How car finance works

You’ve set your heart on your first car, but there’s a catch. You’ve got to find the money to pay for it, and that can be quite a hurdle to overcome.

However, as long as you’re realistic, there’s no reason why you can’t attain your goal. There are all sorts of ways you can pay for your car, with some better than others.

We’ll help you through the maze, but the one key thing to remember above all else is that it’s the final cost that matters.

Don’t be taken in by a salesman’s patois as he blinds you with science

Don’t be taken in by a salesman’s patois as he blinds you with science; it’s how much lighter your wallet will feel by the time you’ve paid everything off that you need to consider first. The final price you pay will depend on:

  • The monthly payments and any additional payments at the end or start of the deal
  • The interest rate you’re paying and the repayment period
  • Any penalties you’ll incur if you pay off the loan early

If you take all these things into account – no matter how you end up borrowing the money – you’ll be able to work out what the total cost is.

So be up front before you sign anything. Ask what the total amount repayable will be, then compare this figure as you’re shopping around. It’s this figure – and only this figure – that matters ultimately.

Well, it is unless you’re more concerned with how long you have to pay off the debt rather than how much it’ll cost you. By spreading out the loan over a longer period, your repayments will be lower (and hence more manageable). It’s just that you’ll ultimately end up paying more for the privilege.