Q: I’ve never leased a car, and am considering doing so. I’d like some information on several matters, including what kind of penalties there are if you go over the agreed-upon mileage when the car is turned in.
A: I suggest you do a great deal of homework before you meet with the first leasing agent. Then you’ll be aware of the potential pitfalls, and you can, if you decide leasing is the right route for you, arrange the best possible terms for your particular circumstances.
A good place to start your research efforts is USA.gov. When you get to that home page, type “leasing a car” into the search area and that will return several different documents and pages that provide, in combo, a quite-good basic education on the upsides and downsides of leasing.
Among the things you’ll learn: it is vital to read – and understand – every single word of the leasing agreement you might sign, the terms can be very different from company to company, and it might be possible to negotiate a few details at the front end.
Your question about excess mileage at turn-in time is extremely important – one that often, in fact, winds up biting the wallets of people who lease vehicles. Most deals allow you 10,000 to 15,000 miles annually. If you think there’s a chance you’ll exceed the mileage limit, you should definitely choose a higher-mileage deal, as 10 cents to 25 cents for each additional mile beyond the agreed-upon mileage is what you can expect to be charged.
Several online tools help you calculate the financial aspects of leasing. Leaseguide.com and Leasecompare.com are easy to navigate and provide good leasing tips or links to them.
Q: My nephew is planning to buy a new Jeep Grand Cherokee that he claims will go 600 miles between fill-ups. I’m doubtful. What about you?
A: The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel gets, according to the EPA estimates, 21 to 28 mpg. Assuming an average of 26 mpg, this vehicle would, with its 24.6-gallon tank, get 600-plus miles between fill-ups.
If 100 percent of the driving were city driving, it wouldn’t make the 600-miles mark, but with 60 or 70 percent highway driving (employing not-crazy driving habits) it definitely could.
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