Leasing a Car

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Pros & Cons of leasing?

Dec 2013

I have always outright bought cars.... so I'm not super experienced in car economics at all. We have one 15 year old Honda, and a 6 year old Toyota. But I'm curious to what the process for leasing is. Do you negotiate it? How does it work? What pros and cons are there? I sort of have stars in my eyes thinking I can get a new or newish minivan for a low monthly cost and then give it back in a few years when I will no longer really need it. Is it just that easy... or am I just that naive? Car lease clueless

Please do a lot of research. Consumer Reports has gone into this frequently. Watch out for mileage limits (exceed them and you pay big time). Depending on the dealer, you can end up with major disagreements and penalty/payment for condition of car at end of lease.

Caught in the Car Leasing Trap

Feb 2004

I have been leasing cars for years and I want out. Every couple of years, I lease a new car, usually a year before the lease is up, not because I like to drive a new car, but because I always go over the allotted mileage. If I wait until the lease period is up, I estimate that I have to pay at least $2000 in excess mileage. Instead, I use that money as a down payment for yet another new lease car. What would happen if I buy the car at the end of the lease period, would I only be responsible for the residual value, or do I still have to pay the excess mileage fee? Does anyone have any experience with negotiating down residual value, ie. purchase fee? Could I also buy, instead of leasing, before the lease of my old lease is up? I am just looking for ways to get out of the lease trap and obtaining a pink slip, instead of never having anything to call mine. Any ideas, even if they sound farfetched, are greatly appreciated. Jannette

Some points on leasing
- everything is negotiable. If you'd like to purchase the car at the end of the lease term, negotiate the amount of the residual AND ask them to waive the excess mileage. Depending on how motivated the lessor is, they will negotiate before having to take back a car, clean it up, and sell it.
- when you lease a car again, negotiate a higher mileage allowance (eg 15K per year), so you don't get stuck again.
- you can turn in your car to the dealer where you purchase your car from, but they will likely fold in your lease payments to your car payments. so be very careful about the terms presented
- see if your lessor is willing to convert your lease into a purchase option