Should You Buy or Lease a Car?

Released  September 6, 2006
By Megan Greuling

CHARLOTTE, N.C., September 6, 2006 – It’s finally time to get a new car, but is it better to buy or lease that new set of wheels? As part of its ongoing mission to empower borrowers, LendingTree has come up with a quick and easy way to determine if you may be better suited for a lease or a loan.

Choose the statements below that best describe you, then consult the key below:

1. I like to drive newer models and trade up every few years.

2. Driving 10,000 miles in one year is a lot for me.

3. My car is spotless, and I have it serviced regularly.

4. I need to keep my monthly payments as low as possible.

5. Keeping my monthly installment low matters more to me than how much interest I pay.

6. I don't have any savings for a down payment.

7. My car makes an important statement about me — it says who I am.

8. As long as I like the place I live, I'm happy renting or owning it.

9. A car is just transportation from point A to point B.

10. I do a lot of highway driving and really rack up the miles.

11. I take my car into the shop for major problems only.

12. I could increase my current payments if I had to.

13. Paying as little interest as possible is a high priority for me.

14. I plan to make a large down payment on the car.

15. The way to get value out of a car is to drive it into the ground.

16. Paying rent is throwing money away: You don't have anything to show for it.


If statement one through eight describes you accurately, you are an ideal candidate for leasing a car. Lease agreements favor people who don't drive many miles and who maintain their cars diligently. If you like to drive new models and feel your car is part of your image, you are well-suited for leasing — it allows you to trade up frequently without taking a big hit on depreciation. Finally, leasing is a good option for people who don't have money for a big down payment and need to keep their monthly payments low.

If statements nine through 16 best describe you and your driving habits, you should consider buying rather than leasing a car. Leasing can be an expensive option for people who drive long and hard and who don't tend promptly to maintenance and repairs. Buying is a better choice if you can make a healthy down payment, want to avoid paying a lot of interest and can afford to make bigger monthly payments to pay your loan off quickly. If you're willing to keep your car for many years, the long-term cost of buying will always work out to be less than that of leasing.

For additional information about buying or leasing a car, please visit the LendingTree Smart Borrower Center.

About LendingTree, LLC

Founded in 1998 with headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, LendingTree, LLC is part of IAC Financial Services and Real Estate, an operating business of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI), which also owns or operates LendingTree Loans, LendingTree Settlement Services, LLC, GetSmart®,®, Domania®, and iNest®.