Auto Loan Calculator


Monthly Loan Payment: $0.00

Auto Loan Calculator: Your Roadmap to Smart Car Financing

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(car loan calculator)

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. It’s important to understand the terms of the loan, including the interest rate, repayment schedule, and any fees or penalties for paying off the loan early. The interest rate is the cost of borrowing the money, and is typically based on your credit score – the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. The repayment schedule will outline how much you need to pay each month and for how long, usually ranging from 36 to 72 months.

Before applying for a car loan, it’s a good idea to check your credit score and review your credit report for any errors that could affect your ability to get approved for a loan. You should also shop around and compare loan offers from different lenders to find the best terms for your situation.

Once you have a loan, it’s important to make your payments on time to avoid late fees and damage to your credit score. If you’re unable to make a payment, it’s best to contact your lender right away to discuss options such as a payment plan or loan modification. Finally, keep in mind that the vehicle you’re buying serves as collateral for the loan, which means that if you default on the loan, the lender can repossess the car to recoup their losses. So it’s essential to borrow only what you can afford to repay and to make smart financial choices when it comes to buying and financing a vehicle. 

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. The price I think I’ll pay for the car is around $25,000 after negotiations and any potential rebates. 

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 when the Federal Reserve increases the federal funds rate, auto loan interest rates usually follow. Fed rate hikes that began in 2022 have now pushed car loan interest rates to their highest level in years. 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 January 2024, automotive site listed the average car loan interest rate for December 2023 as 7.1% APR for new car loans and 11.4% APR for used car loans. Data company Cox Automotive gave the volume-weighted average rate as 9.75% for new cars and 14.13% for used cars in its 1/23/24 Auto Market Report. 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 or Carvana 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.

Auto Loan Calculator
Auto Loan Calculator

Next steps: Using car loan calculator results

The information you get from an auto loan calculators 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 calculators, 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 calculators 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 calculators 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.

Other NerdWallet auto calculators

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

  • Loan 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 calculators provides this information too.

  • Student Loan Calculator. Education expenses loom large on the horizon for students and their families, prompting a collective concern. To address the financial intricacies of pursuing higher education, many turn to student loans. However, comprehending the financial implications of such loans is paramount. This is where the Student Loan Calculator steps onto the stage. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the nuances of what a Student Loan Calculator entails and how one can harness its power effectively.

  • Tax Calculator. ax calculators stand as indispensable tools designed to assist individuals, businesses, and organizations in deciphering their tax liabilities or estimating the amount they owe to government entities like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States or equivalent agencies globally. These calculators, crucial for various purposes such as tax planning and budgeting, play a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with intricate tax regulations. Let’s delve into the intricacies of how a tax calculator typically operates.

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).