5 smart tips for leasing your next car

Consumers who buy a new car have three options for making a deal. The first option involves a cash payment with no financing involved. The second option is auto financing, where the consumer puts money into a new car and finances the rest. The third option is to lease a car, basically lease it for a period and then return it at the end of the lease.

Few people can afford to pay cash for a car, leaving the other two options as possibilities. While financing can help you own your car, leasing can help you get a new car every few years and avoid the hassle and expense of major repairs down the road.

Let’s take a look at several smart tips for leasing your next car:

1. Consider your purchase. What kind of new vehicle do you want? When leasing, you need to identify the right vehicle for you, including make / model, trim level, and other amenities. Choose the car you want and fit it the way you want before moving on to the next step. Yes, you should also test your vehicle to make sure it is the right one for you.

2. Select a term. How long do you want to lease your next car? Although it is possible to get out of a lease, you will pay the transfer costs to a new owner, if you can find one. Choose a lease term that works for you, opting for a shorter 24-month lease if you expect your transportation needs to change or a 36-month or longer lease if you expect your needs to remain the same. The longer the lease, the lower the monthly payment … usually.

3. Know your mileage limits. Renters are often affected at the end of the lease term because they were unaware of their mileage and other limitations. Typically, you will be able to drive 1,000 miles per month or 39,000 miles for a 39-month lease. Look over that number and you could be charged 20 cents per mile, a payment you will need to make at the end of the lease term.

4. Consider wear and tear. When you lease, you must take care of regular maintenance, unless a maintenance schedule is included with your lease. Change the oil at regular intervals, spin the tires, replace the air filter, and handle other matters related to the end of the lease term. If you return the vehicle with obvious signs of wear, expect to be eligible for a maintenance fee. You can end up with a bill of hundreds of dollars for repairs, maintenance, and touch-ups inside and out.

5. When to buy. Some people claim that there are better times to rent a car than others. Typically, that time can appear during the last four months of the calendar year when manufacturers seek to remove older products from dealer lots to free up space for new models. Still, year-round leases can be had, so keep your eyes peeled for bargains. Plus, you can also negotiate your lease, lowering your monthly payment and your down payment or your capitalized cost rate.

Final thoughts

When leasing a car, you will typically do so through the finance arm of the manufacturer. Negotiate the best deal, and if you later decide you don’t want the car, there are services like and that can help you get out of a lease. You can also use those services to test the lease, assuming the lease payments yourself to find out if a particular car and lease is right for you.

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