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Leasing a Car Has Advantages and Disadvantages

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Leasing a Car Has Advantages and Disadvantages

Charles Essmeier
May 26, 2006

Buying a car is expensive; there is no getting around that. It's easy to pay as much for a new car today as one might have paid for a house a generation ago. But they are more complicated than they used to be and they are safer, too. Still, there is the matter of the money, and if you don't have a lot to spend you may be considering leasing instead of buying. The low monthly payments offered with leases can be appealing, particularly if you are on a budget.

But there is more to leasing a car than just the low payment advertised in the commercial on TV. Anyone who is in the market for a new automobile should consider the pros and cons of leasing a car as opposed to buying one.

Here are some of the good points about leasing a car:

The payments are lower – Sure, the payments are lower; you are only paying for the portion of the car's value that you are actually using, and not the car itself. The lower payments could help budget-minded shoppers, or they could allow the consumer to make a deal on a more expensive car than he or she might have otherwise purchased.

Less cash outlay – It's possible in many cases to lease a car with less out of pocket cash than a purchase requires. This could help some shoppers who don't have a lot of cash for a large down payment.

The drawbacks to leasing include:

Excess mileage fees – The lease spells out how many miles you may drive per year; if you exceed the total over the life of the lease you will have to pay extra. That extra fee could be as much as 25 cents per mile and some leases permit as few as 10,000 miles per year. If you drive a lot and you fail to consider this, you could be paying a lot of extra cash at the end of the contract.

Early termination fee – If you have to end the lease early, the fee charged could be huge. How large? You might have to pay everything owed on the remainder of the contract. Even if you don't plan to end the contract early, it sometimes happens in the form of auto theft or an accident.

You don't have a car – This one seems obvious, but with a lease, you don't actually own a car. When the contract is up, you give it back and you have nothing tangible to show for the money you have paid. You may, of course, purchase the vehicle for an agreed-upon price, but otherwise you will find yourself, once again, without a car to drive.

For some people, the advantages of having a fairly new car all the time makes leasing a good choice. For people who drive a lot or who want to get the most car for their money, buying is probably a better options. Consider the pros and cons carefully in order to decide which method of acquiring transportation works best for you.

©Copyright 2006 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including LemonLawHelp.net, a site devoted to information regarding lemon laws for automobiles.



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