Can I Pay Off My Car Loan Early?

Tiny car with coins and finance paperwork

 

No matter if you choose to finance a new car or a used vehicle with an auto loan, you’ll have a set monthly payment you’ll need to adhere to pay it off in time. So what if you want to pay more than your monthly payment amount? Can you pay off a car loan early? Yes! This can be a great option for you. However, there are a few things you want to keep in mind before deciding if this is the right move for you. Learn more about early car loan payoff options with our finance team at Suntrup Volkswagen today!

Is it Good to Pay Off a Car Loan Early?

In order to pay off an auto loan early, you’ll need to be great with financial planning, but in the end, you’ll be rewarded with lower interest paid overall, decreased chances of becoming upside-down on your loan, a lower debt-to-income ratio, and you’ll be one step closer to paying off your vehicle completely.

When Paying Off a Car Loan Early Makes Sense

  • You have little or no other debts to take care of and would like to get your car loan paid off so you can free up money for other expenses.
  • You have enough extra funds saved up or enough wiggle room in your budget that making larger monthly car payments won’t affect your emergency funds and other finances.
  • You are attempting to lower your monthly expenses to plan for a larger financial goal, such as entering retirement or growing your family.
  • You’re looking to improve your debt-to-income ratio.

When Paying Off a Car Loan Early Isn’t the Best Option

  • You don’t have many extra funds set aside for emergencies.
  • If you have an exceptionally good interest rate, it may be smarter to just continue making on-time payments in the agreed-upon monthly amount. The money you’d use to pay your loan off early could be better served if you set it aside in a retirement fund or for a future financial goal, such as a mortgage.
  • You’re using your on-time, set monthly payments to build your credit history or raise your credit score.
  • Some car loan agreements include prepayment penalties. If this is the case, you would of course want to avoid those penalties by adhering to your regularly scheduled payment amount. 

How to Pay Off a Car Loan Early

To pay off your car loan early, there are a few different ways to look into it. Here are the few routes you can take:

  • Make Bi-Weekly Payments – Check with your lender first to ensure it’s okay to use this technique; divide your monthly car payment by two, then make that payment amount every two weeks. Using this method, you will effectively be making 13 full payments per year rather than 12. 
  • Round Up Your Payment Each Month – Each time you make a monthly payment, round up the amount to the nearest $50.
  • Make One Extra Payment Each Year in One Lump Sum – If you’d rather not round up for each monthly payment using the above method, you can instead choose to make one large extra payment per year to achieve the same interest savings. 
  • Resist the Temptation of Skipping a Payment – Believe it or not, some lenders allow you to skip one or even two car loan payments per year. This may be tempting if you’re in the midst of a rough month financially, but it will only lengthen your loan term and tack on more interest.
  • Refinance with a New Car Loan – Once you’ve made one or two years’ worth of on-time, in-full payments, you might be a good candidate for refinancing. Of course, you should only refinance if it’s securing you a lower interest rate. The lower interest rate will lower your monthly payment, making it easier to pay more than what’s required each month so you can pay off your loan early.

Learn More with Suntrup Volkswagen!

Is it good to pay off a car loan early for you? Learn more with our financing team at Suntrup Volkswagen in St. Louis. If you have any questions or want to get the process started on financing a new or used vehicle, contact our team!

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