As you approach the end of your lease term, you may be wondering about the options available to you. There's a lot to think about: do you keep the vehicle, let it go and lease again, or just walk away? We can help you weigh your options so you're better prepared at the end of your car lease.

Options at the End of a Car Lease

Auto leases are typically short, usually lasting 24 or 36 months. Over this time, you may have decided that you love the vehicle you're driving and don't want to give it up, or maybe that this car wasn't the right choice for you. Fortunately, part of the beauty of leasing is that both of these are options.

The option that's right for you depends entirely on your leasing situation, the lessor, and what you can afford. There are a lot of costs involved in a lease that make the overall cost higher than just the monthly payment. If you're unsure of the charges and fees you're going to be facing as your lease term ends, be sure to check your lease contract or contact your leasing company for details.

What Happens at the End of a Car Lease?

In fact, there are typically three options for you to consider at lease turn in:

Turn in the Leased Car

Perhaps this isn't the car for you, and that's OK. You have the option of walking away at the end of your lease. Simply pay any mileage, wear and tear, and lease termination fees, if any, and get rid of your leased vehicle. If you're looking to end your lease early, you may have an early termination fee to think about, and you typically have to pay any remaining payments even though you're not keeping the car.

Buy the Leased Car

If you love the vehicle you're driving and there's no reason to give it up at the end of the lease, you usually have the option to buy it. To do this, you simply pay the predetermined purchase price, or negotiate a better price, if possible. However, this is an option which isn't always presented, so if you think you may want to buyout your lease, make sure you know if you can. For example, Tesla allows leasing in some states, but doesn't have a lease buyout program, and you must return your lease for another vehicle at lease end.

Lease Another Car

Maybe this wasn't the vehicle for you, but you're willing to give leasing another go. This is one of the biggest advantages of leasing – you're not tied to a particular car for more than the lease term. You can often save yourself having to pay the disposition fee by leasing another vehicle from the same leasing company. So, go ahead and try something else in your price range, and if it's not for you, you can get a different vehicle in just a few short years.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Lease-End

Whether you turn your leased car in and walk away or decide to lease again, you're going to need to prepare the vehicle to go back. This means making sure the car is in the best condition possible so that you're not charged for excessive wear and tear. Not all lease fees are negotiable, so it’s important you make sure your vehicle is ready by lease turn-in.

Clean the car inside and out; if there's any minor damage, make sure to repair it as long as it's affordable. Excess wear and tear charges can be expensive, but it may not be worthwhile to repair something that costs you more than you'd be charged by the leasing company.

Another fee you may be charged at the end of an auto lease is an over-mileage fee. If you exceeded your mileage limit, you could be charged as much as 25 cents per mile over what was written in the contract. There's nothing you can do to take miles off the vehicle, but you should be prepared to pay the over-mileage penalty when the time comes.

Besides readying your car to go back to the dealership, you should prepare a budget if you plan on leasing again. It's a good idea to know what worked and what didn't – with both the process and the vehicle. This way, you're prepared to sit down with a salesperson to get the best deal and car for your needs the next time around.

Decided Leasing Isn't for You?

Now that you know leasing may not be the best idea for every situation, you should know that there are many options available for auto financing, even if you have bad credit. If you choose to turn in your leased vehicle and walk away, chances are you still need to find a car that works for you. This often means getting an auto loan. If you need a dealer near you that can help you get a vehicle and loan, Auto Credit Express is here for you.

Don't go without a vehicle after walking away from your lease, let us help you find a solution to your auto loan needs!