We live in strange and uncertain times. Even during the best of times, getting a new car is not a decision that is so easy to make. All the uncertainty of contemporary living just adds the dimension of financial responsibility in the mix.
If your question is – which is best: leasing or buying a car, sadly, the answer would be: depends. The best option for you depends on many factors exclusive to you and your living and financial conditions.
Keep reading to learn how these two options differ and pick one that is the best for you.
Leasing a car – pros and cons
When you lease a car, you are essentially renting it from the car dealership for your lease period. Think of it as renting a room or an apartment.
You are free to use your car just as you would an apartment that you are renting, but – same as with ending a renting contract prematurely getting out of a car lease earlier than it is done is not an easy feat. Sure, you can do it, but not without paying additional fees and penalties. That is why you need to be absolutely sure that this type of arrangement works for you before you sign the lease.
Leasing a car is the better option for you if you are low on cash but need a new car right away. Most places have no initial cost associated with leasing a car, so you can quickly and easily get a brand new car. On top of that, compared to the monthly payments you would have to make when buying a vehicle, leasing a car tends to cost way less every month.
On the other side of the spectrum is the fact that you do not own the leased car. Therefore, even once the lease is done, you will have two options – buying that car for a predetermined price or simply returning that vehicle and taking a lease on a new one.
This option might be appealing to you if you want to drive the best and latest car model every couple of years. Also, consider the significant leaps in tech features, driver safety, and fuel economy that car manufacturers make with each new model. When you think about all these things, leasing a car might not be such a bad choice.
However, some limitations come with leasing a car. The most significant one might be the predetermined mileage limit. Depending on the dealer, this limit can be from ten to fifteen thousand miles per year. If you don’t drive too much, this should be no issue for you. But if you go past this limit, expect to pay extra for every excess mile.
Buying a car – advantages, and disadvantages
Since you do not own the car you are leasing; you can also not modify it in any way. So once again, if all you want is the option to drive a new and reliable car every couple of years, this should not be a deal-breaker. But it is something to consider if these things matter to you.
Almost every car lease contract comes with an “excessive wear and tear” clause. It stipulates that you must pay for any damage that is caused by reckless driving.
As you can tell, both these terms are hard to define and highly subjective. However, when you are your car owner, you don’t have to worry about every tiny dent or scratch that appears on your vehicle since it is your property.
Like you have read above, ending a lease prematurely is a complicated and frequently expensive process. Meanwhile, if you own the vehicle, you are free to sell or trade it anytime you want.
That is the main crux of being a car owner – you do own the car, but monthly payments are higher. Buying a car also requires a more significant down payment. On top of it all, while many leases come with insurance and repair programs that make these things much cheaper, you will be paying for all those things out of your pocket.
Now you should be able to decide which is worth more – the pride of owning a car and ability to drive and modify it any way you want even though it costs more or leasing a car and getting some benefits in exchange for some inconveniences.