Is It Possible to Know When the Best Time to Lease a Car Really Is

Making the decision between leasing or buying a car can be overwhelming. After all, many factors come into play. For starters, you will need to consider your budget, lifestyle needs, and driving goals. To help you make an informed decision, let’s look at when the best time to lease a car is.

A dealership where SUV prices go down potentially while buying a car.
A car dealership | Anindito Mukherjee via Getty Images

Leasing vs buying a new car

When you lease a car, you’re essentially making payments for the use of the vehicle for an agreed-upon period. At the end of the term, you will have no equity in the vehicle and must return it to the dealer. 

You can also choose to purchase the car you’ve grown to love. When you buy a car, on the other hand, you own it and can keep or sell it after paying off the loan in full.

So, when is the best time of the year to lease a car?

Surprisingly, you are likely to find the best deals on a lease during these times:

When a new model makes its debut

One of the best times to lease a car is soon after the model is introduced. Since the residual value will be at its highest, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to save money on the depreciation cost. 

RealCarTips.com suggests being careful if the car is a very hot seller. When a model is first introduced, the demand can be so high you may not be able to negotiate the price below the MSRP.

Around the holidays

If you want to lease a vehicle, you can find some good dealership incentives during long holiday weekends. Credit Union of Southern California notes that President’s Day, Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving are some of the best times to lease.

According to Experian, though, “You may also be able to find special lease offers for certain demographics. For example, in May and June, you might see discounts for new college grads; around July Fourth, Memorial Day or Veterans Day, you might see deals for members or veterans of the military.”

End of the month, quarter, or year:

As you may know, dealerships try to meet sales targets at the end of each month, quarter, and year. So, if you time it correctly, you might be able to take advantage of some extra savings. And who doesn’t like saving money?

Related

3 Car Buying Myths You Don’t Need to Worry About

Pros & cons of leasing

Leasing has its advantages. For instance, lower monthly payments than buying (since you’re only paying for part of its value), a better selection of cars available since there’s no need for lengthy negotiations over trade-in values or financing options, and less stress since maintenance costs are often covered by a warranty from the manufacturer or dealership. 

On the downside, however, there may be mileage limits imposed by leasing companies (which could cost extra if exceeded), strict penalties for early termination or wear-and-tear damage, plus higher taxes due at signing, depending on where you live. 

Additionally, once your lease has ended, you won’t have any equity in your vehicle, which means starting right back at square one with another lease agreement if desired. 

So, should I lease a car?

All considered, knowing when exactly is “the best time” to lease a car or SUV depends on individual circumstances and preferences; however, weighing out all aspects beforehand can help you make an informed decision about your next automotive purchase.