"Buying versus leasing is one of those questions we get from consumers on a regular basis," said Patrick Olsen, managing editor of Cars.com. "For most consumers, it comes down to some very basic lifestyle questions."
So, when considering your next auto purchase, how can you decide which is the best path to take? Here are some points from Cars.com you should consider if you are thinking about leasing:
* Beyond Lower Payments
Lower payments aren't the only reason to lease. Leasing also offers purchasing flexibility. Olsen calls it "the three-year test drive."
* A Worry-Free Drive
Drivers who lease don't have to worry about watching the value of their car drop every year or deal with hefty repair bills. At the end of the lease term, they can simply turn in the car and walk away.
* An Ongoing Monthly Payment
While leasing is convenient, you end up having to continue making some kind of monthly payment. When you buy, however, you'll pay off the loan at some point.
* The Mileage Watch
Most leases have a cap on how many miles you can put on a car before you get hit with a mileage charge, which adds up very quickly. If you drive more than 15,000 miles a year, a lease is likely to be the wrong choice for you.
* Don't Leave a Gap
If you lease, make sure you consider GAP insurance. GAP stands for Guaranteed Auto Protection, and it represents the gap between what your insurance company pays and what you owe at the time the car becomes history, which can be tens of thousands of dollars.
This insurance pays off the lease balance if your leased car is stolen or totaled.
For more information on leasing versus buying an automobile, visit www.cars.com.