Consumer Watch: Negotiating the best deal when leasing a car


by Andy Treinen

Posted on May 10, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Updated Thursday, May 10 at 4:56 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Many drivers prefer to lease because monthly payments are lower and consumers are not stuck with one car for more than a few years. 

Before you drive off the lot, Good Morning Kentuckiana’s Andy Treinen has some tips to help you negotiate the best deal in Thursday’s Consumer Watch.

With interest rates hovering near record lows and prices for used cars on the rise, it is a great time to lease a vehicle.

Car experts say leasing is for you if you like a new car every few years and you drive less than 12,000 miles a year.

Before you sign that contract, make sure you're getting the best deal possible. recommends that you not mention you are planning to lease when you visit a dealership.   Instead, negotiate a purchase price then ask your salesman to draw up a lease contract at that rate. 

The bank offering you the lease will actually be buying the car, so if you can negotiate a good price for the "capitalized cost," your lease payments will be lower.  Then, compare the capitalized cost you are offered to the true market value of the car on sites like and

Pay attention to the "drive-off cost".  That is the amount you need to pay up front. If you decide to make a smaller down payment, your monthly charges will be higher.

You should also check the number of miles allowed in your contract. Expect slightly higher monthly payments if you want to increase the mileage allowance.

Finally, do not get too attached to the car. If you decide to buy it once the lease is up, you could end up paying more than the vehicle is actually worth. 

If you have a consumer problem you would like Andy to look into send an e-mail to