If you are in the market for a new set of wheels, you’re probably wondering if you should lease or buy. Though 80 percent of Americans financed their cars at a dealership in 2016, leases hit an all-time high of 4.3 million that same year, according to the “Lease Market Report” from edmunds.com.   What’s right for you? There are pros and cons to leasing and buying a car, but deciding what works best for you depends on your needs and more importantly, your finances. First, consider your budget, calculating how much car you can afford, including a down payment and monthly costs. Next, factor in your primary use for the car, be it commuting, weekend cruising, or both. Finally, start the comparison process.   A closer look at leasing. More car for “less”? Here are four things to keep in mind about leasing: Cost: The average new car loan came in at more than $30,000, according to a 2017 auto market finance study from Experian. Leases typically have lower upfront costs, as well as lower monthly payments, making it more attractive to some buyers. On the flip side, when you lease, you have a permanent car payment and when the lease ends, will have nothing to show for it—no car to drive, trade in, or sell. Choice and maintenance: With leasing, you can drive a new or almost-new car without a long-term commitment. In addition, repairs will likely be rare or non-existent and maintenance will be mostly oil changes, tires, and brakes. Finally, if you want to keep up with the technology, leasing could be a good option since you can upgrade when the lease ends. Mileage: Even the most affordable leasing deals can severely limit how much you can drive. The typical mileage limit is 12,000 per year, though some lenders will let you go up to 100,000 miles, says Edmunds. However, if you pick a lower-mileage lease and go over your limit, you’ll pay a surcharge for additional miles, around 10 cents to 25 cents per mile. With nearly 25 percent of U.S. workers commuting more than 42 miles per day, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, extra mileage costs can quickly add up, making leasing far less of a bargain. Depreciation: While you’ll pay less sales tax with a purchase, leases are more expensive over time, partly because you’re always making a car payment. Another cost factor is depreciation. Once you drive a new car off the dealer lot, its status goes to “used” instantly, and so does its value. Translation: you pay for that decrease with each new lease. While new-car buyers also take the initial depreciation hit, driving the car for more years lessens the total cost. The...