What Does It Mean to Lease a Car?

Illustration of cars on a dealership lot illustration by Paul Dolan

To lease a car means you — the “lessee” — pay a fee to the actual owner of the car —  the “lessor,” usually a bank, leasing company or dealership — for the right to use the car for a predetermined period of time.

Related: Buying Guide: How to Buy a Car

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There are many reasons to lease a car. One of the most common is simply a desire to consistently drive the latest and greatest automotive manufacturers have to offer. With a lease, you get a new car, keep it for the length of the lease and then, when the lease is over, you’re able to return it and lease a new car. That gives lessees access to relatively up-to-date safety and multimedia technologies. 

Lease payments for a car may also be lower than the loan payments to purchase it. We advise never to lease a car for longer than its bumper-to-bumper warranty; this ensures most needed repairs are covered under warranty and keeps more money in your pocket. Of course, at the end of a lease, unless you decide to purchase the car, you don’t own anything after months or years of payments.

There’s a lot more to it than just this brief overview, but we’ve got you covered. Follow the links below to learn, well, just about everything you might need to know about leasing a car:

How Does Leasing a Car Work?

Glossary of Car Leasing Terms

Should You Buy or Lease Your Next New Car?

What Should I Know About Leasing a New Car?

Can You Lease a Used Car?

Benefits of Leasing Your New Car

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