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• It's harder to compare prices on a lease, and the financing costs built into a lease are very high.

• Leasing may seem cheaper than buying, but you're mortgaging your future when you lease. After a few years of leasing a vehicle and making payments, you own nothing.

• Manufacturers and dealers like to use upfront fees to create ultra-low monthly payments that mask the actual cost of a lease.

• Most leases allow you to drive an average of 15,000 miles per year. If you exceed the limit, you have to pay a penalty of 8 to 15 cents per mile.

• Before you turn in a leased car, have it detailed inside and out and make any needed repairs. Then find out what company is officially responsible for determining that the car is in acceptable condition.

• A 4 or 5 year lease is a recipe for disaster. Many customers end up married to a vehicle they hate or end up paying severe early termination penalties.

• If you lease for 5 years and your car is totaled in an accident, you could be responsible for a giant gap between the amount the insurance company will pay and the stated residual in the lease.

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Clark shows off what he calls the "frunk" of his all-electric Tesla -- a trunk where the engine would normally go.

Best Cars of 2015

Every April, Consumer Reports makes a special effort during car buying season to give advice for new and used buyers in their annual auto issue. This year, the overall most reliable brand for new cars is a repeat performer that's near and dear to my heart -- the Tesla S. ...

Why You Should Limit Car Loans to 42 Months

Auto loan financing is suddenly available to people with damaged credit who may have been turned down for car loans as recently as a few months ago. But is that "yes" to your credit app really a "yes" in your monthly budget? How to avoid buying too much car If ...

The Truth About Crash Test Ratings – Are You Putting Yourself in Danger?

In 2012, the latest year fo which data is available, 33,561 people were killed in U.S. car crashes. Surely several thousand others suffered severe, life-changing injuries. I’ve asked thousands of new car shoppers how they chose their vehicle. Almost all said they liked the way it looked and handled, and ...

Electric car deals create short supply

After telling you several weeks ago that automakers are rolling out great leasing offers on electric vehicles, I now have a new situation to report: Electric vehicles are in short supply on dealer lots!  Range anxiety had been a big reason why people weren't buying electric cars. That's the fear ...

Is car leasing worth the money?

Is car leasing worth the money?

Leasing is at an all-time high among new car shoppers. But Clark has an alternative that will save you even more money in the long run.

Should you ever lease a car?

Leasing is all the rage in the auto industry again, but does it make sense for you to get into a car this way? I've seen several news reports that say leasing is now the No. 1 strategy of automakers and car dealers to reverse the trend that we're keeping ...

How to find the best auto repair shops

When the chips are down and you need a car repair, where's the best place to get it done? Back in 1987, I bought an Acura Integra. When it needed service, a friend who also had an Integra recommended a dedicated shop that only worked on Hondas and Acuras. It's ...

The Clark Smart Steps for Buying a New Car

If you're in the market for a new car, here are my tips for making a smart purchase. Here's how to buy a new car First, go to your credit union, online bank or traditional bank and prequalify for a car loan (or apply online.) That tells you how much ...

Should you lease a car right now?

Most manufacturers go on a blitz with their "End of the Year" sales events between Christmas and New Year's Eve. But is it a good idea to lease right now or should you wait? There are essentially 2 times in every calendar year when you can get a deal on ...

Why you should avoid an auto lease

Why you should avoid an auto lease

Leasing is all the rage in the auto industry again, but here are new numbers that assess the damage leasing can do to your wallet.

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