What you should know about short-term vehicle leases?

Last Updated on May 10, 2024 by John Robinson

Short-term vehicle leases offer a flexible alternative to traditional long-term commitments. They provide individuals and businesses with the convenience of temporary access to a vehicle without the financial burden and responsibility of a long-term lease or outright purchase.

What is a short-term vehicle lease?

A short-term vehicle lease is an arrangement where you lease a vehicle, typically a car, motorbike, or van, for 3 to 12 months, although short-term leases can go as long as 18 months. Unlike traditional long-term leases, which often require a commitment of 1 to 4 years, short-term leases offer flexibility without a lengthy contract. They allow you to use the vehicle for temporary needs such as business trips or when you’re between vehicles and waiting for your new car to arrive.

What are the short-term car leasing durations?

The most popular short-term car leasing durations are:

  • 3-month lease: This option is usually chosen by business professionals on short assignments or people considering a longer-term lease but want to test a make or model before committing. 
  • 6-12 month leases: Typically a preferred option for people waiting for a long-term leased vehicle to arrive. Ideal for personal and business purposes, 6-12 month car leases are an excellent choice when you require a vehicle for less than a year or prefer not to commit to a longer-term lease.

What are the pros and cons of short-term car leases?

Short-term car leases can be an ideal option in certain situations, but they have pros and cons to consider:


No long-term commitment: Short-term leases give lessees a break from long commitments. The short duration of the car lease provides flexibility, meaning they can opt-out without getting stuck in a long-term contract.

Lower upfront costs: Short-term leases typically come with reduced initial expenses compared to the substantial upfront costs associated with a purchase or long-term leases. This makes short-term leasing attractive for those seeking a more manageable financial commitment.

Maintenance coverage: Many short-term leases include comprehensive maintenance and warranty packages, alleviating lessees from the responsibility and costs of routine vehicle upkeep. This provision ensures a hassle-free driving experience, with peace of mind regarding potential repair expenses.

Try before you buy: Short-term leasing, which could be used as a trial period, allows individuals to test various vehicle models before making a long-term commitment. This feature allows lessees to evaluate compatibility and performance before purchasing a car. 


Higher monthly payments: The flexibility of short-term leases often comes at a premium, resulting in elevated monthly payments compared to long-term lease agreements.

Limited mileage: Short-term leases frequently impose mileage restrictions, with penalties for exceeding predetermined limits. This limitation can be problematic if you need to make extensive journeys, potentially compromising travel plans.

Potential fees: Short-term leases may entail additional fees and charges, including early termination fees, excess mileage penalties, and administrative costs. These extra expenses can build up, impacting the overall cost-effectiveness of short-term leasing.

What are the key differences between short-term car leasing and traditional leasing?

Short-term car leasing typically lasts 3 to 18 months, while traditional leases usually last 1 to 3 years but can go up to 5 years. Short-term leases typically require less paperwork and don’t require a significant down payment, while in most cases, conventional leases require a larger down payment.

Monthly payments are often higher for short-term leases because the cost of the car is spread over a shorter period. Short-term leases usually come with stricter mileage restrictions.

Should you choose a short-term car lease?

Choosing a short-term car lease in the UK hinges on several key factors. Firstly, assess your duration of need; if you require a vehicle for only a few months to a year, a short-term lease offers flexibility without a long-term commitment. 

However, consider the financial implications, as short-term leases may entail higher monthly payments than other options. Factor in mileage restrictions and vehicle availability to ensure they align with your driving habits and preferences. 

Decide whether the lease includes maintenance and insurance coverage, as these aspects can impact overall convenience and cost. By weighing these considerations against your own circumstances, you can determine whether a short-term car lease in the UK suits your needs.

John Robinson
John Robinson

Howdy! I’m John Robinson from Levittown, New York. I am a mechanical engineer for 15 years and already had an established car repair company. I developed a personal relationship with cars since I was a kid. I always love the sounds and smell emitted by a car or truck and even at construction machinery. Since then I have been married but my love for cars only grew.