In order to use a car loan calculator properly you must first get all the relevant data together to enter into the calculator. First, though, a few words about car loans and why a calculator is used by many people.
When you enter into a loan of any type, whether it is for a car, a boat, business equipment or even a motorcycle, you take the loan for a specific amount to enable you to purchase your new vehicle or equipment, and then repay it over a period of time. The purpose of a loan is to enable you to spread the cost of your purchase over time, so that you can repay it monthly as your salary or wages are paid.
It is also, of course, to enable the lender to make money; otherwise there would be no incentive for them to lend you the money. The lender's profit is based upon charging you a certain sum for every dollar you borrow: a charge that is commonly known as 'interest', and that is expressed in terms of a percentage of the amount lent.
The cost of your loan will be dependent on the amount you borrow, the length of time you borrow it for and the interest rate. The larger any one of these figures, then the more your loan will ultimately cost. Although your monthly repayments can be reduced by increasing the period of your loan, your overall loan cost will be higher, because you will be paying the interest for longer. This is where a car loan calculator can help you.
The information you need is the amount you are borrowing, the interest rate charged and the number of months you are borrowing it for. If you feel that you will be financially better off towards the end of the loan term you could also have a balloon in mind: that is a lump sum to be paid at the end in order to reduce the monthly repayments to a more affordable level.
Now take the online car loan calculator and first enter in the preferred loan amount, repayment period and the current interest rate being offered by the lender. The result will be your monthly repayments. If these are too high, increase the loan period: it might cost you more overall, but could enable you to afford a loan that you otherwise could not. The result now will be a lower monthly figure.
You can keep doing this, increasing the loan period, until you reach a figure you can afford. Then check to make sure it is possible for you to borrow the sum needed over that period. Keep in mind that if your car is new or not too old, generally less than 5 years, then you can get a loan secured on your vehicle, and that will mean a lower interest rate than an unsecured loan. However, a secured loan also means that you will need a comprehensive auto insurance policy in order to protect the lender's security: your car.
If the interest rate changes according to the type of loan you get, enter that into the car loan calculator, and find out what that does to your monthly repayment. If you believe that you will still have problems meeting that level of payment every month, but expect to be earning a lot more at the end of the loan period, then apply a balloon into the calculator, and that will reduce your payments even further. You will have to repay the balloon in full by cash at the end of the loan, so make sure that you will be able to do that by saving for it as your income increases.
Some people use the auto loan calculator to figure out what interest rate they can afford to pay. The problem with interest is that it can change rapidly, so you have to make sure that you get your rate fixed for entire loan period. However, it might be of use to some to know the maximum rate they can afford for the sum borrowed. To do that, enter the principal (amount of loan) and the number of months you want to borrow it for.
Then decide how much you can afford to pay, and enter various interest rates into the online loan calculator until the answer is that figure. You now know the amount of loan, repayment period and maximum interest rate you can afford. That will help you when shopping around for a car loan - or a boat or motorcycle loan.
These examples show how to use a car loan calculator properly to provide you with as much useful information as possible. If you are seeking a loan to buy a car, or any type of vehicle, then look for a site offering an online loan calculator and use it. It can help you a great deal, rather than you just leaving it to chance.