Can You Lease a Used Car?

6 minutes Published: 06/07/2021

Lease cars. 

They're fancy, shiny, and packed with great tech - and of course, they’re brand new. You can’t possibly lease a used car, right?  

Wrong. It’s actually possible to lease a used car. It’s admittedly a slightly more affordable option than leasing a new car.

Is it a good idea though? The best part of leasing is that you get a brand new car that isn’t going to break down, so why would you lease a used one?

Having said that, we’re going to run you through what the process is like for leasing a used car compared to how car leasing works normally, and explain why you’re much better off leasing a new car. 

For personal lease and business lease deals for brand new cars, make Lease Fetcher your first port of call! You can compare car lease deals from brokers all across the UK with ease with our help.

How does leasing a used car work?

Used vehicles that are available for leasing are usually manufacturer certified pre-owned, less than 4 years old and under 50k miles - so you can’t lease that 2008 Fiesta ST you wanted when you were 16. Sorry!

In terms of how used car lease deals work, it follows the exact same structure as when you lease a new car. 

The cost to lease a car is split across an initial payment (known as the initial rental - essentially a deposit) and monthly payments, which are calculated based on how much value is left on the vehicle. You’re essentially paying the depreciation. 

The monthly payment is made for the duration of the car lease contract length, which is typically between 2-5 years. The monthly cost obviously lowers the longer the contract, and what your mileage allowance is.

The leasing company is the registered keeper of the lease car, meaning you'll never own the car.

If you go over your annual mileage allowance for your personal contract hire deal, you’ll need to pay the excess mileage charge, which can be very high. If you damage the car (in line with BVRLA fair wear and tear guidelines), you'll have to pay lease car return charges for this too.

Why would I lease a used car? 

Part of the appeal of leasing is having a fancy new car that you don’t have to worry quite as much about maintaining it (of course, you still have to maintain your lease car, it is just less likely that things will go wrong off the bat). So why would you want a lease deal on something that is far more likely to break, and that you’re going to have to worry about MOT’ing during the contract term? 

Here are a few reasons why someone might want a used car lease:

  • Cheaper per month: This is perfect if your car lease negotiation techniques didn't work or your car lease guarantor application was rejected. Your monthly payment is going to be cheaper because an older car depreciates far less than a newer one - an older Toyota won’t depreciate as much as brand new Volvo SUV. However, with more maintenance required with an older car, this might balance out over time!
  • Insurance: As the car isn’t worth as much as a new car, your insurance might be cheaper as it won’t cost the insurance company much to replace in the event that your lease car is written-off
  • Poor credit: "Do you need good credit to lease a car?" Yep, you pretty much always do. So, with a used car leasing, the risk for the broker is lessened, so you're more likely to be accepted with poor credit (but not always).

Should I just lease a new car instead?

In our ever so slightly biased opinion, yes. But hear us out, we bet you’ll agree that a new car is: 

  • Less hassle: Take out a lease on a new car with a contract of 3 years or less and all you need to do is get the car serviced, keep it clean, and don’t crash it! No MOT required. You can sign up for a lease car maintenance package with your leasing company/finance company and have peace of mind for the duration of your contract.
  • Under warranty: Most manufacturers offer a 3-7 year warranty on your lease car. If you rent an older car, it’ll likely be out of warranty by the time your contract ends. 
  • Safer: In-car safety features improve every year. By leasing a new car, you can make sure that you have the most up to date safety features to keep you and your family safe while driving. 
  • More fun: Cars tend to get more fun to drive and feature better tech than their older counterparts. 
  • Better for the environment: Most vehicles are getting more and more Co2 efficient. Leasing a new vehicle means you’re likely getting a car that pollutes far less than an older one - especially if you go for a hybrid lease deal or an electric lease deal.
  • Part exchange: You can reduce the cost of the lease if you trade in your current car. Many brokers are open to car lease part exchange.
  • Has that new car smell: It’s definitely a thing. You’d rather be in a brand new BMW coupe than an old Peugeot Hatchback that’s seen one too many McDonalds drive-thrus. 

Alternatives to leasing a used car

There are loads of alternatives to leasing a used car. Leasing a new car, buying a used car, or taking

If you're looking for something budget-friendly and you like the way leasing works, then searching for car lease transfer advertisements may be helpful. These are deals offered when people cannot continue with their current lease contract for a number of reasons - you can take over their contract, which could have 1-3 years left on it.

The initial rental has already been covered by the initial lessee, so you simply have to make the remaining monthly payments and keep the car in good nick for its eventual return.

If it's mainly the chunky initial rental that's worrying you with ordinary leasing, you should know that you can secure a no deposit car lease. With this, your initial rental is your 1st month's payment, and the remaining money that would have been included in the standard larger initial rental is distributed evenly amongst your remaining monthly payments.

Summary 

We think leasing a used car is a bad idea. Once you’ve taken into account the inevitable maintenance and MOT fees you need to pay, you’re not saving much money to drive an older, shabbier car. 

Leasing a new car allows you to drive the Audi or Mercedes-Benz of your dreams for a low monthly price. If you opt for a maintenance package, you don’t even have to worry about the costs of servicing your lease car - this is simply added on to your monthly rental, so you can relax until the end of the contract. 

Even if you’re on a budget and you're wondering whether to buy or lease a car, we recommend waiting around for some car leasing special offers on a new car - you’ll be surprised at how affordable some leasing deals can be! With our car leasing tips, like the best time to lease a car, you'll be able to slash costs.

To make sure you don’t miss those deals, compare lease deals with Lease Fetcher! We've gathered the best personal car leasing deals and business car leasing deals on the UK market to make your search easier!