Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Car Loans

Helpful information, worksheets, calculators, and resources.

Determining What You Can Afford

Let your budget do the driving when determining what kind of car to buy. Look at your finances and determine how much you can afford to pay per month. Then find cars that match both your driving needs and budget.

Coming Up with a Down Payment

A key part of auto financing is the down payment or money due at signing. A down payment is likely a requirement for those with poor credit scores.

Your down payment could be cash, car trade-in, or both. A larger down payment reduces your monthly payment and your total cost of financing.

Shopping for Lenders and Getting Pre-Approved

Getting preapproved by multiple lenders forces them to compete for your business.

This puts you in a stronger negotiating position for whichever lender you choose. This can help you lower your total cost.

Before going to the car lot, consider getting pre-approved for a loan and compare it with the loan the auto dealer offers.

Know Your Rights

Buying A Car: Your Rights
Information from the Washington State Office of the Attorney General about your rights when buying a car in Washington State.

Washington Lemon Law
Information about the lemon law from the Washington State Office of the Attorney General.

Car Loan Worksheets and Calculators

Auto Loan Worksheet
Helpful worksheet from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Car Loan Calculator
Calculator from the American Institute of CPAs helps you determine monthly payment.

Lease vs. Buy Calculator
Calculator from the American Institute of CPAs helps you compare leasing vs buying.

Auto Loan Early Payoff Calculator
Calculator from the American Institute of CPAs helps you see how much money you can save by increasing your monthly payment.

Helpful Websites and Resources

Guide to Shopping for an Auto Loan
Helpful guide from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Car Loan Financing Options
Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about the different kinds of car loan financing options.

Auto Loans FAQs
From the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Answers to frequently asked auto loan questions.