You can upgrade your car lease, usually close to the end of your term. Many manufacturers offer programs to keep your business for another lease term. Even if you do not qualify for a program, you are sure to find a dealer who wants to earn your business; don’t be surprised if you can upgrade without paying any money towards your lease termination by using a different manufacturer dealership. Your original dealer may cover expenses to keep your business, as well.
Call your bank. Ask how long you have left on your lease. Ask if you qualify for any “pull-ahead” programs, or bank incentives to end your lease early for a new one. Ask when the programs ends; many change monthly.
Ask the bank representative what it would cost to get out of your lease if there are no programs available. Make sure you write this amount down, including any fees associated with an early termination; some banks do not charge an early termination fee in the last year, and some do.
Go to the same make dealer that your current vehicle lease is through; to qualify for any programs you must lease again through the same bank. Start shopping for new cars if you do not qualify for any programs.
Test-drive any vehicles that you like, either at a dealer who honors the available program or another. Find the vehicle that you want to lease and prepare to have your numbers run to determine if the lease is affordable.
Present the dealer, if you did not qualify for any programs, with the early termination fees provided to you by the bank. Tell the dealer you want to lease the vehicle you’ve found, but only if he can take care of your fees and remaining payments; your readiness to buy is often a successful negotiating tool.
Wait for the dealer representative to give you your final numbers with your lease payoff (if applicable) included. Make sure your term, mileage and payment are acceptable. Discuss any out-of-pocket money and decide if you want to lease the vehicle or want to find a better deal elsewhere; shop until you are satisfied.
Apply for your new lease with the dealer. Sign all paperwork once you are approved and make sure you hand over all keys and an owner’s manual for the vehicle you are returning. Make sure that your mileage and personal information is correct before you sign your lease-end paperwork.
If you qualify for a lease-end program, you must shop at the same dealership as you did when you originally leased your vehicle or use a different dealership that offers the same make of vehicle.
If you are having trouble finding a good deal, wait until the end of the month. Dealers are usually more flexible at this time to meet monthly goals.
If you have more than a year left on your lease, upgrading may not be a possibility. Discus your options with the dealer.
- LeaseGuide: Get Out of Car Lease Early
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "What Should I Know About the Differences Between Leasing and Buying a Vehicle?" Accessed April 12, 2020.
- Merriam-Webster. "Lease." Accessed April 12, 2020.
- AARP. "To Buy or Not To Buy." Accessed April 12, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "What is a Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)?" Accessed April 12, 2020.
- LeaseGuide.com. "Capitalized Cost – Cap Cost." Accessed April 12, 2020.
- Autotrader. "Leasing a Car: Can You Negotiate the Price?" Accessed April 12, 2020.
- Edmunds. "The 'Residual Value' of Leasing." Accessed April 12, 2020.
- Federal Reserve. "Keys to Vehicle Leasing: Future Value." Accessed April 12, 2020.
- LeaseGuide.com. "Money Factor—Explained." Accessed April 12, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Financing or Leasing a Car." April 12, 2020.
- Federal Reserve. "Keys to Vehicle Leasing: End-of-Lease Costs: Closed-End Leases." Accessed April 12, 2020.
Shanan Miller covers automotive and insurance topics for various websites, blogs and dealerships. She has extensive automotive experience, including auction, insurance, finance, service and management positions. Miller has worked for dealer sales events around the United States and now stays local as a sales and leasing consultant for a dealership.