One of the most common questions British motorists ask when purchasing a new set of wheels is, “How long does it take to pay off a car?” The answer varies depending on multiple factors, including the type of car loan you choose and your personal financial circumstances.

Whether you’re in the market for a city-friendly Fiat 500 to tackle the daily commute or a spacious Hyundai Tucson for weekend getaways, knowing how long you’ll be making payments is an essential part of managing your budget and planning a good financial roadmap.

The basics of car loan terms

Let’s start by unpacking car loan terms and how they work. In the UK, car loan terms typically range from one to seven years. The length of the term will impact not only the duration of your payments but also the amount you pay each month and the total interest accumulated.

Short-term loans

Choosing a shorter loan term, such as one to three years, means you’ll face higher monthly payments, but you’ll pay less interest overall. This can be a smart choice if you can handle the larger monthly payments without putting pressure on your other financial commitments.

Long-term loans

On the other hand, a longer term will reduce your monthly payments but increase the amount of interest paid over the life of the loan. This can make monthly budgets more manageable but may cost more in the long run. How long does it take to pay off a car with a long loan? In general, loans that span between five and seven years are considered long.

Where do most Brits stand? The average car loan in the UK for new vehicles is 72 months (six years). Loans for used cars are slightly shorter and sit at around 67 months (over five years).

Deciding how quickly to pay off your car loan

How long does it take to pay off a car in the UK? Your financial situation plays a key role in determining how fast you can pay off your car loan. Consider these factors when deciding on your loan term:

Monthly budget

Carefully crunch your numbers and decide what you can afford to pay each month. Ensure this amount doesn’t stretch your finances too thin. You want to make sure you can comfortably handle your car payments while allowing room for other essentials and savings.

Financial goals

Think about your financial priorities when calculating how long it takes to pay off a car. Are you looking to clear all debts as quickly as possible, or do you need to keep your monthly expenses low to accommodate other financial commitments? This will help determine whether a shorter or longer repayment period is right for you.

Strategies to pay off your car loan faster

If your goal is to pay off your car loan early, here are some tried-and-tested strategies:

Top up your payments

If your lender allows, making voluntary overpayments can shorten the term and reduce the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Unexpected income streams such as bonuses or tax refunds can be a good place to start. Remember, even small extra payments can make a big difference when it comes to how long it takes to pay off a car.

Refinance your loan

Refinancing if interest rates have fallen or if your credit score has improved since you took out your loan can be an option. Switching to a lower rate or shorter term can help you pay off your car faster.

What if I struggle with payments?

If you find yourself struggling to keep up with car payments, don’t remain silent. Instead, reach out to your lender and chat to them about your financial difficulties. They may be able to adjust your repayment plan or extend the loan term to make it more manageable.

Find the perfect timeline with My Car Credit

All borrowers are different, which is why, at My Car Credit, a one-size-fits-all approach to loans doesn’t cut it. Instead, we carefully assess all applicants before matching them with a loan or lender. This means you can navigate your auto finance journey with confidence and pay off your loan according to your own timeline. Whether the road ahead is long or short, we’re here to help you reach your financial destination.

Your next dream car is closer than you think. Try out car finance calculator to get a breakdown of your expected monthly payments, typical rate and total payable.

Rates from 9.9% APR. Representative APR 12.4%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating


  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed


  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs


  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit


  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past


  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan

X monthly repayments of

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable




*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 12.4%, annual interest rate (fixed) 12.36%, 47 monthly payments of £196.44 followed by 1 payment of £206.44 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,939.12, total amount payable is £9,439.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!