After three or four years of using a leased vehicle, it is foreseeable for the vehicle to show marks of wear and tear. The leasing companies and the lessors are well aware of this fact and expect a reasonable amount of wear and tear comparative to the car’s mileage and age. You will have to pay end of lease charges only if the car, its equipment, or accessories are not well maintained as agreed. So it is advisable that you use, maintain, and look after the car according to the manufacturer’s guiding principles. 

When returning the leased car at the end of the agreement, the car will be analyzed for any damage that falls outside the standard wear-and-tear range. Every leasing company has its wear-and-tear guide, so it is always better to check the rules with your leasing company first.

Types of Leases

The amount of wear and tear charges you have to pay depends on the type of lease you have selected. In an open-end lease, you have to pay the difference between the residual value of the vehicle and its realized value when you turn in the vehicle. The residual value is the purchase price of the vehicle after the lease term. In case the realized value is higher than the residual value of the vehicle, you may get a refund if you have met the terms of mileage and the standard wear and tear.

While in a closed-ended lease, you have to pay the actual amount of any damage that is higher than the normal wear and tear at the time of turn-in. As expected, closed-ended leases are more common than the open-ended leases. 

Fair Wear and Tear

Most of the lease contracts allow you to incur standard wear and tear without having to pay any extra charges. All such damages include the replacement of different items, such as light bulbs, tires, and brakes. As expected, normal usage causes these deteriorations to a car. Most of the time, the leasing company mentions all such terms in the lease contract as part of the regular maintenance. “Fair wear and tear” are all such damages which are minor and have a small diameter of damage (maybe less than half-inch).

The typical lease repairs are:

  • Scratches or stains on seats
  • Brake repair
  • Scratched paintwork
  • Bumper scuff
  • Dents or chips on the bodywork
  • Light bulb replacement
  • Burns or tears to the upholstery
  • Damage to the tires and trims

Excess Wear and Tear

If you have caused serious damage to the vehicle, you will have to pay for it. The leasing company will hold you liable for paying the amount of repair. But it will be mentioned in your lease contract what the company considers as the excess wear and tear. Usually, excess wear and tear include serious damages like scratches, marks, or body damage more than two inches in diameter. Cracks or stains which are more than half-inch are considered as excess wear and tear.

  • Bumper damage
  • Body damage
  • Broken windshields and windows
  • Any stains or tears that are over half of an inch

Sure-Fire Ways to Save on Charges

Use prior information

If you are still looking for a car to lease, collect as much information as possible. You must include all this information in your lease contract drafting all the rules. This way, you will have an advance idea about damages that may cost you additional charges at the end of the lease contract. When you lease the vehicle, prefer to buy wear and tear insurance to save some money.

Get ready before time

Read your contract details at least eight weeks before the end of the lease term. Identify the minor details about wear are tear rules.

Clean your car properly

To see any damage clearly, you can give a good clean to your car before conducting the assessment. You will have to pay extra charges for returning a car with excessive dirt or stains. So you will have to clean it anyway.

Walk around the car

You will have to walk around the vehicle to closely monitor the panels, roof, bonnet, and doors for scratches. Check the tires and trims for damage.

Assess in good weather

When checking your leased car, make sure that the weather is fine enough. You must assess the car in good daylight when the car is completely dry. On the other hand, a car with raindrops will make it difficult for you to identify any dents or imperfections.

Be honest in your evaluation

Try to adopt an objective approach to identify any opportunity to put right what may cost you hundreds of dollars at the end of the lease contract. Make a proper checklist for accurate evaluation. In case of any query, contact your leasing company to get further information.

  • Check one panel at a time
  • Check the sides of the car from a crouching position
  • Inspect glass areas properly
  • Check wheels, trims, and tires
  • Analyze the interior of the leased car
  • Check all dashboard and other controls
  • Rearrange all the relevant documentation

Fix damage

Any damage on your leased car that exceeds fair wear and tear should be fixed properly. You can get help from a professional to rectify these damages before the end of the lease term.     

Final Words

Before returning the car to the lessor, ask yourself:

  • Will the damage on the vehicle affect its resale value?
  • Is the damage caused by negligence?
  • Are the wear and tear penalties excessive as compared to the age and mileage of the leased car?

In short, the ultimate way to avoid penalty charges at the end of the lease contract is to take the best care of your car as you have to return it in good condition. Try to maintain your leased car from the start according to the wear and tear guidelines as regularly maintaining the vehicle can save you from unnecessary charges.