How to avoid unnecessary lease car damage bills

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There are many misconceptions about leasing a car, one of them being that when it is returned to the leasing company at the end of its contract hire term, the lessee will be ‘hit’ with a large damage bill. Here is our guide on how to avoid unnecessary lease car damage bills.

Of course, the most sensible thing to do is try and get your car back to the required standard before it is returned. In the event that you haven’t, it is important to understand what leasing companies find acceptable, and what they do not.

Finance companies realise that higher mileage vehicles will accrue more wear and tear than, say, an 8k per annum car and will usually make an allowance for this in their terms and conditions. However, it is always worth checking what their policy is if your vehicle will be near to the 150k mark when it is returned, as lenders can differ.

Fair Wear and Tear usually includes:

  • Small dents & scratches
  • General (light) carpet wear
  • General (light) upholstery wear
  • Steering wheel, instrument and gear knob wear

What is NOT Fair Wear & Tear:

  • Accident damage, regardless of who caused it!
  • Failure to maintain your vehicle including missing / incomplete service books
  • Wear and/or tear caused by misuse
  • Damaged carpets due to not using floor mats and/or abuse
  • Damage to paintwork arising from banners / logos etc. – these should be professionally removed before you return your car; make sure the paintwork is not affected

Chargeable items:

  • Keys – including spare car keys
  • Owner’s manual, service book & any other official documentation
  • Valid MOT certificate (where applicable)
  • Any radio code cards and/or any installation CDs / DVDs that may be required
  • Jack, first aid kit, wheel brace, warning triangle etc.
  • Spare wheel and yes, this must be legal
  • Any tyre checking set or equipment that was been supplied with your car

How to avoid unnecessary lease car damage bills

Before you send your lease car back – and this may sound obvious, but you would be very surprised how many people do this – remember to clear it of all personal belongings.

We look at acceptable and unacceptable fair wear and tear in more detail soon but remember that this guide is not exhaustive so do always check first! We nearly forgot – unless you want the next owner knowing your address and visited destinations, remember to clear your Sat Nav!

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