Leasing a car is rarely the most economical way to have an auto at your disposal. But if you like to have a new car every two or three years, leasing could be the way to go. Here are five tips on leasing a car without getting ripped off.
•Prepare. Edmunds.com and Leaseguide.com are helpful resources, with free features such as online calculators to estimate payments. Also, you can learn the jargon on these sites so salespeople won't baffle you with terms such as "residual value" or "money factor."
•Calculate mileage. Many leases charge a penalty if you put more than 10,000 or 12,000 miles on the car in a year, and that could be a problem if you have a substantial commute. Do an honest assessment of your yearly driving before you take on a lease.
•Consider length of lease. For warranty purposes, Edmunds.com says a term of three years or less is best. "The majority of carmakers offer three-year bumper-to-bumper warranties," the site says. "If your lease is for three years you will always be under warranty without paying extra for an extended service contract."