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What do I need to Return/Trade In my Toyota Lease?

When you reach the end of your Toyota lease, you need to return your vehicle, trade it in, or make arrangements to buy the car for whatever amount is still owed on the purchase price of the vehicle. You will want to prepare a checklist and make sure you have everything ready to go before taking your Toyota vehicle into the dealership.

At Panama City Toyota, we want this process to be as simple as possible for you. If you will be trading in a vehicle or returning your Toyota lease vehicle soon, here's a general overview of the return process. Your specific lease terms may require slightly different steps. 

What To Do Before Returning Your Toyota Lease Vehicle 


Image via Flickr under CC BY 2.0 by krystian_o

Start by examining your vehicle and look for any signs of excessive wear and tear. You should consider making any necessary repairs. It will be cheaper for you to make these repairs than be assessed any penalties for damage when you return the vehicle. 

The originating Toyota dealer is the one who is required to accept the lease vehicle return, but you should contact your local Toyota dealer to make an appointment for turning in your lease vehicle. 

Verify your payments and fees are handled. You should make sure you don't owe any money to Toyota Financial Services (TFS). Once you have verified all payments and fees are up to date, schedule the complimentary inspection appointment. This appointment should be done between 15 and 60 days before your vehicle maturity date. You can speak with your local dealer for further instructions or call AutoVin at 855-40-MY-TFS. If you make any repairs after your inspection, you need to let TFS know, as they will need another inspection when you bring the vehicle in. 

Another helpful checklist item is to check with the DMV to determine whether you need to return the license plates when the lease ends. 

What To Do During Your Inspection 

Before you leave for your inspection or lease-return appointment, make sure you have all of the following documents and equipment: 

  • All sets of keys.
  • Toyota owner manuals.
  • Spare tire and tool kit, if applicable.
  • All original equipment, such as cargo cover, radio, vehicle headrests, etc. 
  • Mileage information along with a signed Odometer Disclosure Statement. Keep a copy for your records.

When you are at the Toyota dealer, confirm they will accept your lease return. Jot down the name of the dealer associate who helps you with the return. If you did not have an inspection appointment before your return appointment, the dealer will complete one within a few days of returning the vehicle. 

After Your Toyota Lease Vehicle Is Returned 

Once you've returned your Toyota lease vehicle, there are still a few things left to do. You should receive a final invoice that will show any unpaid payments, miscellaneous charges, late fees, etc. Fees will include any charges for excessive wear and tear and excessive mileage. You should also contact Toyota Financial Services to determine whether you qualify to have your disposition fee waived, which could save you up to $350. 

If you paid a security deposit, Toyota will return send a check to your home address. Be advised that your check will be reduced if you owe any lease end charges. Don't forget to cancel any automatic payments you have set up through Toyota Financial Services. 

Toyota Early Lease Return 

Some people may need to return their leased vehicle early. If you are active military, the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA) will allow eligible service members to terminate their lease prior to the maturity date without any termination fees or charges. Under the Gold Star Military Program, eligible service members may be allowed to terminate their lease early in the event of death, catastrophic illness, or injury. However, you must contact TFS directly to determine eligibility for either program. 

When a lease customer passes away, someone may be able to take over the lease with permission, but you must speak with TFS to determine the applicable criteria. There is also a Probate Lease Cancellation program that may allow for early termination that may include forgiving the remainder of payments. 

Returning your Toyota lease more than 31 days before the maturity date is also possible. TFS will need to calculate your early return balance and send you an invoice within 60 to 120 days of returning your vehicle. The reason for the delay is TFS may determine your balance once your vehicle is sold at auction. 

Trading Your Toyota Lease Vehicle In 

Another option is to trade your Toyota lease vehicle in for another one. Trading in a lease vehicle differs from trading in one that's privately owned. Even if you are not trading it in early, you could still have fees and penalties you need to cover. Situations where it might be wise to trade your Toyota lease vehicle include when you have a large fee for excessive wear-and-tear, or you went way over your allotted mileage. Always calculate these fees to determine which option makes the most financial sense. 

When you trade your leased Toyota in, one of two things happen: 

  • The dealer will pay off the lease balance and use the wholesale value as trade credit, minus any termination charges. 
  • The dealer will pay for the remainder of your lease payment and return it to the company. However, you have no trade-in credit and you'll still owe all end-of-lease charges.  

Buying Your Toyota Lease 

Another option at the end of your lease is to purchase the vehicle. If you are considering buying your current lease vehicle, you need a Toyota payoff quote. You can contact TFS at 800-286-0652. A Toyota Certified Leasing Expert can help walk you through the process and even schedule an in-person appointment to go over all the details. 

There are multiple reasons some people choose to buy out their Toyota lease rather than return it. They might have negotiated a lower buyout price, love the vehicle, they want to sell it privately, and more. Whatever your reasons are, contact Panama City Toyota to see how we can help you return or trade in your lease vehicle or help you purchase it. 

If you have additional questions about returning or trading in your lease, contact Panama City Toyota today.