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Loan payments contribute to the eventual ownership of a vehicle, while lease payments apply only to the short-term use of a car.
Owning a lease vehicle is possible if purchased outright after the lease period ends.
A typical lease period runs between 24 and 48 months.
Three important factors - adjusted capitalized cost, residual value and the money factor - determine the monthly rate of a lease.
Closed-end leases set a fixed residual buy price at the beginning of the term, while open-end deals base the final buy price on a vehicle's actual market value at the end of a lease.
Pay more money down initially to reduce monthly loan payments. Otherwise, a typical down payment ranges between 10 to 20 percent of the total cost.
Many used vehicles require down payments of at least 20 percent and include interest rates between 9 to 10 percent.
Lease agreements usually limit mileage from 12,000 to 15,000 miles annually. Beyond these figures, fees in the range of $0.10 to $0.25 per mile begin to accumulate.
If you plan on customizing your vehicle, you need to finance with a loan. Leased vehicles must be returned under factory specification.