Car Guides

Can I still buy my leased vehicle if my dealership changed hands?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader wondering if his lease terms will still be honored after the dealership was sold.

The 2016 Kia Sorento.
The 2016 Kia Sorento. Kia Motors America via AP

Q. Three years ago, I leased a Kia Sorento. I really like the vehicle and want to buy it as the lease is coming to a close. The issue is the original dealer sold out to someone new and I’m not getting much of a response concerning my original deal. Does the new dealer have to abide by the original numbers that I was quoted when I leased the vehicle three years ago? 

A. You leased your Sorento through Kia — not the individual dealer. So, there is no reason to think that the original number to buy the vehicle will not stand. You could go to another dealer, but some dealers charge fees to process the paperwork. I have heard of some dealers charging as much as $800. I spoke with our lending department here at AAA and they handle this type of thing on a regular basis. The steps are relatively simple. You would call Kia (end of lease department) and have them send out a lease-end package. You fill out the paperwork, write them a check or take out a loan, and after all the paperwork is processed the Sorento is yours. 

Q. I’ve noticed over the past several weeks a noise that sounds like a whine of a plane or a lawn mower sound when I go over 40 miles per hour. When I go under this speed, the car sounds normal. Do you have any idea of what this noise indicates?  

A. There are many possibilities of items that can make this type of noise. The first thing that comes to mind is a faulty wheel bearing. As the car speeds up, a whirring noise will develop and get louder the faster you drive. Even a badly worn tire can make a whirring noise at higher speeds. At this point it would be best to go for a ride with a technician so you can demonstrate the noise.

Q. With the recent storms, I was thinking about a generator for the home. I thought about a smaller unit — just enough to keep the refrigerator and a few lights running. After looking at generators — and thinking they are too much work to maintain — I was thinking about a voltage inverter. Can I hook up an inverter to my car and power part of my house? 


A. The backbone of a voltage inverter is the battery that it is connected to. I have a 900-watt inverter that is enough to power my refrigerator and TV. Running off my car’s battery, it will keep things going for a couple of hours. Unless inverters are hooked up to a series of batteries, they are not really meant to replace a generator. 

Q. My son took my car out the other night and it came home on a tow truck. I had it towed to a local garage and they told me the engine is knocking and will need replacement. When I asked my son what he did, all he said was he drove through a puddle and then the engine stalled. What happened? 

A. More than likely it was more than just a puddle. Driving through deep water or driving quickly even through just eight inches of water can cause a condition known as hydrostatic lock. An engine is nothing more than a pump. It takes in air and pushes out air through the tailpipe. In this case the engine was trying to compress a liquid rather than air. Since you can’t compress a liquid, the engine became damaged and probably bent or broke a connecting rod. The good news is that this may be covered by your car insurance as a roadbed collision.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE-certified master technician. E-mail your car question to [email protected] Listen to Car Doctor on the radio at 10 a.m. every Saturday on 104.9 FM or online at

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