Today, more and more drivers are choosing to lease a car. With a lease, consumers can make lower monthly payments. They can also keep up with all the latest auto trends, from infotainment to high-tech safety aids. However, before you sign on the dotted line, there are a few things you should consider.
What You Should Know About Leasing a Car
Leasing a Car: The Basics
Leasing a car is different from buying, because you agree to make a certain amount of monthly payments and return the car to the dealership at the end of the lease. You still make a large payment up front, however, like you might with a downpayment on a purchase. The more you pay, the lower your monthly payments will be. Leases typically last between two and four years. After your lease is up, you can lease another new car, purchase your existing car, or return the car and walk away (paying any fees you incur due to extra mileage or wear and tear).
Mileage and Wear and Tear Costs
Under most leases, you can incur normal wear and tear without any penalty. However, your lease will define maintenance costs - like tires, light bulbs, and brakes - that are your responsibility. It will also define the size of scratches that are more than just the usual wear and tear. The average driver pays about $1,800 for wear and tear costs at the end of a lease.
Your lease will also define limits on mileage. In fact, restricted mileage is one of the reasons why monthly lease payments are so low. If you go over the agreed-upon mileage, however, you will have to pay a fine at the end of your lease.
Can You End a Car Lease Early?
If for some reason you need to get out of a lease, you do have options. Ideally, you can find a driver willing to take over your lease payments for the remaining term. If not, most leasing agreements include an early termination fee. Your lease agreement may also force you to pay the remaining payments before you can end it early.