Buy or Lease

To Buy Or Not To Buy. Lease Is The Question.

When it comes time to replace a car, people question whether to buy or lease the next vehicle. Determining what’s best really depends on priorities and lifestyle. Only completely honest answers to hard questions about budget, wants and needs can determine the right choice.

Generally speaking, for most of us buying a new vehicle and keeping it for a number of years will cost less than leasing a new one every 3 years or so. So, why would anyone consider leasing?

Here are a few reasons why leasing might make sense for you:

When budget dictates payment this is the lowest new car option in the short term. Not making the large down payment of a car loan but still having a lower payment makes this a more affordable choice. Leasing allows many the ability to drive a more expensive vehicle at a comparable level to the loan payment of a cheaper model.

No expensive repair bills
Leasing a car covered over the entire duration by a manufacturer’s comprehensive warranty does eliminate worry and repair costs. Just plug the lease payment into your budget and set up your monthly auto pay.

Potential tax advantages
Some business usage may qualify for income tax write-offs.

That New Car Smell
Oh, that smell. You can’t bottle that new car smell! Well, actually it can and is bottled and you can just go out and buy one. But, we all know it’s not the same, and you’ll just be masking the smell of old french fries that fell beneath the seat months ago.

The pride of driving a new car every 3 years or so with all the latest style, luxury, and tech features is a compelling reason for many drivers. It feels good. You deserve the best, but you can’t afford it. Lease away!

On the other hand, buying might make better sense for you, and here are a few valid reasons:

You are practical
You want to drive a quality vehicle that offers comfort, reliability, safety and value. You don’t need to impress anyone with a new car parked in your driveway. You’ll maintain the vehicle and drive it as long as you can. The longer you own the car the greater your reward in cost savings vs leasing. Pamper that ride or drive it like you hate it. You own it.

You drive low miles
For those who drive less than 10,000 miles per year, buying and keeping your vehicle for just 6 years will cost less (even with repairs and maintenance) than leasing the same vehicle for 3 years twice in a row. That’s just math working for you on this one.

Eliminating car payments
In the case above, when purchasing a vehicle it is typically paid off in 5 years. If the owner drives 7,000 miles a year over 5 years it will have only 35,000 miles. Purchasing has left the owner with a low mileage vehicle and no car payment as well as the full value of the vehicle. Again, thank you, math.

You can’t resist making modifications
If you’re the sort of car owner that likes to tinker, or just send your car to the shop for modifications, you gotta buy that car. Like most any type of lease, the owner wants the property back the same way it was delivered. If you want to do a custom sound system or you want to bump up that horsepower, don’t even think of leasing!

Fear of commitment
Leases are very, very costly to break, therefore you need to have confidence in your commitment to the vehicle over the full lease term. Job situations and life changes sometimes require people to drive more miles or change to a different type of vehicle. If you aren’t absolutely sure that you can commit to it, don’t lease.

Now you’ve got some things to consider, which should help you arrive at an educated decision for your future car purchase…or lease.

About Gary Eisenstein

Gary Eisenstein is a third generation veteran of the auto business. He was a new car dealer for over 30 years before founding Better Auto Buying, a consulting service that utilizes his expertise to help individual consumers make successful vehicle purchases. He serves as an independent auto consultant, consumer advocate and wholesale used car broker. Learn more at: