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Auto loans

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Auto loans are a type of financing used specifically for the purchase of vehicles. They are typically secured loans, with the vehicle itself serving as collateral. Here are some key aspects of auto loans:

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Everything You Need To Know About Auto Loans
  • Loan Structure: An auto loan is a loan where the borrowed amount is used to purchase a car. The borrower then repays the loan amount plus interest over a set period.
  • Interest Rates: The interest rate on an auto loan can vary based on the lender, the borrower’s credit score, the loan term, and sometimes the type of vehicle being purchased. Rates can be fixed (unchanging for the term of the loan) or variable (can change over the loan term).
  • Loan Term: The term of an auto loan typically ranges from 24 to 72 months, and in some cases, even longer. Longer loan terms can lower monthly payments but result in higher total interest paid over the life of the loan.
  • Down Payment: Many auto loans require a down payment. The size of the down payment can affect the loan’s interest rate and monthly payment. A larger down payment typically results in more favorable loan terms.
  • Credit Score Impact: A borrower’s credit score significantly impacts the interest rate offered. Higher credit scores generally qualify for lower interest rates.
  • Secured Loan: Auto loans are usually secured by the vehicle itself. If the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender has the right to repossess the vehicle.
  • Depreciation: Cars depreciate quickly, so it’s possible for the vehicle to be worth less than the outstanding loan balance, particularly early in the loan term. This is often referred to as being “upside down” on a loan.
  • Direct and Indirect Financing: Loans can be obtained directly from a bank, credit union, or online lender (direct financing) or through the dealership where the vehicle is purchased (indirect financing).
  • Preapproval: Getting preapproved for an auto loan can give buyers a clear idea of what they can afford and can provide negotiating power at the dealership.
  • Additional Costs: Besides the loan principal and interest, owning a car involves other costs, including insurance, maintenance, and fuel, which should be considered when determining the affordability of a car loan.

When considering an auto loan, it’s important to look beyond the monthly payment and consider the total cost of the loan, including interest and fees, and to shop around for the best rates and terms.

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Can auto loans be refinanced?

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