Tips, Tricks & Trends

7 Car Lease Restrictions That Could Cost You Money

As if it’s not hard enough to find the perfect new car to lease, the fun doesn’t stop after you take it home from the dealership. And by “fun,” we mean rules and restrictions. No, that doesn’t mean that you won’t get to fully enjoy that new car that you are now paying $400 a month for, but the lease agreement that you signed does come with a few caveats that you might not have been privy to when you gave them your “John Hancock.”

Fortunately, Ari Janessian – a YouTuber and auto broker – broke it all down for us by listing out some of the restrictions that you must abide by when you lease a car. If you go against any of them, then you might have to fork out more money.

You can’t replace parts with non-OEM parts

One of the main benefits of leasing a new car is that you get to drive the car under warranty for all three of the years that you have it. And when you get the car repaired under warranty at the dealership, then you can bet that they will replace all of the parts with OEM pieces. However, if you happen to get the car repaired at a third-party mechanic or body shop and they replace the parts with cheaper, non-OEM parts, then it could void your car’s warranty should you have to take it to the dealer at some point.

Car mechanic doing repair work
Car mechanic doing repair work | Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

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You can’t replace the tires with a mis-matched set

If you plan to return the car at the end of the lease, then you better have matching tires at all four corners. Let’s say you have a pair of Bridgestone tires on the left side of the car, but a pair of Michelin tires on the right side, then you’ll have to make sure that there is at least a matching pair in the front and matching pair in the rear (for tread consistency). According to Janessian, you will be charged for the tires that are not the correct pair by the leasing company after your turn it back in.

You can’t use the car in a ride-share service

While you might have that side hustle as an Uber or Lyft driver, which could help you pay your lease payment, you, unfortunately, can’t use your leased car for ride-share services. Most ride-share services now have allowed their drivers to rent cars from them to conduct their driving business, so if you want to pay for a car to shuttle people around, then renting one from the rideshare company that you work for could be the better option.

A taxi driver wears a protective mask in a car amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Uber rideshare service | Kirill KukhmarTASS via Getty Images)

You can’t take the car out of the country

While you could be tempted to take your beloved new Volkswagen Tiguan south of the border, you can’t. Janessian says that the border patrol might even ask you if you’re in a leased car and then tell you to turn around. Also, if you want to go north to Canada, then you might only be able to stay for a maximum of 30 days with your leased car.

canada border
The United States agreed with Mexico and Canada to restrict non-essential travel because of the coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak and is planning to repatriate undocumented immigrants arriving from those countries. (Photo by Lars Hagberg / AFP) (Photo by LARS HAGBERG/AFP via Getty Images)

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You can’t negotiate the buy-out price

Every leased car has a buyout priced attached to it at the end of the lease term. This means that if you like the car so much that you want to own it, then you can pay the residual amount for the car (the rest of the price of the car) to own it outright. Contrary to popular belief, this buyout price is not negotiable as the lease contract clearly states that the buyout price is the remainder of what the car is worth.

No street racing or track events are allowed

This one probably goes without saying, but you are not allowed to take your leased car street racing or to track events. Yes, we know that your fancy new Subaru BR-Z is a track terror and you only plan to drive around cones in a parking lot at the sanctioned autocross next weekend, but that lease agreement says otherwise.

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No modifications are allowed

Lastly, while you might be tempted to modify that new Toyota Supra you just leased, you can’t. And if you do, and you happen to take the car to the dealer for any potential issues that come up or even some warranty work, they will most likely find out. And if they do, then you could be sent a bill for the complete buyout of the car.