When is the best time to buy or lease a new vehicle?

The end of the year is always good as dealers and automakers stretch to meet year-end goals. Generally, the incentives the last week of the year are some of the best of the year, and it has been that way for years. However, there are often other times that are good, and sometimes the incentives are even better. The last few days of any given month also is a good time. Dealers are eager to hit their sales numbers, there are often bonuses paid by the car companies to the dealers if they hit their objectives. If you can shop for a car at the end of the month when it is also the end of a quarter, like March, June, September, and December, odds are good you’ll save additional money.

How is leasing different from a conventional purchase?

The primary difference between buying and leasing a car is ownership. When you buy a car, you own the vehicle and can keep it for as long as you choose. When leasing a car, you’re essentially renting it on a long-term basis from the dealership for a specific period of time.

Is it a good idea to buy the car at the end of a lease?

Many times it makes good sense, and other times, it does not.  The residual value, or the price you have to pay for your leased car, is on your lease contract.  There is no reason to way overpay for your own car, so get a cash offer from a member dealer and compare that to the residual value to see if you are getting a good value.  Most people who lease get on a cycle of leasing every three years or so, and lease again and again.  That insures you are always under warranty, you have the latest safety technology, and odds are you won’t even have to buy a set of tires.

Can I get out of a lease early?

There are a few ways to get out of a lease early.  The simplest is to trade in your leased car on whatever model you choose.  Bear in mind, they key here is the true value of the car versus the current payoff.  You can call your lease company to get the payoff, and that number changes every day.  You can also make the remaining lease payments and walk away from your lease car at any time, but it may be cheaper to trade it off.  Many people don’t realize you can trade your leased car in at any time, just like if it was purchased.  To oversimplify, a lease is just a different way to finance your vehicle.

Should I trade in my old car at the dealership or sell it myself?

Dealers have had to be very aggressive with used car trade evaluations. If you have a nice, clean, average mileage trade-in, dealers actually really want your trade-in, and will step up and pay top-dollar for it, knowing it will sell fast and make a buck. If you don’t trade it in and be done with it – which is the easy way – then you can withhold it and try to sell it yourself. Good, older cars are always in demand for those who are looking for their kid’s first car, or people who have cash, but cannot finance.

Is there a “three day right to cancel” when buying a new vehicle?

Under Texas law, you DO NOT have three days to cancel the purchase of a vehicle like you may with some other transactions.  Your purchase is final once you sign the necessary paperwork and drive off the lot.

What is the difference between a rebate and an incentive?

Cash rebates, like Bonus Cash, are cost reductions applied at the time of purchase to reduce the price. Incentives given by automaker finance companies include special low APR financing. They generally have eligibility restrictions.  Remember, factory incentives are your money, the dealer just facilitates the rebate offered by the manufacturer.  In most cases, if you choose, you can take the rebates in cash.

What is gap insurance?

GAP stands for Guaranteed Auto Protection and it protects you against being in a deficit position should your vehicle become a total loss, or if it is stolen and not recovered. In the event of total loss or an unrecovered theft, the insurance company is only obligated to pay replacement value for your car. GAP takes care of the difference between the two amounts; the value of the car and the amount owed.

How does the Lemon Law work?

If you have purchased or leased a new motor vehicle and it develops a defect or condition that substantially impairs the motor vehicle’s use, market value or safety, you may be eligible for relief under the Texas Lemon Law. You are required to allow the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to repair the defect(s) before you may file a complaint for lemon law relief. For additional information, visit: https://www.txdmv.gov/motorists/consumer-protection/lemon-law.