Calculate the maximum loan you can get based on how much you want to pay on your auto loan each month. Simply enter your desired monthly payment, trade-in equity, interest rate, and term of loan in months. The calculator will let you know the maximum loan amount you can finance.
Monthly Payment: Enter the amount you want to pay each month on your auto loan. The more realistic you are when estimating the vehicle you can afford, the easier you will be able to select a make and model that suits your budget.
Interest Rate: The annual interest rate on the loan for the vehicle. Shop around for the lowest rate since this will affect your monthly payment for the life of the loan. The lower your interest rate, the lower your monthly payments will be. A slightly higher interest rate will affect how much vehicle you can afford if you want to stay within your desired monthly payment.
Example of an Auto Loan with Different Interest Rates. $400 monthly payment financed for 60 months
Financed Amount: $22,820.94
Financed Amount: $21,719.63
The higher interest loan would mean the vehicle you could afford would be $1,101.31 less than the lower rate loan.
Credit Score / Credit Report: Your credit history will affect the interest rate offered on a vehicle loan. Contact your local credit union branch before car shopping if you have any dings on your credit report. Otherwise, once on the car lot a dealership might convince you to accept a higher interest rate than you might qualify for at the credit union.
Lease vs Purchase: Unless you plan on trading in your vehicle every 2-3 years, leasing is an expensive option for the average consumer. Leasing a vehicle means that you own nothing at the end of the lease term. You either need to finance the "residual value" of the vehicle or hand over the keys to the dealership, leaving you in the position of needing to purchase another vehicle.
Auto Insurance: Knowing the cost of your auto insurance before buying a vehicle will eliminate any surprises. Contact your current agent with the VIN of the vehicle you are considering. They will be able to provide you with a quote on your new insurance cost.
Auto Maintenance: Some vehicles can have surprisingly high maintenance and repair costs. Research the vehicle to see how the make and model you are looking at compares against similar vehicles.
Gas Mileage: Taking mileage into consideration can save you money down the road. When comparing 2 or more vehicles, compare the mileage difference between the vehicles. Knowing how many miles you typically drive in a year, you will be able to estimate how much more a lower mileage vehicle could cost you over a higher mileage vehicle.