Whether it is better to lease or buy a car in Seattle depends on your situation and a few different factors, such as your budget and credit, to name a few. There are pros and cons to buying and leasing a vehicle, and we can explain what they are so you can make the right decision for you.

Leasing a Car in Seattle

Generally, leases are reserved for consumers in Seattle with the best credit. However, some manufacturers, such as Kia and Ford, sometimes offer lease deals to those with less than perfect credit.

What else do lease deals offer? Let’s check out the pros and cons of leasing:


  • Lower monthly payment – Because you’re only paying for the portion of the car you’re using, your monthly payment is typically lower.
  • No down payment – You aren’t required to have a down payment with a lease, but you can make one if you want. This is called a capitalized cost reduction in a lease. Making one lowers your monthly payment, but doesn’t save you any money in the long run since you’re just prepaying the lease.
  • Drive a brand new vehicle – When you lease, you get to drive a brand new car every few years.
  • Warranty coverage – During a lease, the vehicle is usually covered by a manufacturer-backed warranty. This helps you save money on maintenance and repairs.


  • Mileage restrictions – Leases come with mileage restrictions, usually around 10,000 to 15,000 miles a year. You get charged on a per-mile basis for anything over the limit at lease-end, which is typically around 25 cents per mile. If you drive a lot or don’t watch your miles, it could get costly.
  • End of lease charges and fees – You must maintain and take good care of the car while you lease it. This means making sure there’s no excess wear and tear. If there is, you’re going to get charged when you turn the vehicle in. Plus, you’re going to be charged a termination fee at lease-end, but it might be waived if you lease again with the same leasing company.
  • Higher insurance premiums – Minimum insurance coverage requirements for leases are usually higher than those for financing a car, resulting in higher monthly premium costs.
  • Ending your lease early is expensive – If you don’t want your leased vehicle anymore and the term isn’t up, get ready to pay. If you turn your car in early, you’re going to be charged an early termination fee, and you're usually required to make all remaining monthly lease payments.

Buying a Car in Seattle

What about buying a vehicle? When you have less than perfect credit, buying a vehicle may be the better option for you. However, there are pros and cons to buying a car.

Let’s check them out:


  • Easier to get approved – There are lenders that specialize in working with consumers who have less than perfect credit. Called subprime lenders, they consider factors in addition to your credit for approval, such as income, employment, and residence stability.
  • Ownership – When you buy a vehicle, you own it. This means you get to customize it however you like, drive it as much as you want, and fix it on your own terms.
  • Insurance coverage is cheaper – Full coverage insurance is required during financing. Although it can be pricey, it’s usually cheaper to get full coverage on a financed car than it is on a leased vehicle.


  • No warranty, or it could run out– If you buy new, you can expect a manufacturer warranty that lasts around three years or 36,000 miles. It's likely your loan lasts longer than this, which means your coverage would run out before you pay off the loan. If you buy used, the manufacturer warranty is likely already expired, so you would either have to live without coverage or buy an extended warranty. Without coverage, you're responsible for paying for any maintenance or repairs.
  • Monthly payments could be higher – Monthly payments are generally higher since you’re buying the vehicle. This is especially true if you have bad credit and qualify for a higher than average interest rate.
  • Down payments are required – If you have bad credit, you usually have to make a down payment. Most subprime lenders require at least $1,000 or 10% of the car's selling price down, whichever is less.

Need Help Finding a Dealer in the Emerald City?

Whether or not you decide to lease or buy your next vehicle in Seattle is up to you. Consider your driving habits, current credit situation, and what you're looking for in your next car.

If you don’t have the best credit right now, you may want to finance your next car and build your credit with an auto loan. Auto Credit Express works with a large network of special finance dealerships all across Seattle and the US that help people who are struggling with credit issues.

Our service can match you with a dealer in your area, and it's free, easy, and there's never any obligation. To get your car financing journey started, simply fill out our auto loan request form today!