Tips, Tricks & Trends

Are Modifications Allowed on a Leased Car?

If you’re the type of car enthusiast that has a modification list planned out before even buying a new car, then you’re probably wondering whether you should lease it or buy it. After all, monthly lease payments are cheaper and you need to save all of the money you can for those super trick mods. But are modifications even allowed on a leased car?

Modifications on a leased car must be temporary

If you plan on leasing a new car and you want to make some modifications to it, by all means, go ahead. The only stipulation is that they will need to be removed if you plan on turning the lease in at the end of the term or even trading it in for a new car. So if you do plan on modifying the car, then you might want to stay away from stuff that can’t be removed easily like turbocharger and supercharger systems, permanent bodywork, or even ECU tuning upgrades.

The lowered suspension of a modified vehicle is seen at The Fast Show performance car event held at the Santa Pod Raceway. | OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

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Having modifications could void your car’s warranty

Depending on how you want to look at it, leasing a car is essentially like a long-term rental, which means that the leasing company owns it and would like it to be non-modified if the dealer is going to sell it as a used car to the next potential owner. Additionally, having modifications could void the car’s warranty should you need to take it in to a dealership for any repairs or warranty work during the time you’re leasing it.

If the dealer does happen to discover the modifications that you have done and decide that said modifications are what caused the issue that you’re bringing the car in for, they could possibly void your warranty on the spot, which means that you’ll have to pay out of pocket for the repairs.

Takiyah Middleton’s custom Mustang |Adam Gray / Barcroft Media via Getty Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

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What to do if you modify a leased car

If you do decide to modify a leased car, then you will have to change everything back to its stock form if you plan to return the car or trade it in. Honestly, that sounds like a waste of time and money to modify a car temporarily, so the better option would be to buy it after the lease term is up. By doing so, you’ll be able to keep the car and all of the modifications you did to it.

If you want to modify, then it’s better to buy

Ultimately, if you do have a list of modifications in your head before you shop for a new car, then it’s better to finance the car from the get-go. Sure, your monthly payments will likely be higher or you’ll have to put more money down to get to the equivalent of a lower lease payment, however, it could all be worth it in the end and save you a lot of hassle later down the line. While it’s fun to modify cars, just do it to ones that you will eventually own, not the cars that you plan to “rent.”