Just how long your car lease can be depends on what the leasing company is offering. Auto lease terms are relatively short, and usually last two or three years max, or 24 or 36 months. In some cases, a lessor may offer longer lease terms, but if it approaches five years, you should consider financing at that point.
Picking the Best Car Lease Length
As we noted, lease terms are relatively short. Car leases are typically 24 or 36 months long. Any lease that goes beyond 36 months is considered long term, and we recommend avoiding them (we’ll explain why later).
You don’t own the vehicle when you lease, and only pay for that portion of the car you use. This typically makes the monthly payment cheaper compared to financing. Your vehicle is also generally covered under a manufacturer warranty during the entire lease term, which eliminates the need to pay for major repairs.
When Does it Make Sense to Buy instead of Lease?
Having a brand new car every few years may sound great, but leasing isn’t for everyone. There are some instances where you may consider leasing, but find that financing is the best route to take. Two common dilemmas include:
- When your credit is less than perfect – Although there are companies that offer bad credit leasing, the majority of leases are reserved for consumers with good credit. It can be difficult to qualify for a lease with bad credit, and you may not get the vehicle you want if you do end up getting approved. If you want to improve your credit score and the car you want to lease isn't available to you, you should consider financing a vehicle with a bad credit auto loan. You can get a reasonable car for the time being, and give yourself a chance to improve your credit score so you can lease the vehicle you want down the road.
- If you can only work with a long-term lease – If you’re on a tight budget and find that the only way you can lease a car is by extending the term, you may want to reconsider. Leases are generally cheaper than financing, but if the only way you can lease is with a long term, you’re better off financing since it allows you to build equity. You can finance a vehicle for the term you need, while any down payment you make brings the overall cost of the loan down. Plus, if you add a co-borrower and combine incomes, you may be able to qualify for a better interest rate.
Need Help Locating a Dealership?
Simply put, you should keep a car lease term as short as possible. If you find you’re unable to afford a typical lease term and need something longer, you’re better off financing.
However, whether you’re looking to lease or buy your next vehicle, The Car Connection is here to help you get the process started. We know how hard it can be to find a dealership that knows how to handle unique credit situations, and we can connect you to a local dealer that has the lending resources you’re looking for.
All you need to do is fill out our free, fast, and easy auto loan request form, and we’ll get right to work connecting you to a dealership near you.