What to Do When Your Car Lease Ends

Posted on 02/15/2011

Lots of drivers lease their cars. For roughly three to five years you drive, make payments, and probably don’t think much about what happens when your time is up. But what do you do when that lease is coming to an end? Here are some steps to consider.

Check Your Mileage - Auto leases come with an annual mileage cap, usually 12,000 or 15,000 miles. Make sure you won’t be going over this number as your car lease comes to an end or you could be forced to write the dealership a fat check. If you’re getting close to your cap, cut your driving time as much as possible to avoid extra fees.

Prepare for an Inspection - Before your lease ends you’ll likely be required to get an inspection done by a third party. Before your scheduled inspection, make sure your car is as clean as possible. They’ll expect normal wear and tear, but the better your vehicle looks, the less likely you are to have to pay for any damages.

Find Out if a Buyout is a Good Deal - When your lease ends you have the option of buying out your car. Sometimes this is a good deal and sometimes it’s not. Do your research by calling your leasing company and finding out what the current buyout amount is. Compare that with the True Market Value at Edmunds.com to find out if a buyout is your best move.

Determine Your Next Move - If you decide you don’t want to buy out your lease, you’ll probably be in the market for a new set of wheels. Get help analyzing your new lease deal with the Lease Calculator at leaseguide.com. It will help you determine monthly payments and uncover hidden fees. You may also want to compare your new lease deal with the option of taking out a car loan. The Lease vs. Buy Calculator will tell you which option is best for your circumstances so you can be behind the wheel of a new car without carrying around a load of buyers’ remorse.

By Alison Storm

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Frugal Tips

Posted on 02.15.11 at 1:59 PM

I have never leased a car (I buy) but these are great tips for those who do!

Budget Wedding

Posted on 02.15.11 at 2:01 PM

My sister in law was docked for driving too much on one of her leases - it does cost a lot!

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