If you can afford it each month, the best way to pay off your car loan early is to double your monthly car loan payments.
By paying half of your monthly payment every two weeks, each year your auto loan company will receive the equivalent of 13 monthly payments instead of 12. This simple technique can shave time off your auto loan and could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest.
Applying extra payments directly to the principal (that is, the amount of money you borrowed) is ideal because it reduces both the amount you owe and your total interest.
If you pay extra toward your car loan, the principal of the loan goes down more quickly. This translates into paying less interest overall in the long run and, as you said, paying off your loan early.
Paying off your car loan early by making extra payments or making larger payments every month can further help your credit score while saving you money on interest.
If the loan you paid off was your only installment account, you might lose some points because you no longer have a mix of different types of open accounts. It was your only account with a low balance: The balances on your open accounts can also impact your credit scores.
According to experts, a car payment is too high if the car payment is more than 30% of your total income. Remember, the car payment isn't your only car expense! Make sure to consider fuel and maintenance expenses. Make sure your car payment does not exceed 15%-20% of your total income.
Paying off a car loan early can save you money — provided there aren't added fees and you don't have other debt. Even a few extra payments can go a long way to reducing your costs. Keep your financial situation, monthly goals and the cost of the debt in mind and do your research to determine the best strategy for you.
Expert estimates range broadly. Greg McBride, a senior vice president, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, advises that a car payment should equal no more than 15 percent of your pretax monthly pay. That means that if you make $50,000 a year, your monthly car payment could be as much as $625.
If you pay off a car loan early and it's your only installment account, your credit score could take a hit. And if you have very few credit accounts, the hit to your score could be even greater.
When you think about how much you'll owe in interest by the end of your loan term, you might think: “Wait… can I pay off my car loan early to avoid future interest?” The answer is yes. In fact, paying off your car loan before the end of the loan term is a great way to reduce your interest payments!
Unfortunately, no, paying off your auto loan doesn't reduce your insurance rates, but it does give you more control over the type and amount of coverage you have, which can help you save money on your insurance.
Some lenders charge a penalty for paying off a car loan early. The lender makes money from the interest you pay on your loan each month. Repaying a loan early usually means you won't pay any more interest, but there could be an early prepayment fee.
A good rule of thumb for a down payment on a new car loan is 20% of the purchase price. A down payment of 20% or more is a way to avoid being “upside down” on your car loan (owing more on the car than it's worth).
If you make $75,000 per year, your total loan payments shouldn't exceed $2,250 per month. The 20/4/10 rule: Put down 20% on a car, finance the car for no more than 4 years, and keep your car payment less than or equal to 10% of your salary.
FICO credit scores, the industry standard for sizing up credit risk, range from 300 to a perfect 850—with 670 to 739 labeled “good,” 740-799 “very good” and 800 to 850 “exceptional.” A 700 score places you right in the middle of the good range, but still slightly below the average credit score of 711.
Once you pay off a car loan, you may actually see a small drop in your credit score. However, it's normally temporary if your credit history is in decent shape – it bounces back eventually. The reason your credit score takes a temporary hit in points is that you ended an active credit account.
A 72-month car loan can make sense in some cases, but it typically only applies if you have good credit. When you have bad credit, a 72-month auto loan can sound appealing due to the lower monthly payment, but, in reality, you're probably going to pay more than you bargained for.
Consider refinancing your current car loan
Refinancing with a new 72-month loan is a relatively long time — that's six years. Instead, look for a shorter term and a lower interest rate. If you do refinance for a long-term loan, consider paying extra toward the principal every month to pay off the loan early.
Many financial experts recommend keeping total car costs below 15% to 20% of your take-home pay. So while your car payment is 10% of your take-home pay, you should plan on spending another 5% on car expenses.
As of January 2020, U.S. News reports the following statistics for average auto loan rates: Excellent (750 - 850): 4.93 percent for new, 5.18 percent for used, 4.36 percent for refinancing. Good (700 - 749): 5.06 percent for new, 5.31 percent for used, 5.06 percent for refinancing.