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Auto Down Payment Calculator

The larger the down payment on your vehicle, the better rates you will receive. Use Bankrate’s auto down payment calculator to estimate how much money you can save on your monthly payment by putting down money using cash, a trade-in or both.

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How much of a down payment should you make on a car? 

A down payment between 10 to 20 percent of the vehicle price is the general recommendation. But if you can afford a larger down payment, you can save even more money on interest payments over the life of the loan. By dropping the amount financed, you save some even before you start negotiating the car price. 

For drivers with poor credit, a down payment can prove to be instrumental in gaining approval and receiving competitive rates. It is an excellent way to show potential lenders your commitment to the purchase and paying the loan off. If you still can't get a great rate when you first buy with a down payment, you may be able to refinance later for a better rate.

In either case, be careful while shopping. By making sure the vehicle fits, and not just the payment, you will save in the long run.

What to consider when deciding on a down payment

A down payment is the money that you pay upfront towards a vehicle purchase. It can be any combination of cash and a trade-in. The more money you pay, the better off you will be. Consider the differences between a new and used vehicle when determining how much money to put down.  

Down payment on a new car 

New vehicles depreciate at a much faster rate than if you were to purchase used. A high down payment of 20 percent or more can help protect you from that loss of value. However, just because you can pay more cash upfront doesn't mean you should sign off on a vehicle that you cannot truly afford. Make sure your monthly payments, insurance and fuel costs are within your monthly budget 

Down payment on a used car

A used car, on the other hand, requires a less steep down payment. Because the value of a used vehicle has already undergone most of its depreciation, your down payment should be a minimum of 10 percent. 

Bankrate recommends 

If you do not currently have the financial stability or urgency for a new vehicle, it may be worth your while to save for a down payment before shopping for your vehicle. Consider creating a budget with that 10 to 20 percent number in mind before setting your sights on a vehicle loan.