Auto loan interest rates in December 2022
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Car loan interest rates change frequently, so it’s important to keep track of them. Your loan’s interest rate influences how much you’re going to pay each month. And a lower interest rate can mean thousands of dollars in savings. Our rate table can help you know the best time to buy a new or used car.
Current auto loan interest rates
|Dates||60-month new car||48-month new car||48-month used car||36-month used car|
How to calculate auto loan interest
It’s smart to determine your expected auto loan interest rates prior to signing off on your next loan. Not only will it put you in control of your finances, but it can ensure that you don’t end up paying more interest than you should. Here are a few ways that you can calculate your car loan interest rate:
- Calculate on your own. You will need the interest rate, term and loan amount, just as you would for any other method. Divide your interest rate by the number of payments in a year, then multiply it by your loan balance. The resulting number will be how much your interest payment for the month is.
- Use an auto loan calculator. If you are looking for a simpler route to avoid any mental math, an auto loan calculator will handle all the calculations. Bankrate’s auto loan calculator will present you with your estimated monthly payment, total interest paid and a full amortization schedule.
- Speak directly to a loan officer. Finally, connecting directly with a loan officer will provide you with a more tailored experience. This way they can tell you expected rates with your credit history in mind. Speaking directly to a loan officer is also a great way to gather and compare a few options.
What’s the best credit score for a low-interest loan?
Credit scores of 740 or higher — what’s considered very good — will help you qualify for the lowest auto loan interest rates. But even if your credit score is lower, you may still qualify for a decent rate.
How can I get the best car loan interest rate?
If your credit score is on the lower end — 580 or lower — some lenders may offer higher interest rates or longer loan terms, which can be a risk. Taking steps to improve your credit score can go a long way toward getting a better interest rate and saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars if you are not in a rush to purchase a vehicle.
What factors contribute to auto loan interest rates?
While it is true that the interest rate you will receive varies depending on the lender and is somewhat out of your control, there are still choices you can make to increase approval. Consider these aspects and how they will affect loan approval and rates:
- Your credit history. Lenders use credit scores to measure the risk that borrowers carry. Very simply, the lower your credit score is, the higher your interest rate will be.
- Vehicle down payment. Putting down a large down payment will not only bode well with lenders but will decrease the amount you are borrowing — saving you more money down the line.
- Loan term. Typically, a longer-term loan will equate to higher interest rates and more interest paid over the life of the loan. But a longer-term loan will decrease your monthly payment.
- Education and work history. Many lenders are expanding underwriting criteria outside of the sole measure of your credit score. This means you can still benefit from a competitive rate if you have a strong profession or educational background — with or without a perfect credit score.
- Vehicle age. An older vehicle can carry additional risk of issues for both you and your lender. So, you can expect an older car to carry higher rates.
What’s the difference between new and used car interest rates?
Loans for newer cars tend to have lower interest rates than those for used cars. Lenders see newer cars as less of a risk — they’re less likely to break down and lenders can identify exactly how much they’ll depreciate over time. Newer cars also have more predictable resale value than older cars, and that predictability results in a lower interest rate.
Average interest rate by loan type
As an example, here are the interest rates for new and used cars as of October 5, 2022.
2022 outlook for auto loan interest rates
2022 has already proven to be a complicated one in all facets of American finance. And, unfortunately, the automotive industry has not come out unscathed. Decisions made by the Federal Reserve and the remaining supply chain issues all play a part in how much it's going to cost to finance your next car.
The increased Fed rate, sitting at 3-3.25 percent following the September meeting, will indirectly affect your rates. But, while the federal funds rate determines what lenders base their rates on, it is not the only consideration.
When combined with the tumultuous state of the car-buying market, it results in a more expensive experience overall. Kelley Blue Book reports that new vehicle costs were as high as $48,000 in June 2022.
What are other important car ownership costs to consider?
Beyond the cost of monthly car loan payments, vehicle ownership costs can add up.
Car insurance is one of the more significant costs that come with owning a vehicle. Make sure you understand car insurance rates and the best car insurance companies available in order to select the best car insurance coverage for your needs.
Also, consider maintenance and repair costs, which can start at around $100 per visit but vary by the make and model of your vehicle. Use Edmund’s car maintenance calculator to get an estimate of how much you’ll spend to maintain your vehicle.
Fuel expenses are another cost to keep in mind as you search for a new vehicle. If you’re unsure of how much to budget, visit FuelEconomy.gov to view the fuel economy or gas mileage and projected annual fuel costs for the year for the make and model of the vehicle you select.
There are also registration fees, documentation fees and taxes that you’ll pay when you purchase the car. You’ll also pay to renew your registration every one, two or three years. Renewal fees and cycles vary by state.
Estimate your monthly payments with Bankrate’s auto loan calculator.