Despite warnings car loans which extend longer than many people own a car cause repayment problems, the 84 month car loan is alive and well. That is seven years of payments often at a relatively high interest rate.
Among the companies which offers these loans is General Motors Company (NYSE: GM), America’s largest car manufacturer. GM’s financial arm even has a calculator to show people how much they can afford.
An 84 month loan does primarily one thing for people. It lets them buy cars which might be outside their price ranges because payments are smaller than on loans of shorter durations. This in turn raises the issue of why people can buy a car they might not be able to afford with a normal loan of two to five months. The answer can be unsettling.
Among the problems an 84 month loans can pose is that almost no car comes with a seven-year warranty. A car with severe repair problems may be off the road weeks. And, at that point, an owner could be faced with high repair costs.
And, as Lending Tree has pointed out, there is another major challenge:
Many car dealers and consumers focus on the car payment when they’re buying a new car. Based on that fact, you may be talked into a luxury sedan with a similar car payment using a seven-year loan even if you were originally planning on buying an entry level sedan using a five-year loan. The payments may end up similar on both vehicles, but you’ll be making those payments for an extra two years on the luxury sedan. That move may come back to bite you when you are ready to move on to your next car before the seven-year loan is paid off.
And, that is the purpose of these loans. It is to sell people cars that, under most circumstances, they could not afford.