How Do Rising Interest Rates Affect Car Loans?

June 29, 2023

In the world of finance, few things carry as much weight as interest rates. These elusive numbers hold the power to shape economies, influence investment decisions, and impact our daily lives in ways we might not fully comprehend.

Imagine, you walk into a car dealership, heart pounding with anticipation, ready to take the wheel of your dream vehicle. The glossy exteriors, plush interiors, and new leather aroma captivate your senses.

You meet with the sales representative, select the perfect car, and just when you’re about to discuss financing options, a cloud of uncertainty looms overhead. Interest rates are rising. What does this mean for your car loan?

This article looks at how interest rates, banks, lending institutions that lend money, and the car business are all linked together.

Whether you’re an aspiring car owner, a finance enthusiast, or simply curious about the mechanics of interest rates. This article will guide you through the maze of information, unravelling the intricacies and shedding light on the potential ramifications.

So fasten your seatbelt, rev up your curiosity, and let’s explore the world of rising interest rates and their profound impact on car loans. Get ready to navigate the twists and turns of this financial saga as we unlock the mysteries and reveal the hidden stories within. The road ahead is filled with insights and revelations, let’s begin!

What Is The Interest Rate?

What is Interest Rates? | Person using a calculator in the office

Interest rates are fees and charges lenders charge when borrowing money, including bank loans, mortgages, and car finance packages. The interest rate is indicated as a percentage of the total amount borrowed; it could range from 4% to 10% or even higher depending on the lender and other factors. This charge compensates the lender for any risk associated with offering credit.

When borrowing money, you must repay the borrowed amount plus an interest rate, a percentage of the total owed. APR is typically used in car finance and is required for all loans issued in Australia.

Providing a comprehensive measure of the interest charged on the borrowed money, including all fees, additional costs, and fixed rates. Conversely, when saving money, interest rates determine how much return or reward you receive for your savings.

Borrowing and saving interest rates vary from provider to provider, with competitive finance providers offering the best rates for individuals. Saving and borrowing money can be made more profitable by researching different options and finding the highest-yielding accounts.

Why Are Interest Rates Rising in Australia?

In 2023, the interest rates in Australia rose. This was caused by different things, like inflation, central bank policies, the economy getting better, and international events. Let’s explore each of these further.

Monetary Policy Decisions

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has utilized its monetary policy to maintain price stability and a low inflation rate. This has been accomplished by raising the cash rate, which influences other economic interest rates. These higher interest rates incentivize saving and limit borrowing, thus helping to control inflation.

Global Factors

International events can affect Australian interest rates. For example, if the US raises its rates, the central bank in Australia may follow suit. Higher interest rates can influence the flow of money and currency values. Additionally, changes in the prices of commodities, trade, and politics can affect prices and rate decisions.

Economic Recovery

The Australian economy is healing from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. People want to return to normal life, increasing demand for goods and services. But, the supply is still low.

This creates high demand and little supply, leading to inflation. Interest rates may need to be increased to manage this and stabilize the economy. This is to ensure a safe and strong recovery.

Inflationary Pressures

Rising inflation is a major concern for the economy as it can adversely affect economic growth. In Australia, two main factors have caused the current high inflation rate: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has disrupted global markets and increased prices of some goods, and strong consumer demand as people return to normal activities. To help combat rising prices, central banks may increase interest rates to reduce spending and borrowing.

Global Factors

International events can affect Australian interest rates. For example, if the US raises its rates, the central bank in Australia may follow suit. Higher interest rates can influence the flow of money and currency values.

Additionally, changes in the prices of commodities, trade, and politics can affect prices and rate decisions.

How Will the Interest Rate Rise Affect Car Finance Deals?

Interest Rates Affect Car Finance Deals

The Popularity Of Car Finance

Car finance is becoming increasingly popular, with an estimated 90% of new car purchases being funded through some type of finance arrangement. This trend has seen significant growth in recent years as more and more people are taking advantage of these financial schemes to acquire their desired vehicles.

Consumers can select from various financing options such as leasing, personal contract purchase (PCP), hire-purchase, or even traditional loan agreement. The main benefit of this method is that it allows individuals to spread the cost over several months or years, thus enabling them to budget efficiently for their transport needs.

Impact Of Rising Interest Rates

When interest rates increase, car finance’s annual percentage rate (APR) will likely rise, increasing loan costs. This means that borrowers will have to pay higher monthly repayments and, ultimately, a greater total cost of the purchase.

Furthermore, as loans become more expensive, it could encourage potential customers to take out loans and make it difficult for them to afford their desired vehicle. Therefore, rising interest rates can have a significant impact on car finance and the motor industry as a whole.

Shielding For Current Finance Agreements

Although interest rates may be increasing, borrowers in current finance agreements will remain unaffected until the completion of their contracts. This is because they are protected from any immediate hikes or changes to interest rates that occur during the duration of their agreement. Consequently, these existing agreements shield those with financial obligations that would otherwise face more difficulty managing and paying off their debt.

Fixed Rate Vs. Variable Rate Interest

Fixed-rate and variable-rate interest are two different types of loan repayment options. Fixed-rate loans have a set interest rate that does not change over the life of the loan, while variable rates can be affected by changes in the Bank of England’s base rate or an individual’s credit history.

While fixed rates provide more stability in payments, they may become more expensive when the fixed-rate period ends. Variable rates offer more flexibility but come with higher potential costs. Reviewing contract details and ensuring affordability before selecting either option is important.

Previous Impact On Car Finance

Before the recent interest rate increase, car finance saw a modest increase in APR year-on-year. New car finance had an APR of +3.3%, and used car finance was lower at +1.4%. Additionally, demand for used car financing has steadily increased, with up to 45% of used cars now being financed.

Uncertainty For Future Interest Rates

Predicting the consequences of rising interest rates on car finance rates is difficult. We can speculate at this stage about the future of these two related yet distinct markets.

With each passing day, it becomes increasingly unclear how increasing interest rates will affect car finance rates. Ultimately, only time will tell us the answer to this question and provide us with an accurate assessment of how events may unfold about this issue.

Factors That Impact the Interest Rate

Factors That Impact The Interest Rates

Credit Scores

Having a good credit score can be attractive to lenders. This can often lead to them offering you loans with lower interest rates. However, if your credit score is lower, you may be offered loans with higher interest rates.

Current Interest Rates

In a good economy, interest rates may be high. When the economy is not doing well, rates may be lower. If rates are high now, wait until they go down before purchasing.

Down Payment

You can pay a certain amount upfront for a car. This can affect your loan’s interest rate. If you pay more, the rate may be lower.

This is because the lender has less risk. With a small down payment, lenders may charge a higher rate as there is more risk of default on a larger loan.

Lender Type

Credit unions offer more attractive rates on car loans than banks, so taking a loan from one is recommended if given the option. Additionally, considering special offers from the finance department of the carmaker can lead to lower interest rates and better deals overall.

New or Used Cars

Whether a car is brand new or pre-owned can have an impact on the interest rate applied to the loan for it. Generally, the rates of loans for secondhand cars are higher than those for brand-new vehicles.

This is because lenders view used cars as more of a financial risk due to their uncertain condition and the potential need for repairs. They may limit how much money they will lend against a pre-owned vehicle compared to a sparkling new one.

Term of Loan

The cost of borrowing can differ significantly depending on the length of a loan agreement. Generally, longer-term loans tend to come with higher interest rates than their shorter-term equivalents due to the greater risk associated with them from a lender’s perspective. As such, borrowers must assess all options and consider carefully which loan term will best suit their needs before entering into any contract.

How To Get A Deal When Interest Rates Are High

how to get a deal when interest rates are high

Shop Around

It is a good idea to shop around and compare different lenders when securing attractive or time-limited financing options. The rates you can potentially get and other benefits, such as special offers, may vary depending on your credit score and the degree of buyer demand in the market. The current interest rate environment should also be considered when making such decisions.


Suppose the current loan you possess has an excessive rate of interest. In that case, it is highly recommended that you look for any potential possibilities to refinance your loan if there is a decline in the interest rates or your credit score improves. Refinancing could result in you having much lower payments and even potentially saving yourself some money in the long term.

Opt for a Shorter Term

Do you think you could manage to increase your monthly payments? The evidence suggests that paying off your loan over a shorter period will decrease overall interest costs throughout the entire loan.

Buy a Less Expensive Car

It is important to be realistic when selecting a vehicle, considering what you can realistically afford and how much financial debt you will accumulate to purchase it.

It is essential to consider the total cost of the car, including not only the initial price tag but also any additional fees and taxes, as well as its long-term costs, such as fuel economy, maintenance requirements, insurance premiums, and depreciation.

Boost Your Credit Score

If your credit score is not up to par, it may be time to take the necessary measures to increase it. The higher your score, the better rate you will receive when financing a car loan. Even a small uptick in your credit rating can significantly reduce the interest you pay on the loan.

Time Your Purchase

If the economy is booming and interest rates are high, you may consider holding off on making an automobile purchase until the buying environment becomes less heated. In this way, you could find more affordable vehicles and benefit from more attractive loan terms.

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

Does Interest Rate Affect Car Finance?

If you have a fixed interest rate in place for your loan, then the fluctuations of current market rates will not affect the amount you pay each month. This means your monthly payments will remain consistent despite major shifts in the overall interest rate environment. A fixed interest rate can provide significant peace of mind and financial stability.

Why Does My Interest Rate Keep Changing On My Car Loan?

The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is a comprehensive figure which incorporates the overall cost of borrowing money, including not only the interest rate but also any applicable fees or other related charges.

It provides an all-encompassing measure of what it truly costs to take out a loan, thus giving borrowers an accurate representation of how much they will repay.

How Does A Interest Rate Work?

Interest rates profoundly affect the overall cost of your loan, as they determine the amount you pay back in addition to the principal.

As interest rates increase, so does the total price you pay for your loan once it is fully paid off. Conversely, if interest rates decrease, you will pay less for your loan when all is said and done.

How Do Interest Rates Affect Financing?

As the Federal Reserve increases interest rates, the cost of borrowing money for businesses, consumers, and investors also increases. This means that loans become more expensive; credit cards charge higher fees.

Mortgages are harder to qualify due to stricter lending criteria and higher payments. Car loans take on steeper terms, making investments riskier because returns are not as high.

The more the Fed raises rates, the greater the burden placed on borrowers who have to bear a higher cost of borrowing.


Rising interest rates can significantly impact car loans, affecting borrowers and lenders in various ways. As interest rates increase, borrowing costs rise, making car loans more expensive for consumers. This means potential buyers may face higher monthly payments or need to consider purchasing a less expensive vehicle to stay within their budget.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to upgrade your current vehicle, Mad Man Motors offers a range of financing solutions tailored to your needs. Their customer-centric approach and extensive network of lenders give you access to competitive rates and favourable loan terms.

While rising interest rates can impact car loans, working with reputable companies like Mad Man Motors that understand the market dynamics is important. Their terms and conditions are favourable to all.

By partnering with them, you can navigate the changing landscape of interest rates and secure a car loan that suits your financial goals. Remember to research, compare offers, and consult with experts to make informed decisions that align with your budget and aspirations bearing in mind that terms and conditions apply.

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