How to Tell If a High-Mileage Lease is Right for You

Leasing is Only for Those That Don't Drive a Lot, or is it?


What would you recommend to a friend who drives a lot, needs a new vehicle and is wondering what makes more sense - buying or leasing it? Conventional wisdom says that leasing a car makes sense only if you don't drive a lot but is this true?

The reality is that there are leases tailored to the needs of the high mileage drivers but they are not advertised as much as the conventional ones by the car manufacturers. As a result, even car dealer employees are unaware of their existence and can't bring them to us as an option.

When we think about car leases we think in the terms of 12,000 miles/years lease only. The reality is that banks are willing to lease you a car for as many as 100,000 miles to be driven over the life of the typical 3 year lease.

It comes at a cost, of course, but this is an option you shouldn't be too quick to turn down. High mileage lease means higher monthly payments but when you agree on these miles at the beginning of a lease, the mileage costs are cheaper than end-of-lease excess mileage charges.

Let's use an example to make things easier to understand and see why leasing a BMW X3 and putting 100,000 miles on it might make more sense than financing the same vehicle for 60 months.

For this example, both vehicles (the leased and the financed one) have the same selling price and down payment. The terms include taxes, fees, and registration, based on a purchase made in Luzerne County, PA, and the APR is X.XX%.


  2018 BMW X3 M40i 
 Lease/Loan Term Monthly Payment Residual/Loan Payoff @36 month
 36-month/36,000-mile lease $XXX $XX,XXX residual amount
 36-month/100,000-mile lease $XXX $X,XXX residual amount
 60-month loan $XXX $XX,XXX payoff amount


As expected, to drive 36,000 miles a year instead of the standard 12,000 will cost the driver in this leasing example $XXX more per month. But notice that this monthly payment is very similar to that of the driver who chose to finance his/her Beamer.

The difference is that three years from now the lessee will have the option to return the SUV and walk out if it doesn't fit their needs anymore while the one who borrowed money to buy it won't have that flexibility.

Another important thing to note is that at the 36th month mark the person with the 60-month car loan will own more than his car is worth (assuming he put on 100,000 on it as well). That's not a good position to be in, especially if you are looking to trade in the car. But with little planning ahead and opting for a high-mileage lease one could avoid that situation.

What happens at the end of the lease? Lease termination options are the same whether a lease is scheduled to end at 36,000, 60,000 or even 100,000 miles. When the lease is up the lessee can buy the car for the residual amount given they still like it.
If they don't, they can just drop it off at any authorized dealer of the brand and just walk away. It really doesn't matter that you have piled on the miles as you paid for them in advance.

In conclusion, if you drive a lot but don't want to drive the same car for an extended period of time, a high mileage lease might be worth it.

Here's what to do next - see our lease offers on new BMWs or call BMW of Wyoming Valley at (570) 338-6955 to speak with one of our experienced lease specialists.  

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BMW of Wyoming Valley

1470 Highway 315
Directions Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702

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