Buy or Lease Your Next Car?

If you are in the market for a new car you have two options: buy or lease.

Leasing

New car leasing has been an available option to new car buyers since the early 1980’s. On the surface it seems very straight forward. Buyers pay no, or a very low, down payment and lower monthly payments. In return they get to drive a vehicle which has maintenance and service provided every month until the leasing contract is up.

The down side of the leasing option is that the vehicle you lease does not ever belong to you. You are leasing the vehicle. At the end of the lease term the vehicle is returned to the dealer. You might have the option to buy the vehicle, but at a very high cost to you.

You also have a limit to how many miles you are permitted to drive the car each year, usually 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year. If you exceed this limit you pay for every extra mile.

Buying

If you decide to buy your car you will likely pay more money down and pay more each month, but at the end of your purchase deal you will own the vehicle outright. There is also no limit on the number of miles you can drive each year. Drive as much or as little as you like and don’t worry about paying extra for the privilege.

However, when you buy your vehicle you are responsible for the maintenance. Servicing your vehicle and keeping it in good running order is totally up to you. With a lease the dealer will keep your vehicle in good running order because they own it and have a vested interest in taking good care of it. When you own the car, it is all up to you.

Though you pay more each month for your vehicle and pay for regular maintenance costs, owning a vehicle can you save you money in the long run because you will likely get more miles out of it. Once your loan is paid off, in about three or four years, the vehicle is yours, and usually still in good running order. If you keep driving the car for another seven to ten years you will earn back everything you paid in interest and maintenance.

Which is Best for You

Deciding on whether to lease or buy your next new vehicle is really a simple decision. If you plan to drive your car a lot, racking up the miles, you definitely do not want to lease your vehicle. It will only end up costing you more in the long run. If you want to drive as much or as little as you like, buying is the right option for you.

If miles don’t matter and you want a maintenance and worry free vehicle you can drive back and forth to work every day, then consider a lease. It will cost you less up-front and every month thereafter and never leave you hanging.
Ultimately, you need to make the decision that works best for you and that makes the best financial sense.

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