Can You Negotiate a Car Lease?

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Contributing Writer

Bethany Hickey is a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. She is a content writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs, as well as the Poetry Editor for UM-Flint’s writing magazine.


, Contributing Writer - February 15, 2021

There are some things you can negotiate when you lease a vehicle, but many things aren’t determined by the car dealer. Here’s what you should know to get ready for the negotiation process during auto leasing.

What Can I Negotiate on a Vehicle Lease?

Not everything can be negotiated on a car lease. Things like the residual value, money factor (leased car interest rate), and over-mileage fees are typically controlled by the leasing company, meaning the dealer may not have control over these elements of the lease.

You can, however, negotiate the vehicle’s price – something the dealer always has control over. Other things you may be able to negotiate include:

Remember that in many cases, the dealer is acting on behalf of the leasing company. The leasing company may or may not give them agency to negotiate certain terms of the leasing contract. Things like security deposits, buyout price, residual value, and acquisition fees are typically set by the leasing company.

Since so little is determined by the dealer, it’s a good idea to focus on the biggest part of the leasing contract that you can always negotiate: the vehicle’s price.

Negotiating a Vehicle’s Selling Price

A great first step in leasing a car is looking up its value on valuation sites like NADAguides, Black Book, or Kelley Blue Book. These websites offer free vehicle estimates, so you can see what other buyers are paying for the same make/model that you’re interested in.

Knowing what a vehicle is selling for is one of the better ways to negotiate a leasing price. Don’t negotiate the monthly payment, since a lower car payment usually means extending the leasing contract, which typically means paying more money factor fees. Lowering the selling price lowers your total cost and your car payment, so start there.

Some other negotiation tips include:

  • Understand basic leasing terms
  • Never take a vehicle home until you’re approved for the lease
  • Know what your trade-in’s estimated value is
  • Negotiate the trade-in value after you’ve settled on the leased car’s price
  • Give yourself a day to consider the deal – don’t rush it
  • Ask about manufacturer rebates and compare your options

Like with an auto loan, some things can be negotiated, and some can't. If negotiation isn't giving you the kind of deal-making power you need, the last point above may offer you the most money savings on your next leased vehicle.

Manufacturer Rebates and Leased Cars

Leasing companies and manufacturers often have leasing deals that only last for a limited time. Holidays, such as Presidents' Day, are good times to go deal hunting. However, keep in mind that some rebates have conditions that don’t allow you to negotiate certain terms if you take the deal.

Rebates are passed onto the dealer from the manufacturer, so the dealer doesn’t lose any money if you get a rebate – they get reimbursed. If you want to see the latest car leasing deals, check them out here.

Some dealerships may be willing to cut you a good deal if a specific vehicle has been on the lot for a long period of time. Other rebates may be available to recent college graduates, veterans, or even medical professionals, as well. If you fall into one of these categories, it’s worth your time to search for the deals offered in your demographic. In many cases, manufacturer rebates can get you a better deal than negotiating a lease deal yourself!

Your Credit Score Matters in Leasing

Leasing companies tend to put a lot of weight on your credit rating. Most leasing companies have high credit score requirements to qualify for a lease or special deals. Your credit score also determines your money factor rate – the better your credit, the less you’re likely to pay in money factor fees.

Having poor credit can impact how much you can negotiate. Or, it may prevent you from getting into a lease at all. Bad credit borrowers typically have a better shot at getting approved for an auto loan than a lease.

If you have a credit score around 660 or below, subprime financing may be the way you get into a vehicle. These lenders are signed up with special finance dealerships, and they’re equipped to assist borrowers in all types of tough credit situations. If you’re finding it difficult to lease a vehicle with your credit, then subprime financing may be worth looking into.

Find Vehicle Financing With Us

Here at CarsDirect, we’re dedicated to finding leasing deals and offering advice to car buyers looking to get the most out of their vehicle. We also have an expansive network of special finance dealerships that help bad credit borrowers get the financing they need when they're looking for a car loan.

To get matched to a dealer in your local area, fill out our free auto loan request form. We’ll get right to work finding a dealership that’s signed up with special finance dealerships with no cost and no obligation.

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, Contributing Writer

Bethany Hickey is a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. She is a content writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs, as well as the Poetry Editor for UM-Flint’s writing magazine.


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