December: the biggest month for car-buying –

(NBC NEWS) – All those car commercials you'll notice this week is just December living up to its billing as one of the biggest months for car-buying.

Matt Jones of car-buying advice says, something else car-buyers may notice is the new, longer terms of car loans.

"Eighty-four months, or 7 year auto loans are not uncommon," Jones says.

Jones says terms on loans have gotten longer because sticker prices have gotten higher.

"What we're seeing is, people are focused on their monthly payment and their monthly payment is what drives a lot of buying decisions," Jones says.

He says while true that longer-term loans mean lower payments, they also mean higher costs.

"Even if the payment is lower, you could end up paying thousands over the term. so you really have to look at the total cost of ownership," Jones says.

And, look at how long you plan to hold onto the car.

He says: "I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with a 72 month loan if the rates are low. especially if someone says 'this is the car i am going to buy, i'm going to drive it till the wheels fall off'."

Or, if long-term loans aren't an option, he says consider leasing your next, new car.

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