Buying vs. Leasing A Car - Find What's Best For You?

authorBy Avinaba

All About Buying vs. Leasing A Car

A very exciting milestone is getting a new car. However, you must first choose whether to lease or buy your next vehicle.

You may be able to lease for lower monthly payments. However, the cost savings might not be sufficient to outweigh the drawbacks of leasing, making buying a car the preferable option.

 Key Points

  • When you lease a car, you essentially hire it out for a predetermined amount of time.
  • When you purchase a car, you do so outright and accrue equity through regular payments (if you finance the purchase)
  • Leasing typically includes fewer upfront costs, smaller monthly payments, and no hassles associated with resale.
  • Benefits of owning typically include having a car of one's own, total control over mileage, and a clear understanding of costs.
  • In general, experts agree that investing in a car is a superior long-term financial move.

Buying vs. Leasing - What Distinguishes Them?

When you lease a car, you pay a monthly fee to use it for a set period of time. Typically, that would be 36 or 48 months. There are limitations on how far you can drive and any alterations you can make to it. Various charges will be made.

You have the choice to return the car to the dealer at the conclusion of your lease period or to buy it for a predetermined price as specified in the lease contract.

When you purchase an automobile, you acquire ownership of it right away. If you finance your purchase, whether with a loan or with cash, you own it outright once the loan has been repaid. You retain complete ownership over the vehicle and have the option to keep, trade it in, sell, or donate it.

Buying A Car - Summary

  • For as long as desired, own a car.
  • Greater monthly payments and typically higher down payments.
  • More  expensive cars cost more with regards to maintenance and other post-sale costs.
  • You are restricted to a car's technology unless you make a fresh purchase or undertake improvements.
  • In order to sell, you must arrange a trade-in or find a buyer.
  • No limitations.
  • No additional fees.
  • Costs are estimated or known.
  • Cheaper when purchased and retained.

Pros And Cons - Buying

A car that you purchase is yours to keep for however long you want. When compared to lease payments for the identical vehicle, you'll often be required to make a larger down payment and marginally higher monthly loan payments (if you finance your purchase).

However, there are methods to lower these costs; think about purchasing a used automobile, a certified pre-owned car, or a new car that costs less.

You may have invested and saved money with the intention of buying an automobile. Better in terms of overall cost if you can afford to pay the full price of the car in cash. The sale price, the interest rate, and the number of months it will take to repay the loan are used to compute the monthly payments for a car loan.


No Restrictions:

You are not responsible for mileage or wear and tear charges, unlike those who lease a car. Since you are the owner, you can decide when to pay for maintenance and repairs

Rapid Depreciation:

In the first five years of ownership, the value of new cars might decrease by 15% to 25%.  It is a drawback if you view your car as an investment. It shouldn't matter, though, if you are the kind of person who buys and keeps a car for many years.

Total Control:

Additionally, you have total discretion over how you customize your car's interior or make other improvements. Once the loan used to finance the purchase has been repaid, the item may be kept until it expires, traded in, sold outright, or given to a family member. You have the choice.

Driving Costs:

A 2021 AAA study found that it would cost $9,666 to drive a new car for approximately 15,000 miles. Fuel, insurance, and maintenance were all costs.

Credit Score:

The credit score needed to get a loan to buy a car is typically lower than the score needed to lease one.


As soon as you drive an automobile off the lot, it loses 11% of its overall value. The car will typically be valued at around 40% of its original value when the five-year loan is paid off. And only if you've taken good care of it; more expensive cars depreciate at an even faster pace. A brand-new 2008 Cadillac Escalade with only 41,000  miles and a $60,000 price was sold for $32,000 a few years later, according to Popular Mechanics.

Potential for Tax Deductions:

The IRS permits you to deduct expenses and depreciation associated with that business use if you use your car for both personal and commercial purposes. Make sure you fully comprehend what is required because you must maintain meticulous documents to support your file.


You will be required by all dealers and lending organizations to maintain full coverage on your vehicle up until the balance is paid in full. The age of the car is one of the elements that affect insurance rates (and driver). Due to the more expensive parts needed to repair the car in the event of an accident, the premium for full coverage or liability insurance will be greater the newer the car is.

Long-Term Cost:

Purchasing a car and keeping it for as long as you can, ultimately, turns out to be less expensive.

Return on Investment:

Some people invest in properties in growing locations where there will be a lot of new buildings and increased property values. No matter where you purchase a new vehicle—in Beverly Hills or on Skid Row—you won't make any money. Even at 6% interest, a $20,000 new car will wind up costing $22,545 over the course of a typical five-year loan.

 Leasing a Car - Summary

  • No ownership; pay to use an automobile for a set period of time.
  • Monthly payments with little to no down payment.
  • Enter a fancy vehicle for less money.
  • Receive auto advancements with each new lease or new vehicle.
  • When the lease is up, turn in (or purchase) the vehicle.
  • Limitations on the number of permitted miles and car modifications.
  • Various fees may increase the cost at lease expiration.
  • Before the lease expires, all costs won't be known.
  • Multiple leases and higher costs over a longer period of time.
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Pros and Cons - Leasing

The major drawback of leasing a car is that you never actually get to buy one. As you make lease payments, you do not increase your equity in the vehicle. The length of a lease might range from two to five years. 

Although a lease can be terminated early, doing so usually entails paying a cancellation fee. A person can obtain a new car every few years by leasing. When leasing the same make and model of the car over several leases, it can maintain their payments fairly steadily. Additionally, leasing relieves the lessee of the obligation to get rid of the vehicle at the conclusion of the lease term.

Lower Monthly Costs:

The financial strain of monthly expenses may be partially lessened with a lease. Compared to purchasing, there is typically a lower down payment required. As a result, some people choose to drive more expensive cars than they otherwise could.

No Ownership:

You may be limited in how much and how far you can drive by the terms of a lease. Drivers who want to modify their cars should also be aware that there can be fees involved. The necessity to undo any alterations they make could result in additional expenses at the conclusion of the lease.

A New Car Every Few Years:

The sensation of a brand-new vehicle is unparalleled for many people. When a lease expires, you can return it and purchase your next brand-new vehicle. Every few years, leasing will also provide you with the newest advancements in automotive technology.

Lack of Control:

The car cannot be sold or traded in to lower the price of your subsequent purchase. Additionally, you'll constantly have monthly fees and a continuing lack of control over some parts of a car because you'll begin a new lease when the current one ends.

Worry-Free Maintenance:

A warranty that lasts at least three years is offered on many new autos. Therefore, if you sign a three-year lease, the majority of repairs might be paid for. Leasing agreements may be able to minimize some large, unexpected costs.

Fees and Other Costs:

Excess mileage (usually 10,000–15,000 miles per year), vehicle customizations, and excessive wear and tear are all subject to fees in your lease agreement. If you choose to end the contract early, there is also an early termination cost.

No Resale Worries:

You just give the vehicle back (unless you choose to buy it). You simply need to worry about paying any end-of-lease costs, such as those for unusual wear or extra miles driven on the car.

High Insurance Costs:

Many consumers are shocked to discover that insuring a rented car can cost significantly more than they anticipated. The majority of leasing firms demand that you obtain more comprehensive auto insurance for the vehicle, typically up to $300,000 in liability coverage. As a result, your insurance costs may be significantly more than they would be if you had bought a car.

Potential for Tax Deductions:

If you use your automobile for work, a lease can provide you access to greater tax breaks than a loan. This is due to the IRS allowing you to write off both the financing costs and depreciation that are included in each monthly payment. The amount of the write-off may be restricted if you're leasing a luxury car.

Lots of Fees:

Leasing entails a number of expenses that are exclusive to leasing. You must pay an acquisition charge of at least $400 and a disposition fee of at least $200 before you can lease a property. You can also be responsible for paying a variety of exorbitant "wear and tear" costs when you return the car. You must take additional care to take good care of the automobile as you drive because leasing companies are infamous for demanding exorbitant fees for little dings and scratches.

The Verdict

The lifestyle, driving requirements, and financial position of each individual will determine whether to lease or buy an automobile.

If you want cheaper monthly payments, desire a new automobile with new technology every few years, and don't want to bother about some responsibilities, like selling your car, leasing can be appealing. You might not ordinarily be able to afford a premium vehicle, but leasing can let you get one. When you purchase a car, you either get ownership of it outright if you paid cash or you accrue equity when you settle a car loan. You'll be in complete control of your costs and able to service or repair it as necessary. You'll be free to drive as frequently as you'd want, customize your vehicle, and get rid of it however you see fit.

Check New or Used cars at your local car dealership


Q. Is leasing a car ever worth it?

Ans: Leasing typically includes fewer upfront costs, smaller monthly payments, and no hassles associated with resale. Benefits of owning typically include having a car of one's own, total control over mileage, and a clear understanding of costs. In general, experts agree that investing in a car is a superior long-term financial move.