If Your Car Lease Is Ending, You Have Some Options

If you are currently leasing a car and it’s coming to the end of its lease term (maturing), don’t worry, you have some options. Most consumers know that they can either buy out their leased car, trade it in for a new one, or simply turn it back in and walk away. But did you know that there are even more options than that?

If you’re not sure what to do, then you can extend the lease

Much like an apartment lease, a car lease can be extended if you’re not sure what direction you want to go in just yet. Believe it or not, the car companies would rather have you stay in the car that you’re in, according to Consumer Reports, because then you’ll be more likely to lease another car from the same brand. Also, with the current economic downturn do to Covid-19, there aren’t as many physical places open across the country in which lessees can turn their off-lease cars into.

As such, the car companies are making it easy for consumers to extend their current leases, in most cases by up to five or six months, until they are in a better situation to make a decision. Luckily, extending your lease means that you’ll just be adding the months onto the current lease, however, you can still end it “early” if you happen to only need two months instead of the whole six months, per se. The better news is that if you end up wanting to trade your current leased car for another one from the same brand, then car dealers are more sympathetic and will even favor brand loyalists.

Cars stand on display for sale at a Mercedes-Benz dealership during the coronavirus crisis
Mercedes-Benz models available for lease at a dealership | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

If you need to get out of your lease before it matures, you can

On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re still in your lease and need to get out of it early, you can. The first way would be to simply call your leasing institution (car company) and figure out what the possibilities are, as well as the possible penalties, for turning the car in early. Just note that some fees may apply and you’ll likely be stuck with the bill for the rest of the lease term.

However, one way to circumvent the penalties is to transfer your lease over to someone else. There are sites like Swapalease.com, which allow you to post up your leased car to have someone else take it over for the remainder of the lease term. Essentially, you’re taking the burden, and the added cost, off your hands without having to pay any penalties.

Car Lease
Car Lease | David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Why Do Dealerships Love When You Return Your Car Lease?

Take your time and weigh your options

While having to figure out what to do with your leased car can be a daunting task whether you’re coming to the end of the lease term or not, just remember that you have more than just the traditional options of selling the car or having to buy it out in the end. In these current times, car companies are much more likely to work with you in any situation, so don’t be afraid to make the necessary phone calls and just ask what options are available to you.