Auto loan calculators are a car shopper’s friend.

Although auto loan calculators alone won’t help you negotiate terms on that used or new car, at least you’ll have an idea of how much of a financial commitment you can afford before you make the deal.

Whether you’re trying to calculate your monthly payment, your total cost of ownership, the effect of different down payments or your interest expense, there’s a car loan calculator available for you.

How to calculate an auto loan payment

We’ll start with the monthly payment calculator, one of the most popular tools for car shoppers, that estimates your new expenditure.

Imagine you’re looking at a loan amount of \$20,000 for your next vehicle and you have \$5,000 at the ready as a down payment. With a loan term of 60 months and an annual percentage rate (APR) of 6.99 percent, your monthly payment would be \$296.95, as seen in the calculator example on the left, below.

What if that’s too high? You can rework the numbers with a higher down payment and/or a longer loan term. Change the money down to \$7,000 and the term to 72 months, and the monthly payment is reduced to \$221.57. See the calculator illustration on the right, above.

APR, which is the annual cost of financing a vehicle including both the interest rate and any lender fees rolled in, plays a key part in these calculations too. For example, if we keep the loan amount at \$20,000, the term at 72 months and down payment at \$7,000, but increase the APR from 6.99 to 8.99 percent, then the monthly payment rises from \$221.57 to \$234.27. This can be seen in the calculator image, below, and results in a greater amount of interest being paid over the life of the loan.

How much car can I afford?

Finding out your car payment figure is only part of the story. An affordability calculator reverses the process to indicate how much car you can afford in total. Let’s say your monthly budget is \$350 and we enter a 60-month loan term, an APR of 6.99 percent, and the down payment is \$10,000. The calculator suggests you can afford a vehicle up to \$27,679.91, shown on the left, below.

As before, new figures can be entered in each field to see how the scenario changes. Trim your monthly budget to \$325 and the estimate says you can afford a car up to \$26,417.06. See the example on the right, above.

How to work out your monthly budget

Not everyone will know what their monthly budget is, or could be, offhand, which is why RoadLoans provides the budget calculator. It can be accessed via our website’s finance calculator menu tabs and also by clicking the “Help me” aid within the affordability calculator. Here, you can enter monthly income and what you’re spending on the likes of rent/mortgage, food, utilities and fuel to see what’s left for your potential car loan payment.

More calculators, and possibilities to save

RoadLoans offers three other useful calculators including the fuel savings calculator, for car shoppers looking to save money on gas with their next vehicle; the early payoff calculator, which estimates how a loan could be paid down more quickly and how much money might be saved in interest charges; and the auto refinance calculator, for existing loan holders wanting to replace their note with another that has better terms for their situation. It’s worth noting that current Santander Consumer USA and Chrysler Capital customers cannot refinance their auto loans with RoadLoans.

If you need fast-and-easy vehicle financing for a used or new car, crossover, pickup or SUV, RoadLoans empowers you to shop with confidence.

Apply for an auto loan and get an instant decision.

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