Leasing a car can be a good option for certain types of drivers, but this option isn't right for everyone. For consumers who want the newest vehicle features, have good credit and are okay with always having a car payment, leasing can be ideal. Good leasing candidates should also have relatively short commutes and be fairly cautious drivers.
Otherwise, leasing a car can be expensive, inconvenient and limiting. For drivers who do a lot of driving or are accident-prone, signing on to a lease contract can result in a list of fees. Or, if someone with bad credit wants to lease, they may be turned down or face less favorable terms than lessees with good credit.
Leasing a Car May Not be Ideal for Drivers with Long Commutes
The truth is that your work commute doesn't have to be that long for leasing a car to be a poor option. Jalopnik once published an article on leasing that breaks down the math for a hypothetical situation. In their scenario, a driver has a 30-mile drive to and from work, so they have a 60-mile round trip.
According to the Jalopnik calculations, if this person only used their car to drive to and from work for the average number of days that full-time employees work, they would put 15,000 miles on the car during the course of a year. This is even accounting for vacation time and sick days.
Jalopnik presented this scenario in order to make a valid point about leasing a car. Given the fact that the yearly mileage allowance in an average lease contract is 12,000 miles, leasing is clearly not for everyone.
Granted, not every driver has a 30-mile commute. But even people with much shorter commutes typically like to drive their cars outside of going to and from work, such as weekends and the occasional road trip. And mileage can add up much more quickly than most drivers realize.
For Careless Drivers, Leasing a Car can get Expensive
If you're the type of driver who often opens car doors into other vehicles or backs into garbage bins, leasing a car may be a bad idea. This is because, when you turn a leased car in at the end of a contract, you will be charged for "excessive wear and tear."
So, that ding on the door and that big scratch on the bumper will eventually make a dent in your wallet. And while this types of damage is clearly a case of "excessive wear and tear," other issues might be less obvious.
Because it's up to the leasing company to define "excessive wear and tear," you may be hit with unexpected fees. Leasing companies that are tied to manufacturers often spell out what types of fees will be charged for specific types of damage. But not all leasing companies do this. So, if you decide to lease a car, it's wise to read the contract carefully and question anything that is unclear.
It's also true that most leasing companies charge fees for any modifications made to the car. In addition, you can expect to pay fees if you've taken the vehicle to an unauthorized service center.
Leasing a Car is Often Not a Good Choice for Drivers with Bad Credit
First of all, it can be very difficult for someone with bad credit to get approved for a lease. And even if they qualify, they definitely won't get one of those incredible offers advertised on TV. When lease rates are determined, something called a "money factor" is figured into the payments. This money factor is similar to the interest rate paid by those who finance their cars.
Money factors are often based on a tiered system. Lessees with the best credit get top tier rates - the ones advertised on TV. However, consumers with bad credit, if they are approved at all, normally get rates associated with the lower tiers. This means that they'll end up paying a lot more than their good credit counterparts. They may also have to pay a security deposit at signing.
Getting Your Credit Back on Track with a Bad Credit Auto Loan
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