Anyone can provide you with an approximate payment on a car or truck loan. But in seeking larger amounts - like a home mortgage - for a longer period of time, many of those loan providers want a lot of personal information, as if you're already in the loan application process, when all you wanted was a payment amount.

Autoblog shares your frustration. So we've configured our loan calculator to supply the necessary info without having you give a personal deposition. And it's as easy as 1–2–3.

Step 1: Enter your loan amount. This is the blank space described as purchase price, but you're simply wanting to know what your loan will cost. If buying a $300K condo with 20 percent down, plug in $240K.

Step 2: Enter an interest rate. Obviously, a half-point here or three-quarters of a percentage point there makes a difference, but just try to get close (the current rate is easily found online or in your newspaper's business section).

Step 3: Enter the loan term in months. For example, a 15-year commitment is 180 payments. Your iPhone has a calculator.

That's it. And keep in mind that there's more to buying a new or used vehicle than just the loan; there's also registration and license fees. And if financed, the bank, credit union or savings and loan will insist on full insurance coverage, including collision.

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