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I would like to help out my daughter with a reliable car. She is almost done with college and lives in a bigger city and I worry about her not having a safe car. I see attractive lease deals like the VW "sign and drive" (0 down, $219/mo, 36 months). I have the money to purchase a $10-12,000 vehicle. So my question, am I better off leasing or buying? Thank you

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Jenny Trostel, Partner at Anderson of Hunt Valley Since your daughter is almost done college, you may want to wait until she gets a job. If you lease a car with a limit on miles per year and she gets a job the requires that she travels more than the miles on the lease, you could have a big problem with the lease at the end. If you could buy a good quality used car that she could drive until she knows what type of job she will get, then she can decide on a future car and would have a car to trade for something else. Try to buy the car in the area where she lives so she can establish a relationship with the dealer for repairs and maintenance. Look at warranties and certified preowned programs, so that she does not have to worry about major expenses when she is just starting out. Take you time to find the right car and you will get a good deal. Good Luck!

Shelly LoCascio, Dealer Principal  at Irwin Lincoln Mercury Mazda Dear Crazy, This is always a personal choice. There are pros and cons to both. Paying for a car up front with no worries about the monthly payment is great. But if that's a preowned vehicle I would suggest an extended warranty just in case something unexpected happens you*re covered. Leasing at an affordable monthly payment can also be good because the car is under warranty during the entire lease period. BUT, in 3 years you need to figure out what you are going to drive next. You tend to always have a new car but you also always have a payment. Shelly

Jennifer Streets, Director of Marketing  at Swapalease.com Terry, When making the decision to lease or buy you have to ask yourself a couple of questions. The first one being how many miles do are you expecting your daughter to drive per year. When you take out a lease you are limited to the amount of miles that you can drive. The mileage limits are usually set to 10,000 to 12,000 per year. If the vehicle is return over mileage then you would be responsible for paying the over mileage fee, which can range from .20 to.45 per mile. The second question you have to ask yourself is she going to be able to keep the vehicle is great condition. Any damage to the vehicle the that is considered excess wear and tear will be billed at the end of the lease as well. The third question that you will need to know is if the leasing company will allow you to lease the vehicle for your daughter. When you lease or buy for someone other than yourself it is considered a straw purchase and not all leasing companies will allow this. Since in a lease the vehicle is titled to the leasing company they will need to know where the vehicle will be garaged and proper insurance will need to be on the vehicle. The great thing about leasing is that the vehicle would be covered under warranty for the term of the lease so if there was any mechanical issue it should be covered. This will give you the peace of mind that your daughter is safe. Jennifer Streets Swapalease.com

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