• What Happens at the End of a Car Lease

    At the end of a car lease, you can do one of three things: 1) Return the car and lease a new one, 2) Return the car and walk away or 3) Purchase the car. Whatever you decide to do, it is important to know what to expect when you bring the car into the dealership. This article will help you prepare for what happens at the end of your car lease.

    Car Lease Buyout

    When your car lease comes to an end, you may feel that you really like the car and don’t want to give it up. At this point, you have the option to purchase the car from the dealership. Usually, the buyout price is given to you when you first lease the car. At this point, you will purchase the car as you would any other. You will still be responsible for the residual value from the lease.


    You may decide that you no longer wish to drive your car once the lease is up, but that you would like to lease another car from the dealership. At this point, the dealership will first perform a vehicle inspection on your car to survey any possible damages. You will be responsible for any damages that do not fall under the category of typical wear and tear. This can be the most difficult aspect of returning the car, because “typical wear and tear” is subjective. If there is any extensive damage to the car, you may want to consider getting it fixed yourself, as you may be able to get a better price on the repairs than the dealer will charge you. You will also have to pay out the residual value. Re-leasing can be a good idea to save money, because often the dealership, in effort to keep your business, may offer you a great leasing deal. This will especially be true if you have taken good care of the car and made all of your monthly payments on time. All businesses value good customers and will strive to keep them coming back.

    Return the Car and Walk Away

    You may chose to return your car at the end of the leasing period and simply walk away without leasing or purchasing another car. If you do this, your car will still have to undergo a vehicle inspection, and you will be responsible for any excessive damages. You will also be responsible for the residual value.

    Returning your car at the end of the leasing period can be stressful, especially with regards to the vehicle inspection. But being well prepared and knowing what to expect at the end of your leasing period may help you have a bit more confidence when you drive the car back to the dealership. It is wise to know what you plan to do—buyout the car, re-lease, or return and walk away—before you enter the dealership.