Down Payment to Buy a Car: Everything You Need to Know

byjitendra7.singhLast Updated: August 31, 2023
RERA ACT - Real Estate Regulatory Authority, RERA Rules
RERA ACT – Real Estate Regulatory Authority, RERA Rules

When it comes to purchasing a car, many people opt for financing options such as car loans to make the purchase more affordable. However, one crucial factor that can significantly influence the terms of your car loan is the down payment. Making a down payment has a direct impact on both the loan amount and the interest rates offered by lenders. Understanding how down payments affect car loans and interest rates can empower you to make informed decisions that save you money in the long run.

In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of down payments and explore their implications on car loans, helping you navigate the car-buying process with confidence.

What is a Down Payment?

A down payment refers to the initial upfront payment made by a buyer toward the purchase of a vehicle or any other asset. It is a portion of the total purchase price that is paid in cash. Wondering how much down payment for a car is required? Usually, a down payment is 20% of the purchase price. It can go higher if you can afford that. By paying a higher down payment on car, buyers reduce the amount they need to borrow, resulting in a smaller loan balance and less interest. This upfront payment signifies the buyer’s commitment and reduces the lender’s risk, making it an important factor in securing favorable loan terms.

There are a lot of questions about zero down payment on car purchase as well. However, this option of zero down payment is not very common in India. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information about zero down payment car options in India, we recommend reaching out to various car dealerships, banks, and financial institutions that offer car loans.

Impact of Down Payment on Car Loan and Car Loan Interest Rates

A down payment can have an impact on both the car loan amount and the car loan interest rates. Here’s how:

  • Loan amount: When you make a down payment on a car, you are essentially paying a portion of the car’s purchase price upfront. The remaining amount is financed through a car loan. A larger down payment reduces the loan amount, meaning you will need to borrow less money. As a result, your monthly loan payments will be lower, and you may also have a shorter loan term.
  • Loan-to-Value ratio (LTV): The down payment affects the loan-to-value ratio, which is the percentage of the car’s value that is financed through the loan. Lenders consider a lower LTV ratio as less risky, as it indicates that you have more equity in the vehicle. Consequently, having a lower LTV ratio can sometimes lead to more favorable loan terms, such as lower interest rates.
  • Interest rates: Down payments can influence the interest rates offered by lenders. Lenders typically assess your creditworthiness to determine the interest rate for your car loan. However, a larger down payment can demonstrate financial responsibility and commitment to the loan, which may improve your chances of qualifying for a lower interest rate. By reducing the loan amount and associated risk, lenders may be more willing to offer you a more competitive interest rate.

It is evident that down payments can have a major impact on the interest rate offered on a car loan. Typically, a larger down payment can lead to a lower interest rate. Let’s understand this with an example:

Buying a Car of 10 Lakh in Value with a Down Payment of 2 lakh

You make a down payment of ₹2,00,000 and finance the remaining ₹8,00,000 through the car loan. The lender, considering your larger down payment, offers you a reduced interest rate of 8% per annum for the loan term of 5 years (60 months). With these terms, your monthly car loan EMI would be approximately ₹16,333. Over the course of the loan term, you would pay a total of approximately ₹9,79,980, including interest.

As you can see, by making a larger down payment, you were able to secure a lower interest rate. This resulted in lower monthly installments and a significantly reduced total repayment amount over the loan term. It’s important to note that the actual interest rates and loan terms can vary based on factors such as the lender’s policies, your creditworthiness, and prevailing market conditions.


The significance of down payments on car loans cannot be overstated. By making a down payment, you not only reduce the loan amount but also have the potential to secure more favorable interest rates and loan terms. A larger down payment demonstrates your commitment and financial responsibility to lenders, reducing their perceived risk and increasing your chances of obtaining a lower interest rate. Additionally, a down payment allows you to start building equity in your car from the outset, providing you with greater flexibility and potential savings in the future.


How does a down payment affect the loan amount?

A down payment reduces the loan amount by the amount you pay upfront. For example, if you make a down payment of ₹2,00,000 on a car worth ₹10,00,000, your loan amount will be reduced to ₹8,00,000.

Can a larger down payment lead to lower interest rates?

Yes, a larger down payment can potentially result in lower interest rates. Lenders often view a larger down payment as a sign of financial commitment and lower risk, which may make you eligible for more favorable interest rate offers.

How does a down payment affect monthly loan payments?

A down payment reduces the loan amount, which in turn lowers your monthly loan payments. With a smaller loan balance, you’ll have a smaller principal amount to repay, resulting in more manageable monthly installments.

Is it always necessary to make a down payment?

While making a down payment is not always mandatory, it can offer several financial advantages. However, the decision to make a down payment depends on your individual circumstances, available funds, and financial goals.

Can a down payment impact loan approval?

Yes, making a down payment can increase your chances of loan approval, especially if you have less-than-perfect credit. A down payment demonstrates your commitment to the purchase and reduces the risk for lenders, making you a more attractive borrower.

How does a down payment affect the loan-to-value ratio?

The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is the percentage of the car’s value financed through the loan. A larger down payment reduces the LTV ratio, which is viewed positively by lenders. A lower LTV ratio can lead to better loan terms, including lower interest rates.

Can a down payment impact the length of the loan term?

Yes, a down payment can influence the loan term. Lenders may offer a shorter loan term for borrowers with larger down payments. A shorter loan term means you’ll pay off the loan sooner and potentially save on overall interest costs.