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Here’s How To Return Your Leased Car During the Coronavirus Pandemic

If your leased car is almost ready to be returned, normally you’d clear out your personal items and give it one last drive to the dealership. The coronavirus pandemic is hardly a normal time, however, and automakers have adjusted how they handle lease returns.

Every automaker does things its own way, and these policies are likely to change as the scope of the pandemic evolves. It’s worth it to call the financing arm of the automaker or bank through which you leased the vehicle as a first step. A customer service number is easy to find online or in any paperwork, and it’s that department that will have the latest lease return information.

Generally, most car dealers are remaining open for service, while many states and municipalities have even determined that sales departments can continue to function. Automakers have asked their dealers to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines on human interaction and sanitizing any surface, including desk space or touch points on vehicles. Some carmakers, including Subaru and Nissan, are encouraging lessees to take advantage of temporary at-home pickup programs. In addition to the added convenience, these programs ensure that drivers won’t need to visit a dealership at all.

Should home pickup not work for your leased car, a few automakers told Autotrader that they have encouraged their dealers to offer flexible hours to accommodate your needs. You’ll want to check with your local dealer to see if they’ve thrown their posted hours out the proverbial window, as implementation of these recommendations will vary by showroom. Should you visit a dealership, be sure to follow the CDC’s guidelines in order to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, and bring your own pen to sign any paperwork.

Slowing sales and mounting dealership inventories have encouraged automakers to offer some of the most aggressive new-car deals in recent history. In addition to broad low-interest financing, many lease deals are especially good, which could be enough to tempt you into leasing another vehicle. If you choose to do so, dealers are broadly offering a 100% online shopping experience culminating in at-home delivery of a thoroughly sanitized new car.

If you’d rather hang onto your car for a while, automakers are also offering lease extensions — same terms, same rate, just a 1-month or even 6-month extension from the original lease end date. General Motors says that customers with a lease set to end will have a 1-month extension applied automatically if they haven’t reached out to the automaker in the 10 days following the end of their lease.

The bottom line is that automakers are looking out for people who have leases set to expire soon, so you need not worry about having to return a car immediately.

Looking for more info relating to you, your vehicle and the COVID-19 pandemic? Check out more of Autotrader’s coronavirus content.

Andrew Ganz
Andrew Ganz is an author specializing in helping in-market consumers get the most bang for their buck -- and the best car, while they're at it. When not virtually shopping for new and used cars, Andrew can probably be found under the hood of a vintage classic that's rapidly losing fluids.

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