The monthly payment calculators on third-party shopping sites routinely give consumers ballpark estimates on what they might pay for a vehicle.
The calculations aren't meant to be penny-perfect figures that people can count on once they sit down with a dealer. But with advancements in online tools for both financing and trade-in valuations, could there be a day when consumers get exact payment offers via third-party sites before stepping into dealerships?
The existing payment estimation platforms from Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds and Cars.com already have an array of features that give consumers an idea of what to expect. The sites, for instance, are tackling trade-in valuations -- one of the wild cards that vary for each consumer and are a crucial determinant in monthly payment figures.