Seven-year car loans, commonly referred to as 84-month loans, and other longer terms are on the rise as buyers try to lower monthly payments on today’s more expensive vehicles.
Credit bureau data shows that more buyers of both new and used models are opting for the longer terms.
An Experian report puts the percentage of 73- to 84-month term loans for new models at 35% in the third quarter, up from 29% two years earlier in the pandemic’s early days. For used cars, the breakdown was 29% in the third quarter compared to 19% two years earlier.
Finance experts tend to advise avoiding the longer terms, saying that in the end, the borrowers pays more. Consumer Reports, for instance, has warned that some models depreciate faster than a borrower can pay off a loan for them, meaning they end up owing more than their car’s then worth.
New-car prices ended 2022 at record highs in the U.S., the average transaction price at $49,507 in December, according to Kelly Blue Book.