Leasing Wear and Tear Guide

Leasing Wear and Tear Guide

When you lease a vehicle one of the terms and conditions you are required to agree to, is to return the lease car with fair wear and tear. Not doing so could result in you having to pay charges to cover the additional repair costs the leasing company will face to put the car back into fair condition. But what exactly is fair wear and tear? In this fair wear and tear guide, we take a look at what many leasing companies consider fair wear and tear, so you know exactly where you stand.

What is fair wear and tear?

So first things first, what is fair wear and tear? Fair wear and tear is the natural deterioration that occurs as a result of normal day-to-day use of the car. When assessing fair wear and tear the age and mileage of the car are taken into account. Damage to the car is not considered fair wear and tear, regardless of whether it was accidental or caused through negligence or poor behaviour.

car leasing wear and tear guidelines

Lease car fair wear and tear guidelines

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) provide guidelines for leasing companies to follow regarding what constitutes as fair wear and tear. As part of the BVRLA guidelines, the finance company responsible for your lease will issue you with a copy of their specific fair wear and tear guidelines.

These guidelines set out what is acceptable for different areas of the vehicle with specific guidance on;

  • General appearance and safety of the road
  • Documents and keys
  • Paintwork, body, bumpers and trims
  • Windows, glass, door mirrors and lamps
  • Tyres and wheels
  • Mechanical condition
  • Vehicle interior
  • Equipment and controls
  • How to stay within the fair wear and tear guidelines?

    It is easy to make sure that you stay within the fair wear and tear guidelines by following the steps below;

  • maintain the car per the vehicle manufacturer’s guidelines keeping up to date with the car’s service schedule and any scheduled maintenance
  • use and top-up liquid levels like fuel, fuel additives, lubricants and more, in-line with the manufacturer’s guidelines
  • report any suspected manufacturer faults as soon as possible to help get the issue resolved as soon as possible
  • check with the lease company before making changes to the car
  • returning your lease car

    Before you return your lease car

    It is a good idea to assess the condition of your lease vehicle around ten to twelve weeks before returning it. This gives you time to fix any issues and make sure the car is in the best possible condition when you return it.

    Before you assess the car, you should wash and dry it to give you the best possible chance of spotting any scratches and scuffs to the paintwork. You should also try and assess the car in natural daylight as this will give you the best view of any damage.

    Walk around the vehicle and examine each panel closely, not forgetting the roof. Kneeling or crouching is a great idea as it ensures the main body of your car is in your eye line.

    You should check:

  • lamps, lenses, windows and mirrors for any cracks
  • tyres, wheels, wheel rims and hubs for damage or signs of excessive wear
  • that controls and audio equipment are working correctly
  • upholstery for tears, burns, stains, excessive wear and odour
  • you have all of the car’s documentation
  • If you find issues in any of the areas you should arrange repairs and replace missing equipment or accessories. It is important to make sure any work is carried out to a professional standard, and if you have any concerns regarding the work, you should contact the lease company first and seek their guidance.

    If you have had a private plate on the car, you should get it switched back over to the original plate at this time.

    Returning a lease car

    On the day you are due to return the lease vehicle, you should make sure all necessary documentation is in the car ready to be passed back to the lease company. You should also remove all personal belongings and clear any personal data from the vehicle’s on-board system by returning it to the factory re-set.

    It is also good practice to return the car with at least 50 miles worth of fuel in the tank.

    lease car wear and tear charges

    Lease car wear and tear charges

    If the wear and tear exceeds what is deemed fair, then you may face penalty charges. These penalty charges compensate the leasing company for any damage they will have to put right. Penalty charges are not added indiscriminately as the leasing company are required to work under strict guidelines from the BVRLA regarding any additional charges.

    When you return a lease car, a qualified inspector will complete a full visual inspection to assess the condition of the car. They will make a note of excessive damage on a condition report and will record the cost of repairing it. Bear in mind, that charges will also be applied if there is no evidence the car has been serviced and maintained according to the manufacturer guidelines. Once the inspection has been completed, the inspector will ask you to check the report and sign to say you agree with their assessment.

    If there is something on the condition report you disagree with, you need to note the details of disagreements on the document provided. The cost will not usually be reduced at this point even if you do not agree with the charges. Instead, it will prompt a review process by the finance provider and further investigations will ensue.

    If your current leasing contract is coming to an end, have a look at our latest car leasing special offers to find a new lease deal.