Getting Out of a Car Lease Early

We have outgrown a vehicle we had leased for 36 months. We found a replacement vehicle and are looking to get out of the lease 9 months early. We are very close the the mileage limit on the lease and did not want to pay penalties. How can we (ideally) get out of the lease earlier than the termination and also recoup some of the money will undoubtedly lose in this situation?


Kathy from Ohio

June 14, 20070 found this helpful

Good luck. From what I've seen, this is why experts tell you not to lease autos. The leases are written in a language no one can truly understand and are interpreted by the leasing company to mean what they want it to mean -- they have all the power and make all the rules. I really hope it works out for you, but I wouldn't get the new vehicle until this gets settled, or you might end up paying both.

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June 14, 20070 found this helpful

I will never lease a car again. Expensive mistake.

In 1999, my husband decided to surprise me with a New Beetle, which were brand new and exciting. We didn't have good enough credit for the car loan but were able to do a lease for 5 years and nothing down. Sounds good, right. One week after we signed the paperwork, I found out I was pregnant with our first child. We found that the Beetle, which was great for a childless couple, was not so good for young parents. It was hard to put the car seat in the back because of the two doors and the stroller wouldn't fit in the trunk. So if we wanted to go anywhere with the stroller, we would have to put it in the front seat and I'd sit in the back with the baby.

Because we moved from Boston to Portland, OR, we couldn't go back to our original dealer to try to upgrade to a better car. We also couldn't turn it in early because there were clauses in the contract preventing that. And, because of the cross country move, we were already over our mileage at the 3 year mark. This is what we did.

We went and tried to trade it in for a new car. Interest rates were very low and we got a brand new car for 2.9% APR. But instead of trading it in, we received enough cash to pay it off and that was added to the loan (about 5000). We had higher car payments but a car that we could actually drive! We paid off the Beetle but still couldn't turn it in so we parked it in our driveway for about two years. We still had to pay about 1500 in overmileage and other repairs that were determined before inspection. Was I ever glad to get rid of that car!

So that is my sad story! Leases might be fine for a business that does not want to purchase such a large asset or someone who wants a new car every year or two but they are NOT thrifty or fun for the rest of us.

As for turning in your car, turn it in as soon as possible. You might want to make sure that any visible problems: tires, lights, broken seat belts, etc. are all fixed as they will charge you a lot for anything they notice. The good news is that they will not do a very extensive inspection of how the car runs so as long as it starts and sounds OK, you should be good. I remember that the tires were a big thing and they dinged me good for tires that I thought were fine.

Good luck and I hope you have a better time getting out of your lease than I did.


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July 5, 20070 found this helpful

If this is still an open subject. . . .

I am on my 4th lease and have had very positive experiences. Being a single mother, it gave me the opportunity to drive a safe, inexpensive vehicle without the worry of car problems. It wasnt in my budget to have a large down payment to purchase a car and there was no one to help with repairs when the warranty would expire. I am eligible for an employee discount through relatives, so over all, it was much cheaper for me to lease.

Knowing that I was going to be driving more than 1200 miles per year, I've always had them figure my payments based on 1500 miles per year. It added less than $2 per month to my payment and I've never gone over the limit.

My current lease is over in April and I just checked with the dealer a few days ago about turning it in early. I was told that they would simply take my remaining balance and add it to a new loan if I turned it in within the next 5 months. If I wait until spring, when there are about 60 days left in the lease, they may offer early turn in deals and waive the final two payments.

Since you are about to go over your milage limit, this might be something you would want to consider. Unless your payments are steep, to add your remaining balance into a new loan might be the way to go.

Leasing has been a smart move for me. I've always had GM products because of the discount and am currently driving a Saturn Vue for $180 a month and paid only no more than the first payment down.

Good Luck!

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July 17, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

I am currently am leasing a vehicle and wondered how I can get out of the lease. We also travel a lot now so it is not feasible to have a lease. Does anyone have any ideas?

By The new Mrs. O from Alma, MI

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July 19, 20110 found this helpful

You have to pay the entire balance to get out of it. if the interest is really high, you can try and get a personal loan at a lower rate to pay it off. You will still have a payment though, and no car. Sorry.

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July 19, 20110 found this helpful

You can try to find someone to take over the payments (lease assumption).

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