As your leasing contract comes to a close, it’s a good idea to carefully inspect your vehicle for evidence of wear and tear, as repairs that aren’t covered by the fair wear and tear policy can be corrected by you for often a lower cost than if the funder were to repair them post handover.

Here at Lease Car, we contact our customers before the car goes back to ensure there are no hidden surprises or fees, of course if you are careful they can be avoided altogether, ensuring you leave a contract happy and with those spare pounds still in your pocket.

We’ve put together a quick list of the common mistakes leasers make when it comes to handing their motor back at the end of their contract. Avoid these and ensure you aren’t presented with a ‘damage recharge’, aka an invoice to pay:

1. Underestimating mileage

Mileage is tricky. Sometimes you need to make more trips than anticipated, resulting in those numbers ticking over far more quickly than you’d like. When you take out a lease deal ensure the mileage you estimate is fairly accurate.

Take a look at your most recent MOT and the one before that and if nothing has changed since then (i.e. you haven’t changed your commute to work or moved away) then this should be a fairly accurate portrayal of your annual mileage. If your mileage changes significantly in the middle of a lease contract, contact the company and amend the agreement to reflect this to ensure you are aware of the potential cost beforehand, rather than having a surprise at the end of your contract.

2. Ignoring minor scuffs and scrapes

We understand that scuffs and scrapes happen when you’re out and about in your lease car, there is a line between what is acceptable and unacceptable. If you lease a car through us, for example, we are happy to accept vehicles with scratches of less than 25mm in length and dents up to 10mm if the paintwork is not damaged. However, it is important you read up on what your leaser will accept before handing the car back and fixing anything that doesn’t meet their requirements.

3. Not having repairs fixed professionally

You could walk into Halfords, pick out a car paint colour similar to the car you’re leasing and fill in the scratches with this, but it is never going to look as good as a repair completed by a reputable garage. Ensure you have any repairs professionally carried out, or you could be paying double the amount to have them fixed.

4. Not having the car cleaned professionally

It’s important that the car is returned clean, with no soiling to the interior and no bad odours inside. A professional valet should get your car looking as good as new and is recommended before handing your vehicle back.

5. Not leaving enough time to check the car over

It’s a good idea to check your vehicle over 10-12 weeks before handing it back to your lease company. This ensures you have time to get any necessary repairs done.

6. Haven’t ensured the vehicle is regularly serviced

It’s important you have your lease vehicle serviced annually by the dealer and that your service book is stamped correctly. Keeping your vehicle roadworthy and in top condition will minimise the effect of depreciation and ensure you leave the leasers fee free.

7. Not removing decals

Perhaps you’ve used your lease vehicle to promote your business, using a decal or a car magnet sign? That’s no problem! However, these must be fully removed and you should ensure there is no damage to the paintwork underneath.

8. Leaving chips in the windscreen

Chips are a common issue when we drive at high speeds, on roads being resurfaced and even motorways, but a small chip can shatter a windscreen if left too long. So it is important that you not only get this fixed to avoid a fee but to ensure the safety of the person behind the wheel of the car.

9. Returning the car with low fluid levels

You should regularly check under the bonnet, especially before long journeys, to ensure your fluids are at the right level and it’s important these are topped up before returning your lease vehicle. Check the oil, window washer fluid, brake fluid and coolant to ensure they are correct.

10. Not checking the BVRLA standard

All leasing companies should adhere to the BVRLA standard when inspecting cars returned by customers. That’s why it’s a good idea to check this yourself and compare your vehicle to what the guide says is acceptable. Request a copy through your lease company and feel confident that you have used the correct guidelines while checking over your lease car.