If you are looking for a short answer, the best time to lease a car is during a discount promotion that you find after doing epic amounts of research. There are certain occasions when leasing companies offer genuine discounts for various reasons. Perhaps the dealership needs to increase turnover quickly or perhaps they are getting pressure from manufacturers or discounts/perks/incentives from manufacturers and other stock-market-sensitive organizations. Just make sure you do a lot of research to guarantee that the discount you are getting is a real one and is not some cheap marketing ploy.
The Long Answer
There are several factors to consider when it comes to timing, and almost all of them revolve around your circumstances. Perhaps your current car is at the end of the lease or perhaps your current vehicle is nearing the end of its life. Perhaps you need to ferry around your large family over the next few months and you need something super reliable, or perhaps something bigger than you would normally purchase. These are all fine reasons to get a new vehicle right now.
‘Tis The Season for a New Car
If you were looking for a pointer to a specific time of year to lease a car, perhaps near the Christmas holidays, Memorial Day, or Labor Day, then this article will have to disappoint you. There are very few Black Friday or January sales deals on car leases that are worth the money you pay.
If you are looking for real discounts, like those mentioned in the introduction, then it involves lots of research to find the right company, at the right time and to make sure you are getting a real discount.
Companies run discounts and special lease deals for various reasons. A smaller company may need to push its numbers a little harder to improve its credit rating, whereas a larger company may be trying to massage the numbers and achieve its quotas before its next earnings announcement to the shareholders.
The Buying or Leasing Problem
If you are thinking about buying a brand-new car, but you are struggling to make a decision, then you should seriously consider leasing. Take a robust three-year lease and reconsider buying a car outright when the lease agreement is near to ending.
The decision to buy a car is far more important than the decision to lease a car. Lease payments may be more expensive than an auto loan, but it is a short-term commitment. Buying a car may have you tied to that car for the next ten years, and it is a much bigger investment. If you do not like the types of cars you are looking at, then let the manufacturers get their act together and buy something in a few years.
You may fall in love with your lease car and buy it when your lease ends. You can circle back and buy a new car of that variety, or simply ask your dealership if they will allow you to buy the car after the lease ends. Though, with that in mind, do consider leasing the sort of car you would never buy. That way, if you don't decide to buy, at least you had a bit of a different experience.
Are You Strapped For Cash?
Some people say that leasing a car is perhaps the best thing to do if you are a little low on cash. The problem is that finance companies have muddied the water. It is quite possible to get a leased car that costs you quite a lot over the years because of the finance deals you strike. On a similar note, if you decide to buy a car and use a finance company, you may have lower monthly payments, but the overall cost of your car may balloon up to some very ugly numbers.
When you lease a car, as opposed to buying a car (with a car loan or not) it may mean a lower downpayment, it may mean lower monthly fees, and it will certainly mean fewer repair bills.
When you buy a car, you need to keep paying to repair and maintain it, whereas a leased car only needs mild maintenance (an annual service) because you don't hold the car for enough time to start thinking about gearbox changes and busted carburetors. Remember too, leased cars are generally covered by the manufacturer's warranty during the lease term so you shouldn’t have to shell out for major repairs.
You need to maintain the car at a level where you won’t be stung with a hefty disposition fee for excessive wear but this is not difficult if you are a decent driver and you have leased a brand new car or fairly new car.
What About Your Credit Score?
The better your credit score, the lower your monthly lease payment will be. A credit rating of excellent or good generally qualifies you for a lower money factor.
If your credit rating is in the toilet and you want to lease a car with monthly payments, then the dealership is going to charge you far more than your lease would ever be worth. It simply isn't worth your time or money if you have a poor credit rating. Though, on a similar note, if you were buying a car with a finance deal, then that is even worse when you have a bad credit rating.
If you have a bad credit rating, forget about becoming a lessee and buy a cheap second-hand car until your rating improves to the point where you can get a good deal on your next car.
What About a Car Lease Deal in March or September?
Did you know you eat eight spiders per night? Did you know that metal in the microwave will release deadly radiation and blow up? The idea that March and September are the best months to snag a deal on a leased vehicle is an urban legend, just like the eight spiders and the radiation thing.
Read other online articles, and they will sell you a lot of nonsense about automakers releasing cars, registration restrictions, and sales targets, but none of it actually generates seasonal discounts in March and September.
Dealerships are now wise to the rumor that March and September are the best discount/deals months and so put offers out during those months. Sadly, the offers do not favor the customer. They are simply there to entice the suckers who believe that March and September are better lease-deal months.
Beware of those who say certain off-peak periods also offer deals. Leasing companies do not care about quieter times. Leasing companies will offer deals, but as mentioned earlier, they all have their timelines, deadlines, and reasons for offering real bargains. At all other times, they are offering very self-serving deals that are simply there to draw you in.
Much online advice also points you in the direction of obtaining a lease when new models are released. Most new models are released between July and October and it is said you can maximize your savings by avoiding depreciation payments. This is just one factor in the calculation of lease monthly payments along with the capitalized cost (current market value of the vehicle), prevailing interest rate, your annual mileage limit, and potential trade-in value.
Time To Get Flexible If You Want Good Lease Deals
When you are hunting for a reasonable monthly lease payment, being flexible offers the widest range of opportunities. You may want something small and economical, but if they are offering great deals on a bigger and more robust car, then somebody who is flexible can jump on that opportunity.
The same may be true of lender finance deals, perhaps even some that tie in with certain insurance policies or credit card rewards. If you have a slightly narrowed window of purchase, perhaps because your car was totaled and now you need a leased car to tide you over, then being flexible can offset the downside of a short time frame (aka. can negate some of the downsides mentioned in the section.
When You Have Time to Spare
Those who cannot wait, those who need very specific cars or very specific deals are the ones who suffer the most. If you are prepared to wait a little longer, shop around a little more, and put more money down upfront, then you are going to walk away with a good deal.
Those in a rush are targeted the hardest by lease companies. It also narrows the field for getting the best car or a good deal. It is like shooting ducks where you only have fifteen minutes to shoot. You may get lucky and snag a prize mallard as it flaps by, but chances are, you will have to take a shot at a distressed pigeon.
What About Profits and Residual Value?
If a lease car dealership allows early termination, then there is a chance you can make a profit on the lease. You might sell your lease or buy the car so you can sell it.
Under most circumstances, making a profit is not worth the effort. However, we live in a weird time where getting a good second-hand car is tricky. If you take out a lease, and used cars are overpriced when your lease ends, then you may get a good price for your car or the remainder of your car lease.
Do not make your decision based on any sort of profit motive, but there is a chance that you may buy the car and then sell it for more than you paid. If you are looking for a time to buy a lease, then buy when the purchase prices of new and second-hand cars are really low. If you are lucky, the cost of second-hand cars will be high when your lease ends.
Final Thoughts – What Do You Think?
All of these reasons show that basing your decision on timing only adds to the hassle factor. You need to consider the deal as a whole whatever the time of year.
As mentioned in the introduction, almost all the reasons you should lease, and when you buy a lease, are personal. The only thing out of your control is which companies offer genuine discounts and when they offer them. However, if you are willing to shop around and search far and wide, then any time is a good time to buy a lease.
You are always guaranteed a fair deal at IMX Auto. Browse the extensive range on the website or call one of our salespeople to discuss your requirements.