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Leasing vs. Buying a New Car: Making the Right Choice for Your Needs

  November 1, 2023

When purchasing a new car, you have three options: leasing, financing, and buying outright. Each has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh them carefully before making a decision.

In this guide, we’ll compare leasing vs. buying a new car to help you choose the best option for your needs.


What Does Leasing a Car Mean?

Leasing a car is a great way to drive a new car every few years without worrying about depreciation or maintenance. You’ll make monthly payments on the vehicle for a specific period, typically 24 or 36 months.


Pros of Leasing a Car

  • Lower monthly payments: Leasing typically has lower monthly payments than financing, making it a more affordable option for many people. 
  • Warranty coverage: Leased vehicles generally are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, so you don’t have to worry about unexpected repair costs.
  • No resale hassle: At the end of the lease term, you simply return the car to the dealer without having to sell it.

Cons of Leasing a Car

  • Mileage restrictions: Lease agreements often have mileage limits, and exceeding these limits can result in additional fees. 
  • No ownership or equity: With leasing, you don’t build equity in the car, and you must return it at the end of the lease term unless you choose to purchase it. 
  • Wear and tear charges: You may be responsible for additional fees if the leased vehicle has excessive wear and tear. 
  • Long-term cost: Leasing can be more expensive in the long run than buying, especially if you consistently lease cars over many years.

What Does It Mean to Finance a Car?

Financing a car is the process of taking out a loan to purchase the vehicle. Monthly payments include both the principal amount (the amount borrowed) and interest charges. Over time, as you make these payments, you’ll build equity in the car (ownership interest). Once the loan is fully paid off, you’ll become the car’s legal owner.


Pros of Financing a Car

  • Ownership and equity: Financing allows you to build equity in the vehicle and eventually own it outright. 
  • No mileage or modification restrictions: With financing, there are no mileage limits, and you’re free to modify the car as desired. 
  • Lower long-term cost: Buying a car and keeping it for an extended period is generally more cost-effective than regularly leasing new vehicles.

Cons of Financing a Car

  • Higher monthly payments: Financing typically has higher monthly payments than leasing. 
  • Maintenance costs: As the owner, you’re responsible for all maintenance and repair costs. 
  • Depreciation: Cars tend to lose value over time. 
  • Potential for negative equity: If the car’s value depreciates faster than you pay off the loan, you may owe more than the vehicle is worth.

3 Factors to Consider When Leasing or Buying a Car


  1. Budget Considerations
  2. As mentioned above, leasing often has lower monthly payments, making it more affordable in the short term. However, buying a car allows you to build equity and eventually own the vehicle, providing lasting value.


  3. Driving Habits
  4. Your driving habits also matter. If you have a long commute or take frequent road trips, leasing may not be the best option due to mileage restrictions. However, leasing may be a better fit if you don’t drive much and prefer having a new car every few years.


  5. Desire for New Technology
  6. If you want the latest car models and technology, leasing allows you to update to a new vehicle every few years. However, if you’re not bothered about having the latest features and are happy to drive an older car, you could opt for financing.


Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Typical Down Payment for Leasing a Car?

Down payment requirements for leasing a car vary, and some leases don’t require them at all. Check with the dealer or leasing company to determine how much down payment is needed for the lease you’re considering.


Do I Need Car Insurance for a Leased Car?

Yes, car insurance is required for leased cars in almost every state. Most leases also require comprehensive and collision coverage. Contact your insurance provider to make sure you have the right coverage for a leased vehicle.


What Is the Mileage Cap for a Leased Car?

Leased cars have mileage limits, usually 10,000 to 12,000 miles per year. If you drive more than that, you’ll have to pay a fee at the end of the lease.


Contact Norman Taylor & Associates Today!

Whether you lease or buy a car, you have legal rights as a consumer. In California, the Lemon law protects those who purchase or lease defective vehicles that cannot be repaired within a reasonable number of attempts.

If you think you have a lemon, contact Norman Taylor & Associates today to understand your legal rights and options. Our firm specializes in California lemon law cases and can provide the guidance and representation you need.

Call 818-244-3905 to schedule a FREE consultation.

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