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Average auto loan payments: What to expect in 2022

Bankrate logo Bankrate 6/6/2022 Rebecca Betterton
Business woman texting while leaning on the hood of her silver sedan in a car park © Image Source/Getty Images Business woman texting while leaning on the hood of her silver sedan in a car park

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 $648.
  • The average monthly car payment for used cars is $503.
  • 41.02 percent of consumers financed new vehicles in Q1 of 2022.
  • 58.98 percent of consumers financed used vehicles in Q1 of 2022.
  • SUVs make up over 60 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.

AverageNew carsUsed cars
Monthly payment$648$503
Loan amount$39,540$27,945
Interest rate4.07%8.62%
Loan term69.48 months67.65 months

Source: Experian State of Automotive Finance Market Q1 2022

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 scoreNew carsUsed cars

Source: Experian State of Automotive Finance Market Q1 2022

Average auto loan amount

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Over the past year the loan amount on new and used vehicles increased year-over-year 11.74 percent and 24.89 percent, respectively. This means that drivers were taking out more money to finance their vehicles.

Credit scoreNew carsUsed cars

Source: Experian State of Automotive Finance Market Q1 2022

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 scoreNew carsUsed cars

Source: Experian State of Automotive Finance Market Q1 2022

Average auto loan terms

Most auto loans are available in 12-month increments. The most common terms are 24 to 60 months, but 72- and 84-month terms are becoming more common. 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 scoreNew carsUsed cars

Source: Experian State of Automotive Finance Market Q1 2022

How to calculate how much your car costs

In addition to the monthly payment, account for additional costs. These include common expenses like gas, insurance and maintenance. But you should also set aside money for unforeseen accidents - at least enough to cover your deductible.

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 miles per gallon 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.

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