View Full Version : Okay, So My Car Lease Is Up...

12-30-2008, 07:40 AM
...and since these were the first cars I've leased, I really don't know what to expect. We (my wife, actually) leased a Camry and a 4-Runner, and we'd be fine with turning them in for newer models of the same cars. We also know we have the option to buy one or both of them, or to just walk away, but we've had a relatively good relationship with this Toyota dealer and we're inclined to do business with them again.

Both cars are slightly over the mileage limit, but both are in excellent shape. With the car buying market the way it is now, and with two cars being involved, I'd think we'd have a certain amount of leverage, but I don't know how much or how to use it. Any ideas on what sort of deal we could expect?

12-30-2008, 08:27 AM
I believe that leases are quite expensive now.

12-30-2008, 08:41 AM
Whatever you do, don't buy them off the lease.

Figure out what you want ahead of time. Go do some test drives, comparison shopping, whatever. But never get roped into going into the sales office when you're simply out doing your research. You'll get bent over. And not in a good way. Having a friend or relative with you to remind you that you're just test driving is usually helpful in this regard.

It's fine if they've treated you well, but shop around for the best deals. If you are in a metropolitan area with multiple dealers, you can play dealers against each other to drive the price down. I'm particularly fond of email. No phone calls until the best deal is on the table & no one else can better it. That's when you make the phone call to start things rolling.

Good luck.

Sea Ray
12-30-2008, 09:40 AM
Go in and talk to your salesman about what options he can offer you. You can negotiate the buyout on your vehicle. You don't have to accept the residual on your contract. In today's market the dealer knows he can't get that for your car if you don't pay it so you have some leverage. Generally what they do with turned in lease vehicles is send them off to auction. A cool dealer will make a deal where you'll pay like $500 over what the car is worth in an auction. Some dealers are getting out of the lease business altogether because too many folks are turning in those vehicles and the dealer never gets anywhere close to the residual money out of the car.

12-30-2008, 12:21 PM
whether to buy or turn in all depends on what price may have been negotiated when the lease was signed.

do you like the car?
What is the car worth now?
How much will it cost to buy it?

The answers to the above questions should make your decision easy.

Dom Heffner
12-30-2008, 12:30 PM
For me, the only way to have a car is to buy it used and drive it into the ground.

You come out way ahead.

I don't do any deals where I have to make a downpayment on something that isn't mine.

12-30-2008, 12:58 PM
You may or may not be able to negoaite the residual price, but Toyota holds there value pretty well and at the end of the day it is a contract. If you are over your miles you might be better off just buying the car.
I agree with talking to the dealer and seeing if they can do anything for you. I had a lease on a Honda Accord that was up and I got a new Acura TSX and had a family member buy the Accord, but the the price was the price on the Honda. As for the new lease I got a pretty good deal (this was in October), but you have to have good credit or they aren't going to even talk to you.

12-30-2008, 04:42 PM
You may or may not be able to negoaite the residual pricecheck your lease documents, there may have been a residual stated in the original documentation. In every lease the lessee has to make a guess at a residual value at the end of the lease otherwise there is no way to calculate a lease payment.

12-31-2008, 05:32 AM
Stay away from Chrysler leases. My wife and I leased our two vans (Voyager and Caravan). When we went to turn in the second van and end the lease them it was a hassle. Not only did we have to take it to a drop-off location in a distant city completely remote from where we leased it; but they then hit us with a drop-off fee of several hundred dollars, a clean-up fee, and over-mileage. And then there was the appraiser who came out to the house to assess any "damage" (wear n tear).

If you stay in your lease, a majority won't charge you for the mileage overage if they are going to put you into a new car.

We learned our lesson because prior we knew very little about leasing other then it carried a monthly payment far lower then if one buys, and it fit our limited budget at the time.

You can drive a new vehicle more often, usually with less money down and a lower monthly payment than with traditional financing. That is usually why a majority lease.

Leasing is not for everybody. If one can buy, then buy.

Honda leases are completely different in many aspects.....http://www.hondafinancialservices.com/planning/lease.asp

When we gave up the Caravan we went to a local Honda dealership to look into leasing a Honda Odyssey. The lease was better, but after looking more into it we were able to put two grand down and bought the van. We financed it for 6 years with a monthly payment of $400. That also included the extra option though of "bumper to bumper" coverage for 100,000 miles (above the standard warranty).

I had no problem financing it for 6 years because it kept our payments down to fit our budget, and like Dom..... I take care of my cars, hold onto them and drive them into the ground. I'll drive this van for 10 years.

Last year I did go to that dealership and leased a Civic. I needed a work car since I gave the Sable to the teens to drive. I put two grand down and entered into a 3 year lease (15,000 miles/year). I needed to keep my monthly payment down simply because, again, I have two teenagers. ;)

But at the end of this lease I'm going to go in, place another chunk of change down, and buy the car. I'll probably look into financing it for two years, which would mean I paid on it for a total of 5 years before finally owning it, while keeping my monthly payment under $200 the whole time.

12-31-2008, 10:30 AM
For me, the only way to have a car is to buy it used and drive it into the ground.

You come out way ahead.I agree. The way to come out even farther ahead is to not finance at all. Save up the cash and buy that good used car outright. That's what we've been doing lately, as we tighten up our finances in preparation for a couple of big lump sums for college.

12-31-2008, 12:19 PM
For me, the only way to have a car is to buy it used and drive it into the ground.

You come out way ahead.

I don't do any deals where I have to make a downpayment on something that isn't mine.

Agreed. Let someone else take the depreciation hit. Also, there is a reason why car dealerships love to lease vehicles.

12-31-2008, 12:30 PM
No matter what when the dealer first says, "this is the lowest my manager will let me go", he can always go lower. I've had several dealers feed me this line and then proceed to call me when I'm driving away and tell me they can go a little lower.

01-01-2009, 12:07 AM
If anyone shopping for (or thinking of shopping for in the next little while) hasn't read the lengthy investigation Edmunds.com did on car sales, I would highly recommend it.

It's an incredibly long article, but they sent a reporter undercover to get a job as a car salesman at two dealerships and the results are extremely eye opening.


01-01-2009, 05:36 AM
About 15 years ago my Dad had a cassette tape he made from a radio show (interview) by an ex-car salesman who was actually located in Cincy.

This guy was basically giving up "trade secrets" to aid consumers before they go to that car lot.

I've always remembered some of those basics when I go to buy or trade in my car....

Rule #1... remember that you are talking to an experienced salesperson who has honed his craft. He does this day after day. It's his job and how he makes a living.

Rule #2... before you step onto that lot, do your research, make a list of that particular model(s) YOU WANT. If you walk onto that lot and simply say "I'm in the market for a new car", then he is going to do his best to direct you to that model(s) he needs to push/sell.

Rule #3.... get the Kelly Blue Book on that model, including the options you want. That way you can match that price with the sticker price, and you know how much it's been marked up, and how much negotiating room you have.

Rule #4... NEVER... and I mean NEVER, when negotiating on any car purchase, allow them to figure in the trade-in price with the new car. Treat them as separate transactions. You will come out ahead. If you don't, then they will come out ahead. Stand your ground if they try to feed you the lines about "what is your trade-in?" while negotiating on a new car purchase. KEEP'EM SEPARATE!

Negotiate the price of the new car and get that set. Then negotiate on what they will give you - what you will take - on your trade-in.

Rule #5... Again do your research and compare various dealership's offers. Play them one against the other to get the best deal. They are in competition and want your business. Show patience. Don't be afraid to walk off the lot and tell that saleman to give you a call if you can give me a better deal, or that you're also looking elsewhere. Take the pressure off you and put it on them. They need to sell you a car in order to make a living.

Rule #6.... the car market has highs and lows throughout the course of the year. In the Spring (good weather) sales are far better, more brisk. The Winter months are slow. Also.... go in at the end of a sales quarter when they are really trying to meet their numbers (quota) before the quarter ends. You can get some good deals at the end (last day) of the Winter quarter.

01-01-2009, 10:01 AM
For me, the only way to have a car is to buy it used and drive it into the ground.

You come out way ahead.

I don't do any deals where I have to make a downpayment on something that isn't mine.

Couldn't say it any better. I have 2 cars with over 100k miles & one with 82k. Haven't had a car payment in years. Insurance is cheaper too.

Concerning your lease, look at your paperwork. If you have a "closed end" lease the price of the vehicle is set, although you could probably negotiate from there in today's economy. If it's an open lease and you don't want to keep the car, walk away and find a good 2-4 year old low mileage vehicle.

01-01-2009, 03:17 PM
I'm finally replacing my '96 Nissan Maxima. It has 285k miles on it. I would have driven it longer, but it needs about a $500 repair on he rear struts and it's now leaking oil, and I hate oil leaks. Just yesterday I bought another Maxima off Craigslist. I paid $6k for a 2002 Maxima GLE loaded with every option imaginable and in immaculate shape. It has just over 100k miles on it. It was a total steal. That's generally how I buy cars.

01-02-2009, 01:02 AM
I'm finally replacing my '96 Nissan Maxima. It has 285k miles on it. I would have driven it longer, but it needs about a $500 repair on he rear struts and it's now leaking oil, and I hate oil leaks. Just yesterday I bought another Maxima off Craigslist. I paid $6k for a 2002 Maxima GLE loaded with every option imaginable and in immaculate shape. It has just over 100k miles on it. It was a total steal. That's generally how I buy cars.

I have a 2002 Maxima GLE fully loaded with 122k miles on it and love it. Be happy with that price as I paid double that four years ago.
Just keep an eye on it, at just around 100k miles I had several things go out (radiator cracked, oil pump broke, brakes) within a few weeks of each other and that was a killer on the pocketbook. Other than that, I've just had general maintenance costs (oil, brake pads, filters, etc) and it still runs strong.

Enjoy that extra umph the 2002's have under the hood as well.

01-03-2009, 08:32 AM
Not that I am advocating leasing, but if that is your thing, I was down at the Honda dealership yesterday (wife ripped the splash guard off from under the front of the van), and they are offering some great deals on the equipped models (not the basic ones).

If you have the cash to put down (2 grand) you can a 1.9% rate, and a monthly payment of $160/month on Accords.

max venable
01-04-2009, 09:13 PM
Dave Ramsey on leasing:

A car "fleece" is basically renting a car. You pay $400 a month and at the end of the new car lease, you turn it back in. If you want to buy it, you are buying it for what they estimate at the beginning of the fleece to be the market value. At the end of the lease, it’s called the residual value. If you pay $400 a month for 60 months, you pay $24,000 before turning it in. The car will not have gone down in value more than that, because the car companies would lose money if it did. When they get the car back, you will have paid them more than the car has depreciated during that time.

During that time, you’re maintaining the car as if you owned it. You’ll get charged for excessive wear and tear, or if you put too many miles on it. If you rent it for $24,000 and it went down $15,000 in value, then it cost me $9,000 to rent this car for this period of time. That is their profit during that time.

Another thing is that the interest rates on a vehicle lease are not disclosed because the Federal Trade Commission has determined that this is not a debt, so there is no federal disclosure involved. Therefore, you have no truth in lending disclosure sheet. The interest rates you get charged are unbelievably high. That’s where you’ll realize you got screwed over.

People get sold automobile leases because they are told that it’s what sophisticated people do. But as it turns out, the car companies make more money on leasing you the car than if you bought the car with cash, according to the National Auto Dealers Association. Broke people think ‘how much down and how much a month’. Rich people think ‘how much’. If you can’t pay cash for a car, then ride a bicycle. But don’t lease a car.

01-18-2009, 04:53 PM
I've recently tried leasing and it was a sore experience thinking all along, that money is gone and at the end the vehicle is not mine. So I wouldn't lease again under any circumstances. I'm now paying off a vehicle to call my own at the end of the payment then I'm running that to the ground while saving up the money to buy a used car...

01-19-2009, 01:31 AM
Stay away from Chrysler leases.

I had a similar horror story with my Chrysler lease. Not only was my iron-clad residual value ridiculously higher than it should have been, I had to pay a non-renewal fee on my lease for, shocker, turning the car in when the lease was up. Not to mention that my monthly payments SKYROCKETED because I didn't want to put any money down.

I told them while I absolutely loved the car, that I refused to pay that final price. And that while they may have made money on me over the course of the lease, they were penny wise but pound foolish. I will never deal with them ever again, and would have to think long and hard before ever getting a Chrysler.

For those that recommend going used over new, I thought the same thing when I looked to purchase. However, after taking into account the change in interest rate, and the inferior warranty, through Edmunds.com I was able to negotiate a great price for a new car (some may even get the friends and family discount.)

Some other doosies to be aware of:

-Gap insurance, only get it if your insurance policy does not cover it, and more specifically if you are not putting a significant amount down.
-always go in well informed, and more importantly well-rested, they will use it to their advantage if possible.
-test drive cars first, find what car and engine you like, then leave and become familiar with packages on cars, as they can drive down the price for features you may want, and you can get even more for less
-Call around to many dealerships, use them against each other, as they have no mercy when trying to secure a deal. find out who has the cars you want, and what is the best price they will give you. Be warned, they will call you back with surprisingly better offers not long after you hang up.
-shop at the end of the month
-shop in this economy if you can afford it, the deals are borderline ridiculous right now
-not often known or advertised, many companies have student/graduation rebates, you can often find out about them and others online
-use Edmunds.com!!!!

Good luck!