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Three in One: Questions In 2009 I leased a 2009 S40 Volvo (6,800 miles to start). The lease was a 5 year lease and it will be up in August. It needs new tires and some minor body damage due to snow and ice. Would it be better to pay off the lease now,(pay around $9,600) or at the end in August and pay the $7000. ? Or, Turn it in immediately and not take on the cost of new tires (approx. $1000 +380. for body repair) and see if a Honda or a Subaru dealer would give me something off (and how much could I expect to get ?) on a new 2015 Honda CV-R or a Subaru Forrester AWD. I've come to realize after last winter in the NE, it would be very nice to have AWD. Although I am satisfied with my Volvo S40 with that exception. My Volvo has 31,300 miles at this point. If I did the latter, would it be better to lease or buy the Honda or Subaru? I was looking forward to having no or low car payments as the City taxes and insurance on the Volvo have been difficult and high. While the Honda CR-Vhas lower insurance rates with a new Honda than what I am paying for the Volvo S40. I've research both Honda CR-V and Subrau Forrester and CrossTec and see them as good cars. But I am stuck on which would be financially the best for me to do. Buy new or Lease ? Or keep the Volvo and lower car payments. ???? I am a single woman, 70yrs.old and have no one to talk this over with, so I would really appreciate you answering all of my questions so I can make a final decision. I don't drive very much. No long trips, just around the town. Apprx. 6,000 mi.per yr. I hope to hear from you sooner rather than later, as a lot of dealers are calling me with their "deals". I have written to you before, but your answer came in so late, it was after the fact. I have written to you before, but you answer came in so late, it was after the fact. What should I do ? Buy or lease?( Leasing seems a little less expensive and I will have 36,000 mi warr. But the Volvo probably still has many years of life in it and lower payoff costs.) Thank you very much for your assessment of this car buying/leasing dilemma. Thank you for having this service for women.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Julie Kimes, General Sales Manager at O'Daniel Automart / O'Daniel Mazda The first question we need to figure out is what are your needs? Buying a 2009 Volvo S40 1 owner with only 31,300 miles for $7000 sounds like a very very good deal. So, we need to figure out if having the AWD is your only benefit of getting a new lease. A lease would provide you with lower payments then purchasing a new SUV because you are only paying for the part you are using; but then, you are faced with the same scenario as you have now. To truly be of assistance to you I would like to find out your comfort zone in regards to payment and true cost of ownership. If you can afford and want to continue to make lease payments of $300 - $350 that is a good way to go since there typically will not be any major cost of ownership on a lease vehicle, only maintenance, fuel and insurance. Regarding your vehicle as of now, I would not go into the hole to trade it in now just to get out of it. Your tires should have enough life on them with only 31k miles. Stop by a service shop and ask them if they will measure the tread depth of your tires. As long as they are measuring over 3 mils you should not be charged when you turn-in your lease. The damage however is damage and should be fixed, unless you plan on buying your lease out then condition of your vehicle does not matter to your lease company.

Jessie L Thatcher, F&I and Sales Specialist at Reynolds and Reynolds Company  (Retired) This is a very complicated scenario, however taking it one question at a time, I will try to offer my opinion, First you need to contact your current financial institution to verify what they require at the end of a lease, is there an "early out" program, can you "trade" the car and make use of any profit and what charges would you encounter for ending the lease early. It is commonly best to end your lease during the last two months to get the best financial options. The tires and damage would have to either be repaired and replaced before you turn the car in or you will have to pay a premium price for the dealer to do this. You most likely have a purchase option that is included on your original lease contract, you can try to negotiate this amount with the lender to see if you can get it a little lower if you want to buy your own used car. You are a good candidate for lease partially because of your low mileage and if you like to trade in your car after 3 or 4 years. If you are really unsure what car you might like, you can always rent one for a day or so to test drive it and see if it is truly a good fit. This may seem like just an additional expense, but it could save you from purchasing or leasing a vehicle that you either don't like or doesn't meet your needs. Leasing vs buying is always a conversation. You need to consider your needs and your usage. Again, if you don't want to have repair expenses on a vehicle, if you have traditionally traded every 3 or 4 years and if you don't want to invest your money in an auto, then leasing is a good option. If you drive a car until it falls apart, want to eventually get out of payments, and drive more than 18,000 year that buying is the best option. I hope this all helps.

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Hi Jane, As I don't know what model of the S40 you have (base or w/turbo) I did a guess-estimate. If you have the base model the trade in value would be approx. $13,300. If you have the turbo model it will be worth more money. If I were you I would get out under the Volvo and look into buying or leasing a CR-V or a Subaru. BUT, before I did, I would test drive both cars to see which on I liked better. They will feel very different then the Volvo did. I would also make a spreadsheet and get the various dealers to write out their "DEAL" for you so you can compare the differences at home when they are not hovering around pushing you to make a decision.

Helaine Kurot, Owner/Technician at 360 Automotive If you are happy with your current vehicle, then keep it. Depending on how low the tread on the tires is, they may charge you for that and any visible damage when you turn it in. They may look the other way on it if you are going to get another vehicle from them.

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