The longest traditional car loan term is 72 months. This remains the standard maximum at conventional banks and lenders for both new and used vehicles, where loan terms vary from 12 months to 72 months. However, a June 2013 Bankrate.com article indicated a dramatic increase in the number of over-72 month loans since 2012. Such loans vary in length, but are available from car-specific lenders and other credit unions.
According to the Bankrate.com article, 10.1 percent of used car loans have terms over six years. This number marks an 11.5 percent increase from 2012. Many low-income borrowers prefer longer terms that provide low monthly payments. However, longer-term loans typically have higher interest rates and are often sold with the seller upside-down on his loan. Being upside-down means he owes more to the lender than he gets from the sale.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.