Vehicle Leasing understanding Fair Wear and Tear Policy
When vehicle leasing for a period of a few years it’s a certainty that your vehicle will not be in exactly the same condition as when it rolled off the production line. It is inevitable that there will be some wear and tear.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) produce guides that provide an industry-wide, accepted standard that defines fair wear and tear when vehicles are returned to a BVRLA member at the end of a lease or finance agreement. The guides also provide advice for best practice in vehicle maintenance and upkeep that will prevent unacceptable wear and tear from occurring.
What is fair wear and tear?
According to BVRLA guidelines fair wear and tear occurs when normal usage causes deterioration to a vehicle. It is not to be confused with damage which occurs as a result of a specific event or series of events such as impact, inappropriate stowing of items, harsh-treatment, negligent acts or omissions.
Customers can arrange to repair any damage that’s outside the agreed returned standard before returning the vehicle, provided the repairs are carried out to a professional standard by a reputable repairer who can provide a full transferable warranty on the work. We therefore recommend that you give your vehicle a thorough appraisal prior to return.
The most common lease repairs are:
- Scratches on paintwork.
- Dents or chips on the bodywork.
- Burns, rips or tears to the upholstery or carpets.
- Damage to the wheels.
Appraising your lease vehicle prior to return
- Carry out the appraisal of the vehicle 10 – 12 weeks before the vehicle is due for return. This will allow you to arrange to have any unacceptable wear and tear rectified.
- Appraise the vehicle as honestly as you can – be objective. Ask a friend or colleague to help you.
- Choose a time and place with good light. This is how the leasing company will examine your vehicle. Appraisals carried out in poor light invariably miss some faults.
- Before appraising the vehicle, make sure that it has been washed and is thoroughly clean but remember to allow time for it to dry. Water on the paintwork can mask faults.
- Walk all the way around the vehicle and examine closely each panel including the roof, bonnet, doors, and body for significant damage. Observe where the light is reflected differently from dents and scratches.
- Crouch or kneel down at the front and rear of the vehicle and look along the bodyline on each side. This will help you see scratches and dents that may otherwise be difficult to spot.
- Inspect lamps, lenses, windows and mirrors for chips, cracks and holes.
- Check the tyres (including spare) for damage. Check that the wear on the tread across each tyre is even. Inspect wheels, wheel trims and wheel spokes for scratches and deterioration.
- Clean and valet the interior.
- Check upholstered areas for odours, tears, burns, stains and wear.
- Inspect all controls, including audio equipment and accessories – they should be present and fully functional
Regular maintenance and keeping your car in top condition can help reduce the risk of damage to your vehicle and avoid unnecessary end of contract charges.
- Tyres – You should frequently check that your tyres are the correct pressure and tread depth should also be measured. If any of the four tyres fall short of the legal limit, which is 1.6mm, they should be replaced immediately. Also take a closer look at each of the tyres to make sure there aren’t any cracks, bulges or excessive wear.
- Oil – Always check there is enough engine oil – you can usually use the dipstick to measure how much is left.
- Brakes – Test your brakes before leaving for a particularly long journey to check for wear.
- Coolant – Make sure the engine coolant is sufficiently topped-up to the marked level.
Our general advice is to look after your lease or rental vehicle as if you own it. Get services done when they’re due, replace worn out tyres, get any faults fixed under the warranty. If your car is damaged, then to minimise the cost of repairs you could get it fixed before it goes back.
For further guidance on fair wear and tear or to discuss any other aspect of vehicle leasing please get in touch.