The Car Buying Guide for Extreme Savers









8 Biggest Disadvantages to Leasing a Car

Leasing a car may sound like a good idea - after all, the monthly payments are significantly lower than purchasing a car, but the reality is that leasing is not recommended for most people.

Let's take a look at some of the major pitfalls.

1. Expensive in the Long Run

When you lease, you're basically paying for the use of the vehicle for the first 2 or 3 years of its life - when the car depreciates the most. When your lease is over, you either have to lease another car or purchase one - either way you're going to have monthly payments for a long time, whereas if you purchased a car to begin with, you would essentially drive it payment-free after you've paid off the loans.

2. Limited Mileage

Most leases have driving limits of between 10,000 and 15,000 miles per year. Anything over this amount will be penalized at a very high rate.

3. High Insurance Cost

Many people are surprised to learn that insuring a leased car can be way more expensive than they thought. Most leasing companies require you to get a higher level of insurance coverage on the vehicle - usually up to $300,000 in liability coverage. This can make your insurance payments a lot higher than if you had purchased a car instead.

4. Confusing

Dealers love leasing because most people don't understand how it works. There are many ways dealers can pad their profits when you lease a car. Unless you're extremely careful and thorough, you could end up paying a lot more than you should.

5. Hard to Cancel

Leasing is like signing a rental agreement. You can't just walk away from it - there are stiff penalties if you do. If you purchased a vehicle instead, you could always sell it if you don't want it anymore. With a lease, it's practically impossible to terminate, although there are some options available.

6. Requires Good Credit

If you have bad credit, don't even think about leasing. Overall financing costs during a lease are always higher than a loan because you never pay off any principle. Besides, most leasing companies require you to have a decent level of credit and a stable financial situation.

7. Lots of Fees

There are many fees associated with leasing that you won't find anywhere else. In order to lease, you'll need to pay an acquisition fee of at least $400, and a disposition fee of at least $200 at the end of the lease. In addition, there are an assortment of excessive "wear and tear" fees that you could be liable for when you turn in the vehicle. Leasing companies are notorious for charging high fees for small dings and scratches - so you need to be extra careful taking care of the vehicle as you drive.

8. No Customizations

If you like customizing your vehicle, forget about it. At the end of a lease, you need to return the vehicle in the same condition and configuration as you received it. This means no engine modifications, paint, or accessories such as spoilers.

My Recommendation for New Car Shoppers


TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest prices available on new cars in your area. Both tools provide upfront prices from local dealers, and the deals are usually really good. It should be the first step you take when negotiating car prices. You should follow that up with my checklist to make sure you get the best possible deal.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About the Author: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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