Would a dealer ever refuse to lease because of the condition of a trade-in?

I drive a 16 year old Mazda that I bought new in 2005. Mainly out of sentimentality and a desire to go for as long as I could without a car payment. At this point it has seen better days. It’s driveable, but it’s got some dents and scrapes and a permanently on check engine light (codes are for an evap sensor, so nothing serious, and I’ve already thrown money at it with no success). I’ve reached the point where it does not make sense to keep putting money into this car.

So, I need a new(er) vehicle and I’ve been looking at Mazda’s but going round in circles on new/used and buy/lease. I live in Chicago proper so there’s an almost 10% use tax added to lease payments which makes things a bit of a closer call than they might be normally. I have a good income, tier 1/1+ credit (740 FICO), and money to put towards a down payment or stuff DAS if I go with a lease. But I need to deal with my current car and I’m worried that the condition of it might somehow make a dealer not agree to a lease or only take it in trade as part of a purchase?

Absolutely not, the dealer couldn’t care less what condition your current car is in. That has no bearing on anything other than trade in value.

Even if you lease a car and trash it, the dealer is out of the equation with regards to any damages, that is between you and the bank, not the dealer.

to add on:
Work the lease separate from the Mazda. typically dealers dont want 16 year old vehicles, the current times though they might pay more then the standard (anecdote) $100 trade in value.

If you want the max value, and are willing to put up with some of the antics of private party selling, facebook marketplace, craigslist etc.

Personally, the extra 10% tax penalty of leasing in Chicago makes it a non-starter.

Yea your trade has no bearing on whether the dealer is willing to allow you to lease vs purchase a vehicle.

That said, they could always decline to take the trade or lowball you as others mentioned.

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Is that just because the gap between the monthly payment for a lease / finance is much smaller or some other reason?

If you’re comparing the total cost of ownership between a lease and financing, things lean way more in favor of financing when there’s an extra 10% tax on the lease.


When I leased after owning I had a car that was favorable for a trade in, what they offered vs me selling it privately was of course a big difference. So I ended up selling it privately in only a few days to a neighbor of mine. Long story short try letting it go privately, unless you don’t want the headaches just sell it to the dealership for X amount.

Used cars are hot so it shouldn’t be that hard to find a private party or even dealer to take it off your hands (local dealer or Carvana/vroom/ALGO/Carmax etc).

By the same token don’t buy a used car rn.

Buy brand new.

Like Matt said don’t lease in Chicago proper.

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