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Average auto loan payments: What to expect in 2022

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For many Americans, the cost to finance a vehicle can be one of the biggest hits to their wallets each month outside of housing costs. The amount you have to pay to keep your car on the road is dependent on a number of factors ranging from current supply troubles, your credit score, the vehicle you choose and your loan term.  

As an informed consumer and driver, it’s important to understand typical monthly payments and rates so you can feel confident that you are getting the best deal. 

Key monthly car payment statistics  

  • The average monthly car payment for new cars is $609 
  • The average monthly car payment for used cars is $465.  
  • 59.27 percent of consumers financed used vehicles in Q3 of 2021.
  • 40.73 percent of consumers financed new vehicles in Q3 of 2021 
  • SUVs make up over 56 percent of all new loans.  

How much are monthly car payments? 

Average monthly car payments are based on more than just the cost of the vehicle. Your expected monthly cost is based on how much you are borrowing to finance that vehicle in order to pay off the loan’s principal, along with your interest rate and loan term.  

Average New cars Used cars
Monthly payment $609 $465
Loan amount $37,280 $25,909
Interest rate 4.05% 7.98%
Loan term 69.47 months 66.71 months

Source: Experian State of Automotive Finance Market Q3 2021

Average monthly car payments  

Until the alternative data movement catches up, your credit score serves as your financial DNA and gives lenders an idea of how risky you might be to take on. If you have a strong credit history, you are likely to get offered more competitive rates. And for most, better rates mean lower monthly payments. 

Credit score New cars Used cars
781–850 $579 $439
661–780 $616 $457
601–660 $642 $483
501–600 $631 $486
300–500 $587 $476
Average $611 $468

Source: Experian State of Automotive Finance Market Q3 2021

Average auto loan amount  

Over the past year the loan amount on new and used vehicles increased year-over-year 8.55 percent and 20.92 percent, respectively. This means that drivers were taking out more money to finance their vehicles. 

Credit score New cars Used cars
781–850 $33,915 $25,965
661–780 $38,896 $27,428
601–660 $39,310 $26,095
501–600 $35,092 $21,779
300–500 $29,952 $18,319
Average $35,433 $23,917

Source: Experian State of Automotive Finance Market Q3 2021

Average auto loan rates 

The key to finding the best rate available is to shop around with different lenders. Check out online lenders along with more traditional banking options before signing off on a loan.  

Credit score New cars Used cars
781–850 2.58% 3.68%
661–780 3.64% 5.35%
601–660 6.32% 9.77%
501–600 9.92% 15.91%
300–500 12.99% 19.85%
Average 7.09% 10.91%

Source: Experian State of Automotive Finance Market Q3 2021

Average auto loan terms 

Most auto loans are available in 12-month increments. The most common terms are 24, 36, 48, 60, 72 and 84 months. There is no perfect term and it is instead specific to your budget and needs. A longer term means lower monthly payments, but a higher cost overall. 

Credit score New cars Used cars
781–850 63.94 64.25
661–780 70.97 67.75
601–660 74.13 67.77
501–600 73.5 64.99
300–500 72.19 60.87
Average 70.94 65.13

Source: Experian State of Automotive Finance Market Q3 2021

How to calculate how much your car costs 

After understanding how much will come out of your wallet each month to finance your car, you must also account for additional vehicle costs that are bound to come up. This can include filling up at the gas station, unforeseen accidents, insurance, vehicle maintenance and the depreciation that is incurred the moment you drive off the lot.  

To calculate this number ahead of signing off on a new vehicle you will have to make some estimates.  

  1. Starting with vehicle maintenance, use Edmunds’s car maintenance calculator to factor average cost based on your vehicle.  
  2. Next, add that number to expected insurance costs. Although not every state requires it, the average driver should be prepared to pay around $140 a month. 
  3. From there, add your estimated fuel costs. Use your car’s average MPG and your estimated monthly mileage along with average fuel costs in your area to get this number.  
  4. Finally, factor in the registration, fees and taxes you’ll have to pay, along with the vehicle depreciation 

The bottom line 

Although available rates for vehicle financing are affected by many factors outside of your control, there still are choices you can make to put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to this big purchase. Take the time to compare different rates and button up your credit score so you can qualify for more competitive rates. And as the pandemic continues to shape the car buying process, you’ll have new trends to keep up on and even more online shopping opportunities.

Written by
Rebecca Betterton
Auto Loans Reporter
Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to purchase a car.
Edited by
Auto loans editor