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What Happens When I Go Over the Miles on My Lease?
By Keith Evans, eHow Contributor updated April 16, 2011
Some drivers with high mileage vehicles may renegotiate their lease terms.
Leasing a car has a number of considerations and drivers who spend a lot of time in the vehicle may exceed the number of miles allowed in the contract. Though excess miles can lead to very high lease fees, drivers have a number of options that range from negotiating with the lease company to an outright purchase of the vehicle.
Buy the Car
In a 2005 article, Fox News reported drivers who exceeded the mileage allocation in a lease may benefit most from just buying the vehicle. The article went on to explain, though, that drivers do not typically receive the most benefit from buying the car as soon as they realize they will exceed the mileage. Instead, Fox News recommends waiting until the end of the lease term to settle with the finance company. Over the full lease term, several years of low mileage driving may balance out early excess driving. During the interim, the monthly lease payments remain the same regardless of the car's mileage. In addition, Fox News notes that the lease buyout price at the end of the term more closely matches the vehicle's actual value than buyout prices earlier in the agreement.
In the same 2005 article, Fox News also observed that many leasing companies do not want drivers to return high-mileage vehicles. Though these cars may lead to lucrative excess mileage fees, leasing companies risk expensive repairs and the cost of shipping and marketing when accepting lease returns. For this reason, many leasing agencies negotiate with drivers to find an affordable, reasonable buyout price. Even if the driver does not want to keep the vehicle, it may make more financial sense to buy the car and resell it, rather than paying the excess mileage charges.
Sell the Car
Some leases allow drivers to sell the vehicle during the term of the lease. Drivers with marketing know-how may be able to sell the vehicle for more than the lease buyout price even with higher than average miles, according to the financial website Bank Rate, but even a small financial loss on the car may be more affordable than paying the excess mileage fees. Drivers should carefully review the lease, though, to verify that selling the vehicle does not incur any additional charges.
Pay the Fee
Bank Rate also notes that drivers who rack up more miles than their leases allow may simply opt to pay the overage charges. Don Taylor, a certified financial adviser for Bank Rate, observes that leases often charge drivers about 25 cents per mile in excess of the allocation, and few drivers could find another comparable vehicle to use at that rate. For this reason, Taylor notes that some drivers may choose to simply pay the overage fees when returning the lease, then either negotiate a higher mileage lease or avoid leasing altogether for their next vehicles.
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