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How to Return A Leased Car Early? Here Are Your Options!

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If you're wondering, “how to return a leased car early?” You can either return the car directly to the leasing company using early termination options while paying all penalties, trade in the car and lease another one, have a friend or family member take over the leased car, buy the leased, or sell this car to a private buyer and pay it off to the leasing agency. 

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Leasing a car is a great option for many drivers. However, something might happen suddenly requiring terminating the lease early. The question always remains: is it even possible to terminate a car lease early? If yes, what are the consequences?

In general, it is possible to terminate the lease fairly. The only thing to keep in mind is costs. There are usually some early termination fees and penalties that you need to be aware of. By following certain tips and tricks, you can determine the right time to terminate the car lease to reduce the penalties as much as possible.

This article provides you with great options that you can select from to help you answer the question of “how to return a leased car early?” We also provide you with some additional tips to get your vehicle ready for early termination. 

How to return a leased car early? Here are your options 

By leasing a vehicle, you can easily access the most advanced technology and enjoy driving a vehicle with too many features. However, there might be a point of time where things didn't work out, and you must terminate the lease early. 

Unfortunately, there is no one clear solution to help you terminate the car lease without paying any additional fees or penalties. Depending on the method you decided to go with, penalties can differ significantly. Let's take a closer look below at some of the options you must end at lease car early: 

  • Early termination 

The most straightforward option to return at lease car early is through early termination. Many leasing companies might have this option allowing you to return the vehicle early. However, this option comes with its own drawbacks.

When the company lets you return the vehicle early, you need to take care of all penalties and termination fees. These fees can pile up and become more than thousands of dollars very easily. Therefore, to get an accurate answer about how much the penalties are, you'd better give the leasing agency a call and understand the details from them.

Keep in mind that you will have to pay the late fees, and you will need to pay any charges, parking tickets, or any past due payments on the vehicle.

By selecting early termination, you're going with the most expensive approach to returning at lease car early. However, this option is considered the safest and easiest. 

  • Have someone else take over the lease 

As you might notice, early termination is not very cheap and might not be the preferred option for many drivers. The second thing you might need to consider is having someone else taking over the lease.

In other words, you can simply bring a family member or friend who meets the credit requirements for the car leasing company and have him continue the lease. 

Keep in mind that there will be some lease transferring fees along with other costs you need to consider. Therefore, make sure you do the correct evaluation and compare the different final costs for transferring the car lease versus ending the lease early. 

  • Lease another vehicle from the same dealership

If you're interested in terminating your current car's lease early, you might consider trading in and leasing another vehicle. By trading in your current leased car, the dealership will roll out any penalty fees towards the other vehicle.

Although this option is still expensive, it allows you to take care of any fees and payments over an extended time rather than having to pay them off immediately on the spot. 

  • Consider Lease buyout

Did you know that you can early purchase your leased vehicle? Yes! This option can work perfectly for people who can afford to buy this car. Imagine if the current market price of the leased car is higher than what the company is requiring you to pay under your lease contract.

While this option can be a lifesaver, it wouldn't tell you anything unless you have the money to purchase the vehicle. In other words, if the reason you are ending the lease is because of financial hardships, you might need to pass on this option because it's not going to work for you. 

  • Sell your leased car 

The final option we would like to highlight here is selling your car and using the payment to pay off the lease. There are plenty of private buyers interested in buying your vehicle, and this option is great if you don't want to deal with any monthly penalties for overusing the car.


Keep in mind that if the car's market value is lower than what you at lease companies are asking you, you might end up losing and paying off from your pocket. However, even after losing some money, it will not be as bad as any other options when it comes to costs. 

How to prepare your car for early lease termination? 

Did you decide to return your leased car early? Then you need to make sure that the vehicle is very good-looking to encourage the leasing company to provide you with good options for early lease termination. 

Although the following tips will not necessarily reduce the penalties or fees, it is considered a good practice whether you're returning your leased car early or on time. Let's take a closer look below: 

  • Wash your leased car 

If you decided to return your car to the leasing company, you want to make sure that the car is great looking and it's clean enough. Therefore, we recommend that you perform a thorough car wash of your vehicle's internal and external portions. Consider cleaning up the windows and removing any trash or food leftovers.

We usually recommend that you have a professional mechanic or a professional repair shop perform the detailed cleaning of the leased car, so you don't have to worry about any undesirable outcomes when returning this car to the leasing company. 

  • Inspect the vehicle's tires 

Although there are many components you can check when it comes to returning your leased car, tires are one of the most important ones. Some leasing companies have certain language in the contract specifying the necessary treads in your tires. Therefore, review the contract and see whether your tire treads are suitable or not. 

If the tires are not in good condition, you might need to purchase new tires and replace them before returning the leased car. 

  • Keep high-quality pictures 

If you decided to sell this car so you can end the lease early, consider taking very high-quality pictures. After cleaning your vehicle, it's a perfect time to take nice pictures in the daytime. It's important to take photos of the tires, the odometer, the exterior, the engine, etc.

You could use these pictures in any advertising for selling this car or probably if you got questioned about the mileage on the car after his turn in any scenario. 

How can you get out of a car lease without penalties? 

To be clear on this, there is no way you can terminate the lease early without paying any penalties. Penalties might differ and become lower by choosing an option versus the other, but it will not be zero.

As we indicated before, if you're planning to end your lease early, come I can't either take advantage of the early termination option, have someone else take over the lease, lease another vehicle instead, or consider early buyouts options. 

Evaluate how much you have to pay under each option to make an informed decision and reduce the penalties as much as possible.

You might need to have a conversation with the leasing company for more details and accurate numbers.  

Can you get out of a car lease a year early? 

Whether you’re terminating the car is early one month before or one year before, you still need to take care of termination fees. It is possible to end the lease a year or a different early time but, you must talk to your leasing company to understand all penalties and fees. 

In some scenarios, getting out of a car leaves a year early might cost you thousands of dollars and therefore, before making your final decision, consider evaluating the situation and seeing how much you'll lose by terminating the lease early. 

Why it's not easy to get out of a car lease? 

To understand why it's complicated to get out of a car lease early, you need to familiarize yourself with how leasing a car works.

When you purchase a new vehicle, you must have a certain payment type to either pay it in full upfront or have monthly payments if you decide to go with financing. 

When it comes to leasing a car, you don't have to pay the vehicle’s price at all. What you pay is the price of expected depreciation over the years. Of course, you will have to pay for any taxes or some interests along the way. Some leasing companies might require a down payment to take care of any after-lease costs. 

To determine how much exactly you have to pay for leasing a car, you need to understand two important numbers: the cap cost, the capitalized costs, and the residual value, which is the vehicle's value at the end of the lease term. 

Subtracting the residual costs from the capitalized costs represents how much you'll pay for this vehicle over the time frame of leasing the car. 

When you lease a vehicle, the leasing company has a certain payment amount and frequency that has to be paid. Failing to pay any of these leases can cost you some fees and other penalties defined in your lease contract.

When terminating the car, you're asking the leasing company not to pay the rest of the depreciation amount. As a result, most leasing companies put what's known as early termination fees and some additional penalties as a backup if something happens like this. 

Usually, the penalties and early termination fees are not cheap, which discourages many customers from ending the lease fairly and ensures that the agency or the leasing company doesn't get their vehicles returned suddenly. 


Leasing a car is an amazing option for those interested in riding high-tech vehicles without completely purchasing them. However, when something happened suddenly, you might need to deal with early termination for your leased car.

The good news is that you can terminate the contract early, but there are some penalties and fees. These fees can differ significantly depending on the approach you decided to go with. 

If you're wondering how to return a leased car early? You can either take advantage of early lease termination, have someone else take over the lease, switch to leasing another vehicle, or consider early buyout options.

If you decided to buy your leased car to sell it to the outside market and use the payment to take care of any fees, Cash Cars Buyer could help you! 

Cash Cars Buyer is one of the top-rated car removal companies in the nation that guarantees to pay you the top dollars and will provide you with free towing despite your living location around the United States. 

Our process is very straightforward and doesn't take more than a couple of days to get your vehicle removed safely and for the most money. 

To learn more about our process and our team, you can reach out to us by giving us a call at 866-924-4608 or visit our home page click on the free instant online offer.

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