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Customers and Salesperson discussing whether to lease or buy

Should you lease or buy a car?

The freedom to visit friends and loved ones. The independence to travel where you want to, when you want to. The liberty to control your own schedule.

Simply put, having your own vehicle affords you lifestyle flexibility. Just like having a vehicle provides you the autonomy to live your life on your own terms, choosing between leasing and buying can allow you to use your vehicle in the way that fits you best. See the tips below on how both choices can provide freedom in different ways.


Leasing gives you the freedom to:

Experience “new” more often
Some drivers view a new vehicle as a long-term investment. Others view it as a means to benefit from the newest in technology, styling and performance, and have access to the latest and greatest again in a few years. For those drivers, a lease might work better because it frees them up to get a new vehicle every few years. Many contracts to buy a vehicle can last from four to seven years, but lease contracts typically run only two to three years.

You also might be eligible for pull-ahead offers, which can help you get into a new lease even quicker. Plus, if you find you’ve become attached to your vehicle, you can still purchase it at the end of your lease.


Pay for the best miles of the vehicle’s life
Many drivers can estimate how many miles they drive. Consistent work commutes and infrequent long trips can mean mileage limits on a lease aren’t as troublesome as they might seem.

Additionally, some lease contracts can allow up to 75,000 miles over a three-year term, which can help high-mileage drivers get into a lease that still makes sense for them. By getting a monthly payment that is in tune with how much you drive, you’re paying for mileage in the best part of the vehicle’s life — when it’s still new and usually under warranty.


Potentially save money
Because you’re only paying to drive a leased vehicle for a fixed period of time, the payments on a lease are typically lower than if you’re buying. Your salesperson can break down the cost difference between leasing or buying the vehicle you’re interested in.

Also, if you buy or lease another new GM vehicle at the end of your current contract, you might qualify to have your disposition fee waived. The disposition fee covers costs associated with preparing the vehicle for resale if you simply choose to turn it in. (If you’re a GM Financial lessee, details can be found in section 4 of your lease agreement.)

Live worry-free about depreciation
There’s an old adage that your vehicle decreases in value as soon as you drive it off the lot. Although there is some truth to that, it can vary greatly depending on your vehicle model. By leasing, you’re free to enjoy driving without worrying about the decrease in the value of the vehicle.

Buying gives you the freedom to:

Change the vehicle’s appearance
If you’re buying your vehicle, you can make some modifications without the restrictions that come with a leased vehicle. Custom wheels and tires? Check. Pinstripe paint job? Go for it. If you’re the type who needs to put your own personal stamp on your vehicle with alterations that can’t be undone easily, then buying might be your best route. Check your contract to make sure you’re staying within the agreed terms.


Drive without limits
Mileage limits of varying levels exist on all leases. Some drivers don’t want to worry about keeping track of how far they travel, and for those drivers, buying might make more sense. Of course, nothing is truly free. The more you drive, the quicker your vehicle’s value can decrease. Still, having the freedom to make that choice without worrying about a possible mileage overage payment at the end of your term fits some drivers better.


Worry less about wear and use
Almost every vehicle experiences a few dings and scratches. Depending on your lease agreement, you may need to make repairs if you have excess wear and use. However, if you buy your vehicle, it’s up to you whether that rip in the upholstery gets mended or that door ding gets fixed. Here are some car-cleaning hacks that can help it feel like new.


Build equity
Even though vehicles are considered depreciating assets, building equity and potentially owning the vehicle outright are part of the financial plan for many drivers. Once you cross the finish line of your contract, you’re free to cruise without payments or trade it in for something new. Apply to get prequalified before looking at a new vehicle to walk in with confidence and save time at the dealership.


Ready to buy or lease now? Check out our offers page for more information on the latest deals.

Scooter Hendon
By Scooter Hendon, GM Financial

Scooter Hendon might work indoors, but his heart is in the outdoors. Whether he's with his family or flying solo, he loves a good camping, backpacking or hiking adventure. When Scooter’s not hitting the road in his Chevy Silverado to a state or national park, he’s saving up for his next trip.


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