Car Down Payment Calculator: How Much Will A Higher Amount Reduce My Monthly Payment and Interest Cost?

Car Down Payment Calculator Sign

This calculator will calculate the down payment dollar amount from a percentage from a new or used vehicle's purchase price, and compute the resulting loan amount, monthly installment, and interest costs.

Plus, the car down payment calculator will also allow you to compare the loan amount, monthly installment, and interest costs against three incrementally higher amounts paid down on the vehicle.

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Car Down Payment Calculator

Calculate car down payment and compare monthly payment amounts and interest costs at 4 different percentages.

Special Instructions

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Selected Data Record:

A Data Record is a set of calculator entries that are stored in your web browser's Local Storage. If a Data Record is currently selected in the "Data" tab, this line will list the name you gave to that data record. If no data record is selected, or you have no entries stored for this calculator, the line will display "None".

DataData recordData recordSelected data record: None
PricePricePurchase priceVehicle purchase price:

Vehicle purchase price:

Enter the purchase price of the car or truck you are considering purchasing, without the dollar sign or any commas.

RateLoan rateCar loan interest rateVehicle loan interest rate:

Vehicle loan interest rate:

Enter the annual interest rate percentage (without the percent sign) you will be charged by the auto finance company. Enter as a percentage (for 6.5%, enter 6.5).

MonthsLoan monthsLoan term in monthsVehicle loan term in months:

Vehicle loan term in months:

Enter the term of the loan in number of months. Common loan terms are 36, 48, and 60 months.

StartStart downStarting down pay percentStarting down payment percentage rate:

Starting down payment percentage rate:

Enter the minimum down payment percentage you would like the calculator to calculate the down payment amount for, without the percent sign.

Increment:Increment by:Increment down pay percent by:Increment down payment percentage by:

Increment down payment percentage by:

Select the percentage you would like the car down payment calculator to increment the starting down payment percentage by for each of the other three comparison columns.

Down payment comparison chart:

Description of chart row values:

Row #1: Down
The down payment amount for each percentage.
Row #2: Loan
The loan amount for each percentage. The loan amount is calculated by subtracting the down payment amount from the purchase price.
Row #3: Pmt
The monthly payment for each down payment percentage.
Row #4: Pmts
The total of all monthly loan payments for each down payment percentage.
Row #5: Total
The total of all loan payments plus the downpayment for each down payment percentage.
Row #6: Int
The interest cost of each down payment percentage.
Row #7: Save
The interest cost savings that would occur when choosing the down payment percentages that are higher than the first column. Since the first column is always the maximum interest cost, it will always be zero.
DownDownDown paymentDown payment
LoanLoan amtLoan amountLoan amount
PmtPaymentMonthly paymentMonthly payment
PmtsPaymentsTotal paymentsTotal payments
TotalTotal paidGrand totalGrand total
IntInterestInterest costInterest cost
SaveSavingsInterest savingsInterest savings

If you would like to save the current entries to the secure online database, tap or click on the Data tab, select "New Data Record", give the data record a name, then tap or click the Save button. To save changes to previously saved entries, simply tap the Save button. Please select and "Clear" any data records you no longer need.

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Help and Tools


What are down payments, what purpose they serve, and why bigger is better.

What is a Down Payment?

In case you are new to the concept of using a loan to purchase large ticket items, a down payment is an amount of cash you would give to a lender up front.

In the case of borrowing to purchase a car, there are a couple of reasons why a lender might require a down payment.

First, it shows the lender that you are capable of earning a wage and have displayed self-discipline in saving some of your earnings instead of spending everything you earn.

Secondly, the down payment will ensure the lender against taking a loss should you default on the auto loan. This is especially true when buying a new car.

When you purchase a "new" car, it instantaneously becomes a "used" car -- in which case the perceived value of the vehicle to others drops significantly (as much as 20%).

This means that if you were to purchase a new car with zero down payment, and then default on the loan after only making a handful of monthly payments, the lender would not be able to sell the repossessed car for as much as you owed them for it.

By requiring a 20% cash down payment on new cars, lenders lower their risk of losing money on car loans that go into default.

How Much Should You Put Down on a Car?

The size of the down payment you should make depends on whether or not you have a choice in the matter.

If your credit score is below 700, the lender may require a down payment percentage of 20% or more.

On the other hand, if your credit score is above 700, you may not need a down payment at all (zero down), though this is typically not recommended. Why not? Because the larger the down payment you make ...

  • The lower your monthly car payment will be.
  • The less interest you will pay on the auto loan.
  • The less likely you will end up in an "upside down" loan (loan balance is greater than the car's resale value).

To illustrate the benefits of making a larger down payment, consider that for every thousand dollars you put down on a car, your payment will be reduced by $15 to $20 per month, and you will save $50 to $200 on interest (depending on loan's amount, rate, and term).

For every $1,000 you put down on a car ...
Priced at$
Financed at %
For months
Your monthly payment will be reduced by $19.99 and your interest cost will be reduced by $159.97.

How to Calculate Down Payment for a Car

To find the down payment needed for certain car, follow these steps:

  1. Convert the required down payment percentage to a decimal number (divide percentage by 100).
  2. Multiply the price of the car by the decimal number from step #1 to get the required down payment amount.
  3. Subtract result of step #2 from the purchase price to get the amount left to finance.
Interactive Example
Purchase price:$
Required down payment percentage: %
  1. Decimal down payment = 10 / 100 = 0.10
  2. Required down payment = $30,000 x 0.10 = $3,000
  3. Amount left to finance = $30,000 - $3,000 = $27,000

How to Calculate Down Payment Percentage

To determine what percentage your cash down payment represents, follow these steps.

  1. Divide the cash you have available by the vehicle's purchase price.
  2. Multiply the result of step #1 by 100 to get the percentage.
Interactive Example
Purchase price:$
Cash available:$
  1. Decimal down = $2,500.00 / $30,000.00 = 0.083
  2. Percent down = 0.083 x 100 = 8.33%.

How Much Car Will My Down Payment Afford Me?

Interactive Down Payment Chart
If I put $ down on a car, what car price can I qualify for?
Car $
Car $
Car $
Car $

How Borrowing Money Undermines Good Decision Making

If every day for the past 5 years you had to cut back on spending for things, activities, and events that you would have liked to spend money on, for saving up $25,000 to pay cash for a new car, how eager would you be to hand that $25,000 in cash over to the car dealer?

Would you be more apprehensive and cautious when spending $25,000 in cash than you would if you were signing papers for a $25,000 loan?

Well, if you're like the rest of us, you probably find it much easier to sign loan papers than to part ways with a large chunk of cash. That's because we are painfully aware of the hard work and sacrifice that went into earning and saving up cash.

When taking out a loan, we can't assign any value to the money we are borrowing because we haven't yet had to do the hard work and make the sacrifices. That's what makes easy access to credit so dangerous because it appears to be the path of least resistance. In reality, it's not -- because you have to work and sacrifice to pay back what you borrow ... plus interest!

The "Act as if ..." Principle

If you haven't been scrimping and sacrificing wants for the past five years to pay cash for a vehicle, but you are in dire need of reliable transportation, then you probably have no choice but to borrow money to purchase a car. But that still shouldn't stop you from finding the best car with the lowest price and ownership costs.

Somehow you need to approach this purchase as if you had been scrimping and sacrificing for the past five years. Force yourself to do the same meticulous research and deal shopping as if you're paying for the car out of your savings account. Otherwise, you're probably going to end up spending more than you would on more car than you are willing to work and sacrifice for.

Larger Down Payment in Your Best "Interest"

I created the car down payment calculator to help you to see how much interest you could save just by putting off your car buying decision for as long as you can if only to be able to put more money down on the vehicle purchase. Because the larger the down payment you can make, the less you will have to pay out (work and sacrifice) for interest charges.

If your present vehicle is on its death bed, then waiting may not be an option. If that's the case, I urge you to begin scrimping and sacrificing now. That way, the next time you are in dire need for a vehicle, not only will you be able to make a much larger down payment, but parting with cash won't undermine your natural problem-solving abilities like simply signing your name on the loan application will.

By paying cash, you will likely make a much better, more informed, more self-supporting car buying decision.

Adjust Calculator Width:

Move the slider to left and right to adjust the calculator width. Note that the Help and Tools panel will be hidden when the calculator is too wide to fit both on the screen. Moving the slider to the left will bring the instructions and tools panel back into view.

Also note that some calculators will reformat to accommodate the screen size as you make the calculator wider or narrower. If the calculator is narrow, columns of entry rows will be converted to a vertical entry form, whereas a wider calculator will display columns of entry rows, and the entry fields will be smaller in size ... since they will not need to be "thumb friendly".

Show/Hide Popup Keypads:

Select Show or Hide to show or hide the popup keypad icons located next to numeric entry fields. These are generally only needed for mobile devices that don't have decimal points in their numeric keypads. So if you are on a desktop, you may find the calculator to be more user-friendly and less cluttered without them.

Stick/Unstick Tools:

Select Stick or Unstick to stick or unstick the help and tools panel. Selecting "Stick" will keep the panel in view while scrolling the calculator vertically. If you find that annoying, select "Unstick" to keep the panel in a stationary position.

If the tools panel becomes "Unstuck" on its own, try clicking "Unstick" and then "Stick" to re-stick the panel.