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How Much Down Payment Should I Put on a Car?

If you’re looking at purchasing a new or pre-owned car in the Raleigh area, you may be wondering how large of a down payment on the car is necessary. While most lenders do require a down payment on a car, most will allow you to put down any amount you desire. So, just how much should you put down on a car? Truthfully, it’s best to put down as much as you can afford.

A low car down payment shouldn’t prevent you from getting your preferred vehicle, but a larger down payment has the advantage of lowering the total amount owed and thus gets you a lower monthly payment. If you’re feeling stressed by the question, “How much should I put down on a car?”, learn more about down payments on cars in the guide below!

Why Do I Need to Make a Down Payment on a Car?

Lenders want the auto loans they approve in Cary and Apex to be as low-risk as possible for them. Part of lowering their risk is requiring at least some amount of down payment on a car. It shows the lender that the borrower is serious about the purchase and provides them with some upfront compensation.

What’s the Average Down Payment on a Car?

How much should you put down on a car if you don’t want to be strapped by payments for many years to come? The down payment you make on a car is like an upfront payment that encompasses a certain percentage of the total purchase price. The more you pay upfront in a down payment, the less you will owe moving forward and the faster you can pay off the car.

The general recommendation for how much down payment to put on a car is at least 20% for new cars and at least 10% for used cars. However, a 2019 analysis conducted by Edmunds found that the average down payment on a car, for both new and used cars, was 11.7%.

What’s the bottom line when determining how much you should put down on a car? A larger down payment is always ideal, but car-buyers should take their unique budget into consideration. Choose an amount that you’re confident you can save up without stressing your other finances or dipping into emergency funds.

Benefits of a Larger Down Payment

How much down payment for a car is suggested, and how much is actually required? A low car down payment will be acceptable by most lenders’ standards, so don’t be worried if you’re unable to put down 20% or more. However, if time is on your side and you can spend a few more months saving for a larger down payment, there are quite a few advantages to consider:

  • Less interest paid: The larger the down payment you make, the less interest you will pay over time.
  • Easier approval process: If you’re working with a lower credit score, making a larger down payment might make it easier to get approved for an auto loan.
  • Lower monthly payments: A large down payment decreases the total amount owed, so your monthly payment amount will also be lower.
  • Maintain positive equity: When you make a low down payment on a car, there’s a higher risk of becoming upside down on the loan (owing more than the car is worth) after depreciation. A larger down payment can ensure you maintain positive equity, meaning you owe less than the car is worth. This puts you at an advantage if you want to sell or trade in the vehicle in a few years.

Value Your Trade for a Higher Down Payment

Trading in your current vehicle can help increase how much down payment you have for a car. Value your trade with us to discover how much your vehicle is worth right now, and you can use that money to bolster your down payment! As a Hendrick Auto Group dealership, we provide some of the best trade-in offers in the area because we can weigh your trade-in car against a large nationwide used inventory with thousands of vehicles.

Get Help with Financing at Hendrick Chevrolet Cary

Need help determining how much down payment on a car you should make? Contact us to speak with our friendly finance experts. Our team will take the time to get to know you and your budget, so we can make a good recommendation that’s tailored to you. Apply for pre-approval to get started today!

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Additional Disclaimers:

*2.89% APR for 60 Months for well-qualified buyers when financed with GM Financial. Monthly payment is $17.92 for every $1,000 you finance. Average down payment is $15.6%. Some customers will not qualify. Take new retail delivery by 08-31-2022. **Must finance with GM Financial. Down payment required at signing, if applicable. Some customers may not qualify. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 08-31-2022.

*0% APR for 60 months for well-qualified buyers when financed w/GM Financial. Monthly payment is $16.67 for every $1000 you finance. Average down payment is 11.6%. Some customers will not qualify. Take new retail delivery by 08-31-2022. **Not available with special finance or lease offers. Take new retail delivery by 08-31-2022. ***Must finance with GM Financial. Down payment required at signing, if applicable. Offer not available in FL. Some customers may not qualify. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 8/31/22.

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Hendrick Chevrolet Cary 35.7401, -78.8081.