Many people struggle with the decision to buy a new car, or lease one. But what you may not realize is that it's also possible to lease a used car. Leasing a used vehicle is an attractive option for drivers wanting an affordable alternative to get behind the wheel of a luxury sedan or SUV.
As with new car leasing, you need to do some research to help secure the best deal. First and foremost is price research.
When you research price, focus on the initial market value and the estimated residual value. These are the vehicle's key figures. It's harder to predict these figures with used cars, because there are no pre-determined factory sticker prices and the residual percentages are determined by the subjective current retail value. That's why it's important to gather several value estimates and then find a median price. You can find this information by visiting local dealers or searching online at sites like cars.com and edmunds.com.
Another way to pin down a good estimate is to compare the used car lease with a lease on a new car of the same make and model. This will give you an overall picture of the differences between new and used car leases. Just like leasing a new car, a used car lease is more attractive when residual values depreciate the least. You will have a better chance of finding a bargain with a high-end, luxury vehicle that holds its value.
Your next step is to verify the initial mileage and the overall condition of the vehicle. The used vehicle that you choose should not have mileage that exceeds 12,000 miles per year. If you find a three-year-old care with 50,000 miles on the odometer, keep shopping. It's not your best choice for a used vehicle lease.
In addition to actual mileage, check for signs of excessive use, like worn seat fabric and damaged interior elements, worn pedal pads and a dirty engine, which can indicate poor maintenance or even an odometer roll-back. Even if the car is being marketed as certified, it's in your best interest to have it thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic you know and trust.
Gap coverage is a type of insurance that is offered on a new car lease to protect the driver against vehicle loss, theft or damage. However, this type of coverage is not typically offered on a used car lease. Your automobile insurance policy may only cover the value of your car at the time of loss, and not cover the amount owing on the lease. This difference can run into thousands of dollars.
For your own peace of mind, arrange your own gap coverage before entering into a used car lease. You can make these arrangements directly with the dealer, or through an automobile insurance company.
If you've been dreaming of driving a high end car, but can't manage the high monthly payments, a used car lease can be just what you need to cruise in high style.