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Guide On How to Break a Car Lease: What You Need to Know! 

Guide On How to Break a Car Lease

Car leasing is usually done when you want to enjoy the perks of driving a great car without having to deal with all of the expenses that go with owning one like the maintenance or services it needs when it reaches a certain age. With car leasing, you will know exactly how long you will be using the car. However, there are some uncontrollable circumstances that can cause you to terminate a car lease early. It can be done but it will cost you a lot of money and the process will take a while. If you wonder how to break a car lease, it can be done in several ways. You can opt to transfer your lease, buy and sell or trade the car, pay the penalties and return the car, or you can ask the leasing company directly and ask for help.  

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How to Break a Car Lease: Is it Difficult to Break a Car Lease?


Understanding how car leasing works can be very useful when deciding which options to choose on how to break a car lease early. Car lease and auto loan can be alike in many ways. But instead of paying monthly to purchase a car, you will be making monthly payments to lease a car. 


Unlike auto loans, a car lease has lower monthly payments since you will just be paying for the privilege of driving the car for a fixed amount of time and miles. While car loans are financed by a bank or third-party lenders, car leasing usually involves working directly with a dealership. When the car lease term ends, you will return the leased car to the dealership. You will no longer have to pay the monthly payments for good. 


Of course, there is more to car leasing than just paying the rent charge. That is why it is important that you review and read your agreement or car lease term carefully. This way, you will know how to break a car lease without worrying that you’ll make a very expensive mistake. 


You can try to look for any exceptions or circumstances where you can avoid penalties since when you take a car lease, you are agreeing to pay for it for a set amount of time. So when you choose to break a car lease early, you are expected to pay an early termination fee. You will find the amount you have to pay or the possible penalties in your agreement or contract.


Depending on the agreement made between you and the dealership, the penalties for terminating a car lease can include paying for the remaining lease payments, termination fee, transportation and storage of the leased car, costs related to preparing the car for sale, negative equity between the current value of the car and the lease amount, and taxes related to leasing if there are any. 


Out of all the possible penalties mentioned, paying for the remaining lease payments is the most costly one. You will have to cash out and pay all the remaining payments. For instance, if you still have 36 months left in your lease term and for some reason, you have to break the car lease after the 10th month, if you break the car lease now, you will have to pay the remaining 26 months. So if you are paying $300 a month for the lease, you will have to cash out and pay $7,800 to break a car lease.


There are some car leases that don’t make you pay the remaining payments when you terminate it before the lease term is up. It will require you to pay some sort of penalty instead such as a flat amount, or other monthly payments.  It can also be based on a sliding scale like you may have to make three extra payments if you break the car lease within the first twelve months, or if you break it during the second twelve months, you will pay two more payments, and one payment may be required if you break a car lease during the third twelve-month lease term. This can happen in some cases but know that the combinations can vary. 


If you decide to not terminate your car lease or no longer want to go through the several options on how to break a car lease, you will be given two options when you finish your lease term. One is two purchase the car at the end of the lease. You can do so by paying the amount or by applying for a lease buyout loan.  Second is to just settle the account and move on. You might just have to return the car to the dealership without any fuss. 


However, when you drove the leased car more than the set mileage limit, you may have to pay some fees for the excess mileage. There are also some instances where you have to pay some more when you return the car in poor condition. It is for this reason why you have to read and reread the agreement you signed upon leasing. 


How to Break a Car Lease: How Can You Get Out of a Car Lease Without Penalty?


The penalties can be very stiff and costly but dealerships have set up the terms on purpose to ensure that the people won’t just break their car leases early. However, due to some circumstances beyond our control, sometimes you have no choice but to terminate the car lease early since it is no longer applicable for your situation. Like you are no longer capable of making monthly payments, you lost your job, or maybe you need a new car that better fits your needs. 


Whatever the reason is, when you consider breaking a car lease, expect that you will have to pay a very costly price. If you want to know how to break a car lease without terminating it or know if it is even possible, fortunately, it is and there are several ways to do it. You just need to know what your options are and research more about it so you can avoid getting in a bad financial position. 

  • Get the help of a lease transfer company to transfer your car lease.


If your financing company allows it, one of the greatest methods to get out of a car lease early is to locate someone to take it over for you. Listings on websites like Swapalease and LeaseTrader help match current lessees with potential lease buyers. Using a trading website to complete the transaction can cost anywhere from $100 to $350. However, that amount is a drop in the bucket compared to what most leasing firms will charge if you return your vehicle early.


These trades can be equally beneficial to those taking over the lease. For starters, they will not be required to make a significant down payment on the vehicle, as the original leaseholder has already done so. Furthermore, some people only want a vehicle for a short length of time. Taking over someone else's lease is a great method to get a new car immediately. 


Just be sure to ask all the questions you need to ask like when the lease is transferred, does the buyer have complete financial responsibility for the lease? Because you could be held liable if the buyer fails to make lease payments.

  • Trade the car in.


An alternative to lease swapping is trading the car in. Dealers may occasionally allow you to trade in your current vehicle for a different model. This choice is a bit of a mishmash. Even if the early-termination fees are folded into your new payments, you may still be responsible for them. To put it another way, the payment is just stretched out across a longer time period.

  • Buy the car and sell it to someone else.


Another option how to break a car lease is to buy the car in the middle of the lease and sell it to someone else, provided that is permitted. However, be aware that the lease payback amount may be more than the car's market value, requiring you to sell at a loss. However, if the loss is smaller than the early termination cost and other penalties, it's worth thinking about.

  • Early buyout


Many leasing firms will allow you to purchase the vehicle before the lease expires. This is a course you might want to take if, for example, you've over your lease's mileage allowance but know you'll want to have the car for a long time. Most auto leases will allow you to drive 10,000 to 15,000 miles each year, only charging extra if you drive more. The leasing business should include a payoff schedule that shows how much you'll have to spend in order to own the vehicle.

  • Dealer promotions for new car lease.


Keep an eye out for local dealer incentives, advises Laura Gonzalez, marketing manager at AutoNation Volkswagen of Las Vegas, for a unique option to get out of your car lease early without paying a penalty or damaging your credit.


As part of their auto financing discounts or new car leasing promotions, dealerships sometimes offer to pay off car leases early and also cover any early termination fees that may be applicable to invite people to get new cars. It's critical to comprehend the distinction between leasing and purchasing a vehicle.

  • Make a deal with the leasing company to take back the car.


Many people have lately made agreements with their leasing companies to return their cars, according to Sean Pour of SellMax. In circumstances when buyers are no longer able to afford the lease, dealerships or leasing firms will make a deal with them to have the car returned, because people tend to neglect their vehicles when they are no longer able to afford them.


Other Useful Information:

  • Lemon Laws on Leased Cars


If the vehicle you're leasing is a lemon, and your state's lemon laws apply to leased vehicles, you won't have to pay a penalty to break your lease early.

  • Bankruptcy


You can declare bankruptcy to get out of the lease early when you get into an accident and you don’t have insurance or are in debt that you are no longer able to afford the lease. When you file for bankruptcy, you have the right to keep or cancel all of your executory (unfinished) contracts, including auto leases,” said Bradley R. Bailyn of The Bailyn Law Firm

How to Break a Car Lease: Can I lower my payments on a leased car?


If you're considering leasing a car, one of the key advantages is the lower monthly payments. If that's the case, let's see what we can do to reduce your monthly payments. One option is to select vehicles with high residual values. The majority of a lease payment is used to cover the depreciation of the vehicle. As soon as you drive a new car off the lot, it loses value. After only three years, the value of a regular vehicle will have plummeted by half. 


Consider it from the standpoint of the leasing business. They are essentially “renting” you the car, but when you return it at the end of the lease, it is only worth half of its original value and that remaining value is called residual value. Japanese and European cars, on average, have higher residual values than domestic vehicles. In addition, luxury and sports cars tend to hold their value better than the average.


Second, seek for manufacturer-sponsored lease deals to acquire the best lease rates. Because the manufacturer has the opportunity to give unique incentives to cut the payments, these lease deals are nearly impossible to surpass.


Also, because depreciation is so significant in leasing, you might want to consider leasing a used automobile to save money on depreciation. A three-year-old used automobile has already lost approximately half of its value. After three years, the depreciation rate slows down, therefore your depreciation expense shouldn't be too high.


The biggest disadvantage of leasing a used car is that you will be exposed to greater risk when it comes to repairs because the vehicle will no longer be protected by the manufacturer's guarantee. However, as previously noted, there are a few services that allow you to take over someone else's used automobile lease payments. LeaseTrader.com and Swapalease.com are two websites worth checking out.


If you do not intend to drive the car more than the allocated miles, another approach to lower your lease cost is to reduce the mileage allowance. The number of miles travelled has a significant impact on the value of a used car. The less you drive, the more the car is worth at the conclusion of the lease, minimizing your depreciation costs.


It's important to realize that once you've signed a lease, you won't be able to adjust the monthly payments stipulated in the contract between you and the leasing firm. You can't renegotiate your lease like you can a vehicle loan.


After learning about the hassles and costs associated with breaking your lease early, you may decide that keeping the vehicle and making the monthly payments is the best alternative if you can afford it.

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