Is It Better to Lease a Car for 36 or 48 Months? [2023]

Is it better to lease for 36 or 48 months?

When it comes to leasing a car, deciding on the lease length can be confusing. Among a slew of options, 36 and 48-month leases are popular contenders. In this extensive article, our team at Car Leases™ will guide you through the benefits and drawbacks of 36 and 48-month leases, along with other popular lease terms. We'll also answer frequently asked questions and provide quick tips and facts to help you make an informed decision.

The Pros and Cons of 36-Month Car Leases

36-month car leases are generally the most popular lease term, and for good reason. Here are the pros and cons to consider:


  • Lower monthly payments: As the lease term is shorter than average, monthly payments are also lower.
  • Less chance of mechanical problems: Leasing a car for a shorter term means being able to enjoy the benefits of a new car, without worrying about excessive wear and tear on the vehicle.
  • Leasing a new car sooner: A 36-month lease allows you to trade-in the car for a new model sooner than the average 48 or 60-month term.


  • Higher upfront costs: While your monthly payments may be lower, generally, leasing a car for a shorter term results in a higher upfront cost that includes down payment, taxes, and other fees.
  • More frequent leasing: If you're someone who loves to keep up with the latest models, the shorter lease term may not allow enough time for the car to depreciate enough to make it a financially feasible option to trade it in.
  • A shorter time period to pay off fees or penalties: Leasing a car for a relatively shorter period means you have less time to pay off any penalties or fees for exceeding mileage, damage, and other lease terms.

Are 36-month leases a good fit for everyone?

36-month leases are a popular choice for most people, especially for those who don't want to commit to a longer lease term. However, it's important to recognize that this isn't always the case. For people who need a larger car, for example, a 24 or 48-month lease may be the better fit. At the same time, other people may prefer a car entirely that requires a different lease term to fit their needs.

Pros and Cons of 48-Month Car Leases

48-month car leases have many unique advantages and disadvantages, and there are several reasons why you might opt for this lease term:


  • Lower monthly payments: Monthly payments on a 48-month deficit are lower than in many shorter-term lease deals. The longer period means the value of the car comes down gradually, which reduces your failure to make payments.
  • Variety of lease options: Purchasing a three-year lease 36-month cycle typically offers a limited range of car models that are cheaper and easier to procure. On the flip side, a 48-month lease deal provides a broader range of vehicles that customers can select.
  • Time for the car to depreciate: Since the lease term is longer, a 48-month lease provides enough time for the car to depreciate, which offers you the chance to trade the car for a new model at the end of the lease.


  • Upfront costs: Longer lease terms like 48-month deals result in higher initial costs — which may include down payments and taxes and other applicable fees.
  • Greater exposure to mechanical wear and tear: With extended use, cars may experience mechanical wear and tear, and 48 months is ample time for issues to manifest.
  • Maintenance and upkeep costs: As a vehicle gets older, maintenance costs rise, which increases the cost of ownership, particularly when the car is over four years old.

Are 48-month leases the best option for everyone?

A 48-month lease term works well for people who like a particular car model and plan to make that purchase over a more extended period. It is also suitable for people who would not like to commit to a long-term purchase contract, as it offers greater flexibility.

While 36-month and 48-month leases may be the most popular, there are other lease terms available, such as:

  • 24-month leases: Shorter than the average lease term, resulting in higher monthly payments, but potentially lower total costs
  • 60-month leases: Longer than a four-year lease with higher total costs due to warranties and maintenance
  • 72-month leases: The longest lease term offered, but not always recommended due to potential mechanical issues.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Research different car models available in your preferred lease term to find the most affordable deals.
  • Negotiate with the car dealership to get the best possible lease terms.
  • Always factor in the vehicle's depreciation value when determining the ideal lease term.
  • Monitor your leased vehicle's mileage to avoid penalties or extra fees.
  • Consider how often you would like to get a new car when choosing the right lease term.


What is the most common lease length for a car?

The most common lease term for a car is 36 months.

What is the best month to lease a car?

According to a survey, the best month to lease a car is in December, as dealerships are looking to empty their lots to make room for new models.

How much is a lease on a $45000 car?

The lease cost on a $45,000 car can vary depending on the lease term, down payment, depreciation, and other variables. On average, a 36-month lease could cost around $600 a month without a down payment.

In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all lease term for a car. It depends on your budget, desired car model, and how frequently you'd like to switch vehicles. We hope that this article helps you weigh the pros and cons of 36 and 48-month leases and navigate other popular lease terms. At Car Leases™, we recommend negotiating with car dealerships to get the best possible deal that suits your needs. Happy leasing!

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