Residual Value Explained & How to Calculate It

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Residual Value Explained & How to Calculate It

New car buyers tend to be intimidated by the language used in the car-buying world. There are many leasing companies out there, but most of them are likely to determine the residual value of your vehicle at the beginning of the leasing contract.

Payments for your lease depend on the estimated value of your vehicle at the end of your lease term, which determines your monthly lease payments.

For example, car lease residual value is a term that new car shoppers may sometimes come across, but they need to learn what it means financially.

Many people looking to buying out a car lease cannot comprehend it. Understanding the residual value meaning before you sign a lease with this term is essential.

What’s a car’s residual value? What’s the residual value formula? Read on to learn more about the residual value of car leases!

What is a car’s residual value? 

Usually, when you talk about the residual value of a lease, it refers to the vehicle’s estimated cost at the end of the lease term. This value can also be referred to as the lease-end or lease buyout price. There’s no secret to the fact that cars lose a lot of value as soon as they are driven off the dealer’s lot and off your driveway. Thus, the lease residual value indicates the car’s resale value after depreciation.

Here is the Average rate of depreciation formula: consider that you’re going to buy a car that will cost you $30,000. An item’s residual value is $20,000, so you will pay a total of $10,000 when leasing it.

How to calculate the residual value 

When it comes to leasing, it’s essential to evaluate a car’s residual value to decide whether to lease it or not. There is no rocket science or tool for a residual value calculator; you need to do it by yourself.

A residual value for a car is calculated based on a percentage of its manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), and even if you have negotiated a lower sale price or lease price with the seller, you should still use the MSRP when determining the residual value rather than the lower negotiated price.

A common example would be if you wished to lease a car for three years and the car’s MSRP is $50,000, and the residual value is 50%, you would multiply $50,000 by 0.5, which makes $20,000 for the lease. The residual credit of this car at the end of the three-year lease is reasonable so the car will lose only $20,000 in value.

It means that if you decided to purchase the car after making all of your monthly payments, at the end of the lease period, the car would cost you $20,000.

The importance of residual value

When it comes to selling a leased car, residual value is significant because it determines the monthly payments you must make on your lease. Furthermore, it can help you calculate the amount you’ll pay when you decide to buy out your lease agreement at the end of your lease term. In addition, that is helpful when preparing a budget for your car payment.

Resale value and residual value are two different things. Many factors play into determining a car’s resale value, including depreciation over time, damage over time, mileage during its lifetime, and market conditions at the time.

As to residual value, it is predetermined by a formula used widely within the auto industry and is based on a commonly used method.

Factors That Impact a Car’s Residual Value

The residual value of a car is its estimated value when it has been in use for some time. Knowing the residual value is essential to determining the price if you plan on selling your car or buying a used car. Apart from just the car’s model, many different factors contribute to determining a car’s residual value.

Several factors help you check the resale value of the car, including:

Manufactured year

The year a car was manufactured is critical in determining its residual value. Modern cars are generally more expensive than cars from the past, most likely due to the higher cost of repairs for older models.


Despite its appearance, the color of a car plays a significant role in determining its resale value. A car with a neutral color, such as black, white, or silver, is more likely to resell for more money than one with a brighter or more unusual color.

Car condition

Good-looking cars typically have higher residual values than those in poor condition. It also includes the body of the car and its interior maintenance, as well as the condition of the parts under the hood.


Another factor affecting residual value is brand reputation. The residual value of a car made by well-known and highly reputed car manufacturers is higher. Many consumers purchasing used cars prefer certain brands because they do not require as many repairs as other models.


Regularly serviced cars tend to have fewer problems, and in turn, this has a direct effect on the price of the car. 

If your car has yet to be serviced regularly, you will also have many other problems that may plague your vehicle and its mechanical problems.

What determines a car’s residual value?

As much as residual values can affect your car payments genuinely, they are still quite just guesses and are not absolute numbers.

This estimate is highly calculated, incorporating expected depreciation, past and current demand, mileage effects, and trade price projections.

Banks finance leases, not car dealers.

Several banks base their calculations on the Residual Percentage Guide issued annually by the Automotive Lease Guide (ALG).

Is it possible to negotiate the residual value of a car?

The leasing company also determines the residual value of the car. Dealers don’t set it, and it can’t be negotiated. As a result, residual rates may differ between leasing companies.

Still, you can salvage the deal if you don’t like the residual rate. You should take the time to look around and find another leasing company that will suit your needs. You may find a residual rate that is more beneficial, but it is unlikely to be by much.

What is the effect of residual value on different types of leases?

A lease’s residual value is determined by its type.

Closed-end leases: As for mileage coverage, you’ll only have to pay if the car’s value after the lease is less than its residual value.

Open-ended leases: A car with a residual value less than its purchase price should not be expected to be returned at the end of an open-ended leasing contract. If the car has a residual value greater than its fair market value, you may be required to pay the difference.

Considering leasing a car requires understanding all of the lease details, terms, and your check resale value of car. In addition to your contract’s residual value, you should know other fees. It should always be considered when choosing the right lease plan. 

Do you need funds to get the car you have had your eye on for a long time but couldn’t manage? If so, Carsfast is here to assist. We are a renowned car loan lending company giving you the flexibility to manage the premium. 

We are not only best by name. We are committed to client needs and satisfaction. Hence we have kept our interest so minimal that anyone can afford to pay it off. Count on us, and we will provide you with every assistance possible.


How do I find the residual value of my car?

On your lease agreement, you’ve got the initial cost, and the residual value is what you get when you subtract depreciation from the original cost.

What is a 40% residual?

Remainder payments are lump sum payments paid to the lender when the term ends. Suppose a $30,000 loan has a 40% residual payment, meaning $12,000 would be due at the end.

Is the residual value of a car negotiable?

The user can negotiate for a higher residual value in cases where they don’t want to purchase the vehicle, which will reduce their monthly payments.

What is the residual value after 3 years?

The residual value of a car after three years is its worth after leasing it for three years. Banks or lending companies determine residual values for leases using previous models and predictions of the future.

What if the car value is higher than the residual value?

Having a high residual value is better than having a low residual value, but a low residual value is not as good. An affordable lease starts with a high-return vehicle.

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