How Many Years Can You Finance a Used Car?
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Savvy drivers know buying a used car is an excellent alternative to purchasing a new one, and for plenty of reasons, too.
When you decide on buying a used vehicle, you save thousands of dollars. That’s because new cars begin to depreciate the second they leave the dealership lot. You can still drive off in something in great shape, even if it's used. And with manufacturing quality continually rising over the past decades, a well-maintained used car can easily pass for a brand-new one.
If you're like most car buyers, you'll probably want to finance when you purchase a used car. Auto loan terms like interest, APR, and term length can be all over the map, depending on many factors like loan amount, credit history, and from whom you borrow.
What if you'd like to lower the monthly payments when you buy a used car by taking out a longer-term auto loan? Is there a limit to how long you can finance a used car?
Let's look at auto loans in detail and how many years you can finance a used car.
Auto loan essentials
Financing breaks a car's substantial sticker price into smaller, more workable payments, making it easier for you to afford the vehicle you want.
But an auto loan isn't like when you borrow money from a friend and pay them back the exact amount. Car loans feature many particular elements that go into deciding your costs both month to month and over the long term. These include the amount of your down payment, interest rate, APR, and term length.
When you make a down payment on a car loan, it lowers the total amount you borrow or principal, subsequently lowering your monthly payments.
When you finance, the loan length can range from 24 to 84 months, depending on your particular needs. With longer loan terms, monthly car payments are lower, allowing you to buy something a little more expensive than you'd initially planned. Lower monthly payments equate to more cash in the bank for other short-term expenses.
Conversely, short-term loans increase your monthly payments but take less time for you to cross the repayment finish line.
A loan's interest rate is a percentage charged against the principal loan amount and added to your payment each month. Usually, good credit scores mean lower interest rates, and bad credit scores cause higher interest rates.
The annual percentage rate on a car loan, or APR, considers the interest rate and other fees charged by a lender. The APR paints a broader, more complete picture of your yearly costs during the life of the loan.
Buying a vehicle on the used market offers many advantages over purchasing a new one. You have the chance to save thousands of dollars and still drive off in an almost new vehicle. But where can you go for not only a great price, but also a quality used car? Shift offers fair, no-haggle prices driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data. And at Shift, certified mechanics perform extensive 150-point inspections on every vehicle sold, and you get a free Carfax report for the ultimate in transparency. Want to take a test drive before you buy? If you live in one of Shift's many service areas, a concierge will drive to you, letting you get a feel for the car's performance before signing the papers.
How many years can you finance a used car?
A lender sets the auto loan term length for a used car, which varies from company to company. Until recently, used car loans were generally limited to 72 months. However, today borrowers can secure used car loans for 84 months or more due to the rising need for vehicles.
Though rules differ for long-term used car loans, usually, you won't be able to finance a car around 10 years old for an extended period, such as five years.
The benefits of a longer-term loan
Just like stairs make it easier to climb the floors of a building, longer-term auto financing lets you pay for a used vehicle step by step, in small increments.
If you like a particular make and model that happens to be a little more expensive than your original budget, longer-term car financing can make it easier to afford. By breaking the total cost into smaller pieces over an extended period, a longer-term car loan helps you meet your obligation while keeping extra cash in your bank account month to month.
Owning a vehicle entails many costs like fuel, maintenance, and insurance. Finding ways to save money on auto-related expenses keeps extra cash in your bank account. One way to do this is to secure a good auto loan. Shift works with a network of trusted lenders who compete for your business, so you get the best deal on financing. And applying for financing with Shift is quick and easy, with no cost or obligation to you. Most people who apply for a loan with Shift receive an approval within minutes. Financing with Shift is so convenient that nine out of 10 customers choose us when applying for an auto loan.
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Why buying a used car makes sense
As manufacturing quality has steadily risen year after year, more and more vehicles continue to run strong as time goes by. In fact, cars in the U.S. continue to climb in age, with a current average of 12.1 years.
With today's vehicles showing their ability to stand the test of time, saving money on a used car makes more and more sense. Because depreciation discounts the price of a used vehicle by thousands and thousands of dollars, buying a pre-owned vehicle that could pass for a new one is a wise financial decision.
When you're ready for a new-to-you vehicle and need to sell or trade in your old car, it can be a time-consuming process. You have to take pictures, post ads and even cancel your old insurance policy. Or you may have to mull over someone's offer for your car. But Shift makes selling your used car easy. At Shift, you can get a fair offer, better than at the dealership, driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data. With Shift there is no need to spend the extra time waxing and washing the car. A little dirt won't affect the quote, as we fully detail the cars ourselves before listing them for sale.
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Financing a used car in summary
Used vehicles present an appealing alternative to car shoppers compared to new ones. Even if a car is a few years old, you can still save a good amount of money while driving away in an excellent vehicle.
Financing a used car purchase over an extended period helps you pay the cost bit by bit, allowing you to keep money around for other necessities month to month.
Remember, there's no set limit on the number of years for a used car loan, and in recent years terms have risen as high as 84 months.
Ready to ride in style the smart way? If so, ready, set, finance!
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April 15, 2022
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