3 Reasons Why You Should Lease a Car (and 3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t)

Half of your friends swear that buying a car is the only way to go. The other half? They’re just about ready to trade in their sedan for a souped-up SUV. Yep, car buying is often a touchy subject. But the truth is, it’s a super-personal decision that depends solely on your own lifestyle. On the fence about what’s right for you? Here are a few reasons you might want to lease, and a couple reasons to consider buying instead.

making a car payment

You'll Have Lower Monthly Payments...

Got $30K laying around? No? Neither do most people, which is why they take out loans to purchase new cars. And when they do, not only do they pay back the cost of the car, they also have to pay interest every month. On the other hand, when you lease a car, you primarily pay for the car’s depreciation during the years you drive it, so the monthly lease payments are usually lower. Leasing means you could spend roughly 30 percent less on monthly payments compared with the monthly cost of a loan to own a car. In fact, 2017 data has shown lease specials offered by dealerships going for as low as $200 a month compared with $500 a month if you buy a brand-new car. This also means you can usually even lease something a little nicer than you could afford to buy.

hands on a steering wheel

...but You'll Always Have To Pay Something

Here’s the thing. While lease payments may require less money up front and per month, you can get caught in a cycle of continually leasing, meaning you’ll always have a payment. However, the typical loan agreement for buying a new car is about 69 months, according to 2017 data. This means that if you’re planning to own your vehicle for more than six years, you eventually won’t have car payments at all. And Chase Auto makes the loan process easy by letting you apply and get approved all online—before you even step inside the dealership. That way, you’re prepared when you go in to make a purchase and will know approximately what you’ll be paying each month (and for how long).

woman buying a new car
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You'll Get A New Car Every 3 Years (if You Want)...

Lease contracts typically only last for three years. And if you choose to turn in your leased car, that means you can start a new lease on a brand-new car, so you’ll always be driving something that’s in its most trouble-free years. If driving the latest model vehicle (either for the shiny factor or the safety factor) is something that’s important to you, leasing is definitely the way to go.

kids in the back of a car
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...but You're Expected To Keep It In Perfect Condition

Leasing a car is just like renting an apartment: Even though you have full run of the place for a set amount of time, it’s not technically yours. And when you hand the keys back over, they expect it to be left in tip-top shape. Same goes for a leased vehicle, which can be tougher than it sounds (especially if messy kids are involved). If you can’t guarantee that you can keep the car in showroom condition, buying one that you can keep in whatever state you like is probably the better option.

taking photos of a car to sell
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You Don't Have To Deal With The Resale...

When the time comes that you’re ready to move on and get a new car, you won’t have to worry about depreciation and resale. The dealership you leased it from will handle everything—all you have to do is turn in the keys and decide what kind of car you want to lease next. It’s a big weight off your shoulders.

woman holding hat out of a car window

...but You're Only Allowed So Many Miles

When you picture your next car, do you see cool a set of wheels you can use to zoom around town? Or do you have visions of a nice, roomy vehicle that’s perfect for road trips? If it’s the latter, know this: Lease terms always come with mileage caps. Meaning, if you go over a certain number of miles, you’ll have to pay a fee. (In most cases, you’re restricted to 10,000 to 12,000 miles annually—after that, you’ll pay around 25 cents a mile for any overage.) So be realistic about how you’re actually using the vehicle—if the answer is “a lot,” leasing might not be the way to go.

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Director, Branded Content

Cristina Polchinski is a director of branded content at Gallery Media Group. She produces sponsored content campaigns across all verticals and platforms, in addition to...