You may be wondering what your options are and how you can walk away from your car lease before it’s completed. Depending on where you’re at in your lease, you may be able to pull-ahead or transfer it, or you may have to wait until it's up before you can return the vehicle.
End of Lease Options
When your lease is complete, you have five different options to choose from:
- Lease again – You can simply return it and lease another car with the same leasing company.
- Buy the vehicle – If you really liked your leased car, you can buy it at the agreed-upon price.
- Walk away – If you don’t want to lease again, you can just walk away. Be aware that you usually need to pay a termination fee if you do this.
- Lease pull-ahead – Some lessors offer lease pull-ahead programs, where you can skip the last few payments and avoid a termination fee if you plan on re-leasing with the same company.
- Transfer your lease – If you’re not close to the end of the lease and you’re tired of the vehicle, you may be able to transfer it to someone else. The new lessee must qualify for the lease, and your lender has to allow this.
What to Do Before Returning the Car
No matter which option you choose, you need to get the car ready for lease end. Even if you plan on keeping it, it doesn’t hurt to make sure it’s in good condition and up-to-date on all basic maintenance.
There are four things you should do before returning your leased vehicle:
- Clean it inside and out – You don’t have to have it detailed, but making sure it’s presentable inside and out and doesn’t have cosmetic damage is important. Remove any stains, scratches, dust, and trash, and wash and vacuum it to make it look nice.
- Check the condition and mileage – While you’re cleaning it, check for any excess wear and tear according to leasing standards. If your leased car needs minor repairs, having them done before you return it can help you avoid having to pay excess wear and tear fees. Also, make sure you're aware of the mileage limit. If you did go over on mileage and didn't pay for extra miles upfront, you can typically expect to pay around 25 cents for each mile over the limit.
- Plan your next lease – If you plan on leasing again, you should sit down with the dealer and discuss what you liked and disliked about your last lease before you return the vehicle. This way, you can pick the right car and a payment you feel comfortable with.
- Negotiate – If you plan on buying the vehicle, you should strategically negotiate the total cost of it with the lessor toward the end.
The Bottom Line
You have options to choose from to get rid of your car lease, but you may have to wait until the term is up depending on where you're at in the process. When your term is up, it’s important you keep your leased vehicle in good shape and return it in the best possible condition to avoid extra fees.
If you’re considering leasing but have bad credit, your chances of getting approved are slim. The good news is you can take out a bad credit auto loan now, improve your credit over time, and lease in the future.
When you’re ready to get started, Auto Credit Express is here to help. We’ve been connecting credit-challenged consumers to special finance dealerships for over 20 years. Our process is simple, just fill out our free car loan request form, and we’ll get right to work connecting you to a dealer near you!