How to use the car loan calculator
While you can’t calculate your monthly car payment to the penny, having a good estimate will help put you in the driver’s seat. Here’s how to use the auto loan calculator and a look at the different numbers that will make up your car payment.
Amount: In this field, put in the price you think you’ll pay for the car after negotiations. Enter the total amount of cash you’re putting toward the new car, after the trade-in value of your existing vehicle, if any.
Interest rate: You can enter the interest rate you’ve qualified for or estimate your rate based on online research.
Term: Enter the loan term, or how long you plan to take to pay off the loan in years.
Number of payments: This will be calculated as a function of the Term (12 x term).
Monthly Payment: The “calculate” button can be used to play with variables after it auto calculates.
In addition to looking at the monthly payment result, be sure to face the cold, hard reality of how much you’ll pay in interest. If that’s not sobering enough, look at the total amount you’ll spend on the car loan (this excludes the down payment).
By changing the trade-in or down payment amount, the interest rate or loan term, you’ll see how it impacts your car payment and total loan costs so you can compare offers.