Can You Customize a Leased Car?

Typically, you can’t customize a leased vehicle unless you choose only minor, reversible modifications.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
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If you’re wondering whether you can modify a leased car, the short answer is no—but you might be able to get away with it if the modifications are temporary. 
Most dealerships have strict guidelines when it comes to customizing a leased vehicle.
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Modifications must be temporary

Leasing a vehicle
is a lot like renting an apartment—you get to use it, but you don’t own it. The owner needs the car to be in the same condition when they get it back. So if you’re planning to customize your leased car, be sure the modifications are temporary if you don’t plan to buy it at the end of the lease term.
Just like any other rental agreement, a vehicle lease is a contract between you and the dealer. 
If you don’t choose to buy your car at the end of the lease, you’ll have to
bring it in for an inspection
two to three months before your lease ends. 
During this inspection, the dealer will be looking for excessive wear and tear—but they’ll also be inspecting the vehicle to ensure that all the original factory parts are present and that nothing has been added or changed
If the dealer finds any aftermarket parts on the vehicle during your lease-end inspection, you could be looking at some hefty fees and penalties.
Key Takeaway If you modify your leased vehicle, remove all modifications before your lease-end inspection.

Modifications could void your warranty

Keep in mind that any modifications you make to a vehicle, leased or purchased, could void the warranty. If the car dealer decides that your modification caused an issue that now needs repair, they can void your warranty on the spot, leaving you to foot the bill for all repairs while you have the vehicle.

Easily reversible modifications

You can still modify your leased vehicle—you just need to be sure you return it in its original condition with all factory parts present and working properly. That means choosing aftermarket modifications that are easy to install and remove. 
Here are some of the most popular choices:
  • Window tint
    : Your dealer may not even notice this modification as long as you use a tint film that complies with your state’s window tinting laws.  
  • Exhaust and intake: Most modern upgrade kits don’t require any welding or cutting and are easily installed and removed in just a few hours.
  • Wheels and tires: Easy to install and remove, a new set of wheels is a great option for customizing your leased vehicle.

It may be better to buy

If you’re looking to add more complicated modifications—like lift kits or changes to the body—you should forego the lease and buy your vehicle instead. In fact, if customization is your goal,
buying is your best option
Why spend the time and money researching the ins and outs of modifying a leased vehicle and installing those upgrades just to remove them in the end? 
Your monthly payments will likely be higher, but it could save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.
Key Takeaway If you really want to customize your new car, you should buy it.

How to find affordable insurance for your leased car

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FAQs

Yes. You can modify a leased vehicle, but all modifications must be removed if you plan to return or trade-in the vehicle at lease-end.
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