Beware of 7-year auto loans

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Beware of 7-year auto loans
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It’s getting easier to get a car loan, but is the flow of money and the increased length of loan terms setting us up for another minor economic meltdown down the road?

Auto loan rates have declined to the lowest in recent memory. Some credit unions are writing auto loans at 1% or 2%, though that is typically higher at dealers and traditional banks.

But in a disturbing trend, The Wall Street Journal  reports that some car buyers are trying to stretch out their loans to as long as 84 months or 7 years. In fact, it’s become very common to take out a 6-year car loan (72 months). Both scenarios mean you are upside in your car loan for the entire life of the loan.

My old rule of thumb applies here: Never take out a loan that is longer than 42 months or 3.5 years. If your payment is too much at 42 months, that means you’re buying too much car.

Meanwhile, the price on both new and used vehicles is dropping. A new report from J.D. Power and Associates show the average price people are paying has declined year over year from $28,337 to $28,013.

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Clark Howard About the author:
Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. More about Clark
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