Auto loans stretching six or seven years are often criticized as a poor choice because they leave borrowers underwater for years before they finally get to a point where the vehicle is no longer in negative equity.
Still, the latest snapshot of America's booming auto market shows these longer auto loans are quickly becoming a popular choice for car and truck buyers.
Experian, which tracks America's auto finance market, says loans with terms of six to seven years are showing the fastest growth.
In the third quarter of this year, the proportion of auto loans of 73 to 82 months jumped 17.1 percent compared with the same period a year ago, with more than a quarter of all auto loans now stretching out more than six years.
"[Those] loans are becoming more popular because so many consumers are now looking to keep their monthly payment under $500," said Melinda Zabritski, Experian's senior director of automotive finance. Zabritski says the average monthly payment last quarter was $482.