Cars & Money

BUYER’S GUIDE: 5 Tips for Leasing Your Next Car

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Thinking of leasing your next new car instead of buying one? You’re not alone. Leasing is a popular alternative to buying a car outright and is a great option for those who are lower-mileage drivers who also like the idea of having a new ride more often. Just like buying a car, there are ways to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Read our 5 tips for leasing your next car and be ready when you walk into the dealership.

Mercedes-Benz C300 Dash

Pay the Lowest Mileage Possible

Leasing a car means it’s not yours so you’ll be turning it in at the end of the lease period and you pay for the miles you drive. The fear is that you won’t opt for enough miles and will be paying for extra miles when the lease is over. That’s okay. Once it was cheaper to pay for miles upfront, but now the cost isn’t always so different. Check this carefully when you lease your car, get the lowest miles that work for you, and if you go over, budget for that amount. If you pay for too many at the start, they aren’t reimbursing you a dime.

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Increase Your Deposit

Depending on the leasing program, you may be able to pay a greater deposit up front and reduce your monthly payments. Since putting more down at the start reduces risk, some leasing companies will reduce your interest rate and save you a few dollars every month. Just like when you buy a car outright, a larger upfront deposit can take the sting out of those monthly payments.

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Don’t Forget Gap Insurance

Just because you don’t own the car doesn’t mean you won’t be on the hook for payments if the car is stolen or totaled. Check to see if your leasing contract includes gap insurance and consider shopping around to find a plan that includes the coverage.


Know What Damage is Normal Wear and Tear

Remember, this isn’t your car and you’re turning it in at the end of the lease. Any damage to the car will be your responsibility when you turn it in so be sure you understand what constitutes normal wear and tear. Some companies are okay with small scratches, but others will charge handsomely or require you to fix it on your own. Be sure you understand what your lease allows.


Don’t Opt for a Long Lease

One of the perks to leasing a car is that it’s new so your maintenance cost are lower and often covered under warranty. Lease for too long and those costs go up as the warranties run out. Try not to lease for longer than the car’s warranty period. If you want that car for the next 5 years, then you should consider buying instead of leasing.

Whether you buy or lease, putting a car in your driveway is an expensive proposition. Making sure you understand the process is key to making sure you’ve got the right car at a monthly payment you can afford.

Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin