Just as you can buy a new car or a used one, you may also have that choice if you decide to lease. While used-car leases are rarer than leases on new cars, they can be a viable option, especially if you're looking to save some money.

Key Takeaways

  • Leasing a used car can be less expensive than leasing a new one.
  • Many car dealers offer leases on used cars but typically only certified pre-owned models.
  • It's also possible to take over someone else's existing lease.


Why Lease a Used Car?

The major reason to consider leasing a used car is that you will pay less than if you were leasing a new one. The cost of a lease is determined, in part, by the difference between the value of the car at the beginning of the lease and its residual value at the end. Since used cars don't depreciate as quickly as new ones, that difference is likely to be smaller.

You may also save money on auto insurance because the value of your car plays a role in the cost of coverage, making used cars less expensive to insure than new ones in many instances.

Where to Lease a Used Car

Most auto dealerships will lease used cars, but typically only certified pre-owned (CPO) ones. Certified pre-owned cars are usually newer models, often just two or three years old, and in many cases were previously leased by another driver. They will have been rigorously inspected by the dealer and any maintenance or cosmetic issues will have been addressed in order to bring the car up to a certain standard. CPOs also come with warranties that extend the manufacturer's original warranty, which may still be in effect. For all those reasons, certified pre-owned cars typically cost more than comparable used cars.

Another option for leasing a used car is taking over someone else's existing lease. Third-party sites like Swapalease and LeaseTrader provide listings that can help you find people who are looking to get out of their car lease. When you take over someone else's lease, you don't have as many options, since you're tied to the terms of their original lease. Note that some leasing companies will charge a fee to transfer the lease, and you may also have to pay a fee if you use a third-party site to help facilitate the lease transfer.

The Bottom Line

If you've made the decision to lease a car, it's worth taking a look at recent used models that are available for leasing. Your monthly payments are likely to be lower and you may be able to get more car for your money.