Dear PoPville – Wondering about Buying vs Leasing a Car

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

Dear PoPville,

My wife and I own a 2003 car that has nearly 100k miles and is on its way to needing several engine repairs. We are not enthused about the idea of a needing a new car, but we understand from the persistent engine noises (as well as mechanics estimate) that we will need to invest in spendy maintenance to extend its life. At some point it will just be cheaper to part with the 10 year old car and find a new one. The problem is we do not have enough money to purchase a new car (or used with low millage) and are not interested in using car share options for a variety of reasons. We don’t drive more than 10k-12k miles per year, but still require our own car.

I would be interested to hear from PoPville about their collective experience of financing a car to own vs. leasing a new car. Specifically, what are the pitfalls of leasing a car that I should be aware of (I have never leased before). If we go with the lease option do you need to register the car with DC (and thus pay expensive registration fees) every 2-3 years when you lease a new car or is it possible to transfer. Lastly, could you recommend good local options to finance/lease a car?

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