Can You End a Car Lease Early?

You may have several options available to end your car lease early. Be aware that some options are more expensive than others. If your lease is nearing the end of its contract, your leasing company may offer an opportunity to end the lease penalty-free. Consider all of your lease-end options to determine which may work best for your situation.

Lease-End Offers

You may have the opportunity to end your vehicle lease early without penalty if you lease or finance again through the same bank. Most leasing banks send out notification of this opportunity, but call your lender or a same-make dealer to find out if any lease-end offers exist. You may find you can end your lease up to one year early without penalty. Also check with other dealers if you don't want to purchase the same-make vehicle again. Some dealers offer special discounts to customers who end a competitor's lease or finance, which may cover your termination costs.

Lease Assumption

If your lease is too new to end without paying a substantial penalty, consider transferring your lease to another party. Most leasing banks allow this option as long as payments are current and the lease has been in effect for at least several months. Some banks may charge a fee for a lease transfer, which you can pay yourself or transfer to the person who assumes your lease. Check the websites of LeaseTrader.com or Swap a Lease; both advertise to people who want to assume another person's lease.

Sell or Trade

Sell your leased vehicle or trade it to a dealer. Even though the leasing bank owns the car, you can call at any time to find out its purchase price. Once you have the purchase cost, you can sell the leased vehicle for the stated amount or for less if you can provide the extra money to satisfy the lease buyout. This may prove cheaper than terminating your lease. You can also trade the vehicle to a dealer and roll over any additional money owed into your new loan or lease.

Early Termination

Review your lease contract to determine the cost of terminating it. This option can prove most expensive if you still have a lot of time left on the lease. The termination fee, which often exceeds $1,000, does not include the amount of monthly payments you have left, over-mileage charges or excess wear-and-tear fees. Call your leasing bank to ultimately determine the cost of your lease termination and compare the cost to selling the vehicle on your own if you owe more than the vehicle's purchase price.

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