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Understanding LVR when getting a car loan

If you’re thinking of buying a second-hand or classic/vintage car with a vehicle loan, you need to know how LVR will affect the overall cost of your loan.

Even if you plan on just rolling extras like insurance or on-road vehicle costs into the finance amount you apply for, spending five minutes to read this article could save you thousands of dollars.

Read on to learn about LVR and how it can increase the cost of your loan, and what you can do to reduce it and get a better deal.

LVR explained for car loans

LVR means Loan-to-Value Ratio and is the amount of money you borrow vs the value of the vehicle you are purchasing. The most basic calculation is:

The total value of the loan divided by the value of the vehicle purchased = LVR

Calculating LVR on a car loan will involve understanding the depreciation of the vehicle over time. As the vehicle loses value over time from being driven, there is less chance of a lender recouping their losses.

How LVR affects car loan rates and total costs

Lenders take LVR seriously and often use it to determine interest rates. As a rule of thumb, an LVR of 100% (i.e. loan equal to the value of the car) is good, and anything higher is not so good.

This is because of security on the loan, which means if the borrower defaults on their repayments, the security (i.e. vehicle) will not cover the cost of the outstanding loan when sold.

This is why short-term car loans will have higher repayments but usually a lower interest rate - there is less risk of depreciation and a lower overall LVR across the term of the loan.

How to reduce LVR on your car loan

If the vehicle you wish to purchase will result in a high LVR, you can make an upfront deposit to reduce it to an acceptable level. Otherwise, a personal loan may provide a better deal where the vehicle cannot be used as security to lower the rate to a competitive level.

If you’re buying a new vehicle, chances are your LVR will be low enough to get a decent deal. Consider comparing car loans to find the best offer.

If the vehicle you are buying is more than 10 years old (i.e already depreciated in value) or subject to heavy depreciation over time, chances are your LVR will be high.

You can reduce your LVR by making an upfront deposit. You can compare personal loans and car loans to see if you qualify for either and which may present a better overall deal.

LVR for car loans in 30 seconds

  1. Low LVR = low risk to the lender and a cheaper loan for you
  2. High LVR = high risk to the lender and a more expensive loan for you

Lower LVR

  • New vehicles with no depreciation
  • Making an upfront deposit
  • Popular vehicles that are easily resold

Higher LVR

  • Older vehicles where depreciation cannot be assessed
  • Older vehicles with variable resale value
  • Older vehicles with no resale value
  • Specialist / unique vehicles that are not easily resold
  • Loans which include the vehicle price plus additional non-securitised costs (insurance, on-road costs, customisation etc.)

About want to make managing money easy and fun! By giving Australians simple tools so they can make the best decisions they can about their money.

We understand that the world of finance is complex, and offer free, extensive guides on Personal Loans, Car Loans and Business Loans, along with tools like our Budget Planning Spreadsheet to help you better manage and understand personal finance.

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Money Pty Ltd (trading as provides information about credit products and is authorised to do so as the holder of Australian Credit Licence 528698. does not compare every Lender in Australia. We are not a broker or credit provider and when we provide information via this website, we are not providing you with a recommendation or suggestion about a particular credit product. When you apply for a credit product via the website, you are not applying with us, you are applying directly with a Lender Partner. Before entering into any credit product from one of our Lender Partners, you should confirm the rates and product information with the Lender. All information on this website is general advice only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether this advice is right for you and we encourage you to seek independent financial advice.