Ending a lease for the first time in the US

Hi all,

Rookie question as this will be the first time I end a lease in the US. I’m about to return my car at the end of August. The car had an accident during the lease term (fully repaired it and reported to insurance).

As this will lower the value of the car, I wonder if my best option is to sell to a third party broker.
As I never returned a lease to the dealership before, the question is how will the dealership treat the accident, and how can I assess by how much they will lower its value? I simply don’t want to wait not knowing this part before I return the car towards the end of the term.

I asked some third party brokers that offered 23k, and the buyout offered by the dealer was 25.5k. Thus I know I will lose 2.5k if I go that route, but how will I know the value of the car that the dealership will offer before I get there to return the car?

Hope this is not a stupid question, and if so hoping to learn from the community.


If you’re returning the lease you’ll only be responsible for the disposition fee and excess wear and tear (scratches, bald tires, etc.)

As long as the repairs were done correctly (sounds like they were) the diminished value is the dealers problem. A benefit of leasing.

The whole point of a lease is that this isn’t your problem. As long as the car was repaired appropriately and there is no remaining damage - turn in the car, hand over the keys and walk away. You are not on the hook for loss of value due to the accident.

Have a lease end inspection performed before turning it in.

If it was repaired properly, there will be no pentalty by the dealer at turn un for the accident, but there is unlikely to be any equity to make selling it worthwhile for you.

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If it is on Carfax and the broker’s don’t know that yet, expect the value to drop.

If you do decide to RETURN it, get a preinspection so you don’t end up with gotchas

Thanks all! Will order a pre inspection and see what they say.

I’ve always traded leases in early at different dealerships to avoid all that. Hasn’t failed me yet lol

To avoid all of what, a 20 min inspection in your driveway at lunch?

The OP is $2.5k underwater as it is with a car that’s been wrecked, unless one just enjoys lighting money on fire there’s absolutely no reason to do anything here but turn the car in at the end of the term in August and walk away.

OP, as everyone has mentioned as long as it’s been repaired properly the dealer/bank isn’t going to ding you for diminished value or anything like that. Turn in the keys, walk away.


Let me understand this statement.
The $25.5k buyout number is from the bank for the dealer correct?

Obviously im sure he is aware, but you still want to compare what they will charge you for wear and tear compared to the 2.5k underwater buyout. Or am i thinking this wrong. Doubt there is wear and tear to that level though.

You’ll be responsible for the disposition fee and that’s all.
If there is wear and tear, tires need replacement, then you’ll get charged.
Otherwise, the carfax is irrelevant in this case.

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