Should I Lease a Vehicle?

When you lease a vehicle, you have the right to use it for an agreed number of months and miles. At lease end, you may return the vehicle, pay any end-of-lease fees and charges, and “walk away.” You may buy the vehicle for the additional agreed-upon price if you have a purchase option, a typical provision in lease agreements. If you end the lease early, in most cases you will be responsible for an early termination charge that could be substantial.

The monthly payments on a lease usually are lower than monthly finance payments on the same vehicle because you are paying for the vehicle’s expected depreciation during the lease period, plus a rent charge, taxes, and fees. But at the end of a lease, you must return the vehicle unless the lease agreement lets you buy it and you agree to the purchase costs and terms.

To determine if leasing fits your situation:

Consider the beginning, middle and end of lease costs.
Compare different lease offers and terms, including mileage limits.
Consider how long you may want to keep the vehicle.
The mileage limit in most standard leases is based on a certain number of miles you can drive, typically 15,000 or fewer per year. You can negotiate a higher mileage limit, but that normally increases the monthly payment because the vehicle depreciates more during the life of the lease. If you go beyond the mileage limit in the lease agreement, you probably will have to pay an additional charge when you return the vehicle.

When you lease, you are responsible for excess wear and damage and any missing equipment. You also must service the vehicle according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and maintain insurance that meets the leasing company’s standards.

For more information, see Keys to Vehicle Leasing, a publication of the Federal Reserve Board.

Source:  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0056-understanding-vehicle-financing