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How Do I Maintain My Leased Van?

'Wear and Tear' can cause confusion and a number of issues when it comes to returning a leased van. There are many different leasing companies across Britain who have different guidelines regarding appropriate van damage when the vehicle is returned to the lease company.

Lease Van, the UK's favourite van leasing company, has put together this guide to van maintenance. So, no matter if you're looking for Ford Transit leasing, or Citroen Berlingo contract hire, you'll know exactly what to expect and avoid being caught out by the small print or failure to meet prearranged wear and tear guidelines, while still getting a great leasing deal.

Our van leasing contracts will contain specific rules outlining acceptable monthly mileage and your van maintenance responsibilities and costs. These parameters are negotiated before any contracts are signed, so make sure that you know exactly how much you will use your van, and how much maintenance might cost.

Three rules to van maintenance

The van should be safe and roadworthy

The van should function to a high standard and pass its MOT on return. It should have one after the first three years of use - make sure you look after the appropriate documentation, spare keys and any important equipment.

The van will most likely be sold or leased again after you hand it back, and those three things need to be in order before this can be done.

The van should be serviced to manufacturers standards

You can include servicing with the lease with a maintenance package. This is a surefire way to ensure your vehicle is being maintained to the specific company standards. However, this is where a leased van will differ to your own van, because it's essential to get your van serviced according to the manufacturer's service schedule, while also getting the book stamped to keep a record of it.

You might be able to find a cheaper garage, but many funders won't recognise this type of service as it may not have been completed according to the manufacturers standards. Be sure to find this out before entering into a leasing contract. Even if you're a trained mechanic, it's best to take the vehicle to a professional who will adhere to the manufacturer's standards.

Return the van clean

This make a good impression and make the van look new again. If someone borrowed something from you and they returned it to you in a state of disrepair, you would not be pleased. The same applies for van maintenance.

While it is an additional expense, hiring a professional to deep-clean the vehicle will make a good impression. Not only will they not have to clean it themselves, it will also create a favourable impression if any borderline wear and tear issues occur. If possible, try to avoid taking messy food or drink into the vehicle.

Maintenance during van leasing

Here are some excellent tips on how to go about avoiding drastic wear and tear, as well as some advice on getting the most out your vehicle through continual maintenance.

Regularly check under the bonnet

The RAC recommends checking levels in your van weekly, ensuring that the fluids including oil and coolant levels are sufficiently topped up. It's a criminal offence to drive without at least minimal levels of fluids, and low oil levels can ruin a van's engine which is the most expensive and troublesome part to replace.

Take a look in the manual (see below) for advice on checking under the bonnet, so that your van remains under warranty. Also, take a look at transmission fluids and brake fluids; a van should never be losing brake fluid.

Read the manual

This will give you a far better insight into the maintenance of your van, and about that particular brand of vehicle and its inner workings. Every van is different and each has been designed with its own quirks, with plenty of unique and sophisticated pieces of equipment. All vehicles have their own specialised maintenance routines which have been expertly planned by the manufacturer, so try to stick to them when checking over anything yourself.

Try to keep the manual in a safe place so that you're able to return it when you hand back the vehicle, but if you're after more advice and are a van enthusiast, you can even look at buying your own manuals. It's perhaps not the best idea to go ahead with your own maintenance unless you hold mechanical qualifications, but you can look over the smaller problems which might occur over a 3 - 4 year leasing contract.

Specific tips for maintaining your vehicle

The maintenance of a rented van is similar to renting a property, in that it will be passed on to someone else. For instance, if you leased or hired a van and found that the upholstery was damaged you might refuse to accept it, and the same is true when maintaining a van that you'd return to the company.

So we've taken a look at some other guides on the internet and thought about our own issues and what crops up the most when it comes to our own van maintenance. Here are some things that should make sure that you watch out for and replace or get fixed as necessary:

  • Wing Mirrors - should be able to clearly reflect and have no cracks with the paintwork in perfect condition.
  • Wheels - Meeting the minimum legal requirements, with scuff of maximum 25mm lengthwise. Scoring to wheel surface, side walls or uneven tread wear is unacceptable and should be replaced.
  • Bumpers - scuffs and nicks just happen over time, but deep scuffs with dents and cracks are unacceptable as is paintwork damage.
  • Windscreen - a few small scratches should be okay, but if anything can get in the driver's direct line of sight or there are holes and chips you will need have it repaired.
  • Decals - if you have decided to put on decals on your lease van in order to customise it, these will need to be professionally removed with all glue residue removed. Also, you should not remove maker logos such as badges and advertising.
  • Bodywork - some chipping is acceptable as normal wear and tear, generally around 25mm in length with light scratches, in accordance to van age. Some small dents are OK too if the paintwork is not broken. If bare metal is exposed or even worse, rusted, then you will need to seek repair.
  • Interior Upholstery -This should only have slight wear and soiling that would expect with normal use. No stains! Any burns, tears and permanent marks, or damage from fitting equipment will result in a need to replace the upholstering.

    For more information it's worth visiting the BVRLA website - the trade body of the vehicle rental and leasing session. Its wear and tear guide is used as an industry standard by most companies and it gives an idea of what is expected when you return your van.

    Contact us

    Our friendly and helpful employees are all experts in the field of van leasing and will be able to help with any maintenance, lease and wear and tear concerns you might have.

    Contact us via telephone on 0344 745 1818 or through email, post or live chat

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