Vehicle leasing has become a widely popular alternative to owning a car. A lease allows you to drive a new vehicle practically all of the time, since you return the car at the end of the lease agreement and, if you so choose, lease another straight away.
For all the benefits of leasing, though, you need to be aware of the requirement to return the vehicle in good condition and an acceptable state of repair. Failure to do that is likely to leave you with some unexpected and unwelcome charges by the lease company.
The end of lease vehicle inspections you can instruct us to carry out here at Stratton Smart may alert you to any damage or what could be perceived to be unreasonable wear and tear so that you may carry out any necessary remedial work before handing back the vehicle – saving yourself the cost of additional lease company charges into the bargain.
What happens when you hand back a lease car?
You are likely to find that the lease company carries out a rigorous inspection and assessment when you return a vehicle, so as well as our own end of lease vehicle inspection, and reference to the details of the agreement you signed with the company, you might also want to check out that:
- you have had the vehicle serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s schedule, and made sure that the service record is stamped each time before being returned to you with the vehicle – if any services have been missed the lease company is still likely to charge you for them and even add a further penalty for the reduction in market value if the vehicle does not have a complete service log;
- your lease agreement invariably has a mileage limit – and you will be charged a penalty if it is exceeded – so think about reducing your daily mileage as you near the end of the lease, in order to come within the mileage restrictions;
- if the vehicle needs an MOT test, make sure that you get it done – and that it passes – before handing in the certificate when you return the vehicle;
- make sure that all the documentation that you received when accepting the vehicle are there when you hand it back – in addition to the MOT certificate, this might include the V5 or log book, the service record and log, the user manual and any tax disc.
You also need to check that you are able to return all the keys that came with the vehicle – including any locking wheel nut – and that any immobilisers and remote locking devices are in working order.
Check that all the equipment supplied with the vehicle, including any spare wheel, jack and tool kit, emergency warning triangle, on-board computer, satellite navigation (including its data disc), in-car entertainment system and other accessories are all present and in good working order.
Remove any badges, labels or advertising unless otherwise agreed in advance with the lease company. If the removal of these items leaves marks on the paintwork or is the cause of any discoloration, this needs to be made good.
Finally, check that the tyres are within the legal tread limit and properly inflated and that all lights and indicators work.
At Stratton Smart, our end of vehicle lease inspections will ensure that when you hand back the car, you typically will not face penalties from the lease company.