutions.

It's worth noting that as the Federal Reserve increases the federal funds rate, auto loan interest rates increase as well. Some sources provide average auto loan interest rates updated monthly, so the rates are more recent, but they aren’t broken down by credit score.

In June 2023, automotive site listed the average car loan interest rate for May as 7.1% APR for new car loans and 11% APR for used car loans. Data company Cox Automotive gave the volume-weighted average rate as 8.91% for new cars and 13.50% for used cars as of 6/10/23. Cox Automotive rates are sales-weighted averages based on information from Dealertrack, a software used by auto dealerships.

Number of months. Enter the loan term, or the length of time you have to pay off the loan. Car loans are usually in 12-month increments, with common terms being 24, 36, 48, 60, 72 or 84 months. NerdWallet recommends trying to go no more than 60 months, if possible. Longer terms will lower your monthly payment, but you will pay much more in interest overall.

Down payment (optional). Enter the total amount of cash you plan to put toward the car. Not all lenders require a down payment, but NerdWallet suggests putting down at least 20% of a new car's purchase price, or 10% for a used car. If you can't afford this amount, put down as much as you can without draining your savings or emergency funds. Putting any amount down will help lower what you finance and the total cost of the loan.

Trade-in value (optional). Enter the trade-in value of your existing vehicle, if any. You can use online sites for appraisals and pricing help. When using a pricing guide, make sure you check the trade-in value and not the retail cost (the price at which the dealer sells the car). You can also get cash purchase offers from online retailers such as CarMax, Carvana or Vroom to use as a baseline.

Amount owed on trade-in (optional). If you’re still paying on a loan for the vehicle you plan to trade in, enter the remaining balance here. This is the payoff amount, which can be provided by your lender.

» Ready to shop around? Compare lenders to find the best car loan rates

Next steps: Using car loan calculator results

The information you get from an auto loan calculator can be valuable in many different ways.

When comparing loan offers. You don’t have to take the loan offered by a dealership or online car retailer, and you can bring your own financing from a bank, credit union or other lender. Apply to several lenders for preapproved loan offers, but do it within a two-week timeframe to lessen any impact to your credit score. Using the auto loan calculator, enter interest rates and terms from the various loan offers to compare monthly payments and total loan costs. If you’re buying from a dealership, take the lowest-rate loan offer with you, to see if the dealer can beat it.

When deciding on a loan term. Lenders and car dealers often will reduce a monthly car payment by lengthening the loan term. While a lower payment may look great, an auto loan calculator can help you see total cost, and not just the monthly payment, with various loan terms.

For example, a car buyer considering a $40,000 new car loan with an 84-month term at 9% APR would have a monthly car payment of about $623 and pay $12,369 in interest over the seven-year loan. Shortening the term to 60 months would increase the monthly payment to $811, but it would reduce the total interest paid to $8,600.

To figure in additional expenses. Car buyers often don’t anticipate certain costs on top of the price of the car and loan — such as state and local taxes, dealer documentation fee (which can vary widely) and registration fees. Under Add Advanced Info, NerdWallet’s auto loan calculator enables you to capture these costs. To obtain estimates, you can search online, call your Bureau of Motor Vehicles or contact a dealership to ask for average costs in your area.

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Other NerdWallet auto calculators

While this auto loan calculator provides the basic information you’ll need to finance and buy a car, here are some other auto calculators you might want to try.

  • Auto loan affordability calculator. If your budget allows only a certain monthly car payment, determine the maximum amount you can spend on a car. Our reverse auto loan calculator provides this information too.

  • Auto loan amortization calculator. Auto loans use simple interest, so the portion of your loan payment that goes to interest changes each month. Use this calculator to estimate the balance of your simple-interest auto loan at any point during its term.

  • Auto loan refinancing calculator. If you already have an auto loan, see if you could save money by comparing your current loan with a new one.

Frequently asked questions

How is a monthly car payment calculated?

A lender’s loan offer will include the total amount you’re financing (called principal) and the amount you will pay in interest for borrowing the money. Earlier in a loan, a higher portion of your monthly payment will go to paying interest and less to principal. As you pay down the balance of the loan, you will pay less in interest. This process is called amortization.

Auto loan calculators and car payment calculators automatically account for amortization, so these tools are the easiest way to figure a car payment. But whether you’re using a calculator or figuring by hand, the equation for a monthly car payment is the same.

It’s total loan amount (including interest) divided by the loan term (number of months you have to repay the loan. For example, the total interest for a $30,000, 60-month loan at 7% would be $6,497.40. So the monthly payment would be $608.29 ($30,000 + $6,497.40 ÷ 60 = $552.50).


How much should I spend on a car if I make $100000? ›

How much car can I afford based on salary?
Annual salary (pre-tax)Estimated monthly car payment should not exceed
$50,000$416 per month
$75,000$625 per month
$100,000$833 per month
$125,000$1,042 per month
2 more rows

What is the 20 4 10 rule? ›

20% down — be able to pay 20% or more of the total purchase price up front. 4-year loan — be able to pay off the balance in 48 months or fewer. 10% of your income — your total monthly auto costs (including insurance, gas, maintenance, and car payments) should be 10% or less of your monthly income.

How much is $30,000 car loan for 60 months? ›

For example, the total interest on a $30,000, 60-month loan at 4% would be $3,150. So, your monthly payment would be $552.50 ($30,000 + $3,150 ÷ 60 = $552.50).

Is 4% high for a auto loan? ›

Car Loan APRs by Credit Score

Excellent (750 - 850): 2.96 percent for new, 3.68 percent for used. Good (700 - 749): 4.03 percent for new, 5.53 percent for used. Fair (650 - 699): 6.75 percent for new, 10.33 percent for used.

How much should I pay for a car if I make 80k a year? ›

The golden rule of car buying is that the car's price should never exceed 35% of your gross annual income, even if you're a major car enthusiast. And if you're just looking for a basic ride to get to work and back, consider capping the car price at 25% or even 15% of your annual income instead.

How much can I spend on a car if I make 75k a year? ›

If you make $75,000 per year, your total loan payments shouldn't exceed $2,250 per month. The 20/4/10 rule: Put down 20% on a car, finance the car for no more than 4 years, and keep your car payment less than or equal to 10% of your salary.

What is the 40 30 30 budget rule? ›

30/30/40. Thirty percent of your income goes toward housing expenses, 30% toward other living costs like food and transportation, and 40% toward discretionary spending and savings.

What is the 40 30 20 rule? ›

It goes like this: 40% of income should go towards necessities (such as rent/mortgage, utilities, and groceries) 30% should go towards discretionary spending (such as dining out, entertainment, and shopping) - Hubble Spending Money Account is just for this. 20% should go towards savings or paying off debt.

What is the 50 30 20 rule? ›

The 50-30-20 rule recommends putting 50% of your money toward needs, 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings. The savings category also includes money you will need to realize your future goals. Let's take a closer look at each category.

Will auto loan rates go down in 2023? ›

Economists suggest that auto lending rates aren't likely to come down in 2023.

Will interest rates go down in 2023? ›

National Association of Realtors: 5.7%

The National Association of Realtors believes, according to Nadia Evangelou, that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will be about 5.7% on average throughout 2023. Their interest rates forecast predicts rates will likely stabilize below 6% by the summer months at the latest.

What is a good interest rate for a car for 72 months? ›

An interest rate below 4.07% for a new and 8.62% for a used car can be considered good for a 72-month car loan.

How much car can I afford making $100,000 a year? ›

50% of Your Income Across All Vehicles

For a household earning $50,000, that means that all the vehicles combined shouldn't be worth more than $25,000. Similarly, if your family earns $100,000 per year total, the value of all of your vehicles shouldn't be worth more than $50,000.

Can I afford a 100k car on a 100k salary? ›

Meaning: put 20% down, pay over 4 years (48 month finance), and spend no more than 10% of your income on car payments. So if you make $100,000, you can pay $10,000 per year on a car. That's after 20% down and should include insurance, gas, and maintenance. So, assuming you want a $100,000 car.

How much should I spend on a car if I make $50000? ›

The 10% rule

One rule you may wish to follow if you're more on the frugal side is spend no more than 10% of your annual income on a car. Let's say you make $50,000 annually. 10% of annual income: $5,000, the amount to spend on a vehicle.

How much house can I afford if I make $120 000 a year? ›

Safe debt guidelines

If you make $50,000 a year, your total yearly housing costs should ideally be no more than $14,000, or $1,167 a month. If you make $120,000 a year, you can go up to $33,600 a year, or $2,800 a month—as long as your other debts don't push you beyond the 36 percent mark.


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