How to Trade in a Leased Vehicle

by Contributor

Depending upon the conditions of your original automobile lease, it may be easier to switch to a newer vehicle than you think. Modern car leases often have fees or clauses that allow you to trade the car in for another vehicle for a nominal fee. Just beware of dealer scams that may wind up costing you thousands of dollars.

Contact the leasing company or financial institution that holds the lease on your current car, and inform the customer service representative that you wish to trade the vehicle for a new one. At that point, your leasing company should pinpoint an exact amount for the payoff of the lease, which should include fees or penalties for early termination of the lease. Get this figure in writing, so you can produce it to the car dealership when you trade the vehicle in on a new car.

Bring the payoff figure, along with a copy of the original lease, to the new car dealership. You should also bring a copy of the Kelley Blue Book value of the car, as well as a copy of your credit report. This will ensure that all prices and interest rates will be fair and based upon accurate information and not on potential scams.

Ensure that the new car dealership is not adding any additional fees to your final price because you are trading in a leased vehicle. Purchasing a leased car from a leasing company can require additional effort, and a dealership may try to cover these costs through hidden fees during the usual flurry of paperwork at the conclusion of the deal.

Get everything in writing before you sign on the dotted line. Ensure that the dealership is responsible for paying off the remaining balance of the leased vehicle, so you will not get calls from a collection agency months down the road. Check for the right signatures at the bottom of the document.

Keep copies of all documents from the deal when you trade in a leased vehicle. Leasing companies continue to make it difficult for car dealerships to make simple, uncomplicated transactions, and in many cases, the dealership simply gives up and waits until you complain about the situation before doing anything about it.


  • check Call your original lease company after the conclusion of the trade-in to ensure that all paperwork has been properly completed by the car dealer and that the terms of the lease have been completed.

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