When you lease a car, it is ultimately your responsibility to take care of the vehicle. The car may not be yours to keep, but it still needs to be in good condition when it is time to return it..
Keeping your car in pristine condition is much easier said than done. Accidents happen, and small dents and dings are common. Even if they are not your fault, if you have a dent in your car, you will need to figure out how to handle it.
You can choose to leave the dent, and face the music of having to pay any penalties when you return the lease. Obviously these fees can vary from dealer to dealer, and the risk is essentially on you for whatever they deem the cost of repair to be (hint: more than it rightfully should). Or, you could choose to repair the damage by taking your car to a dent repair specialist or body shop. Obviously, we recommend using an affordable service like paintless dent repair before you return the car.
In this article, we will go through what kind of damage will cause lease repair charges, how to avoid damage charges, and the best way to take care of dents in your vehicle.
The Lease Inspection
The lease return process usually starts around 90 days before the end of the lease contract. The leasing company will contact you to notify you that your lease contract is almost complete. The company will then contact you to set up a date for a vehicle inspection.
During the inspection, the lease company (or an independent party) will inspect the car to assess its condition. Each lease contract allows for what is called a fair amount of wear and tear. Any wear and tear beyond that is considered excess and subject to fees.
During the inspection, the manufacturers will look for the following damage:
- Excessive wear to the tires
- Cracks, and stars in the windshield and other windows
- Dents, dings, and scratches on the exterior and bumpers
- Curbed wheels
- Stains and rips on the upholstery that can’t be repaired with normal refurbishing
What Kind Of Wear And Tear Is Acceptable?
Normal wear and tear is an inevitable part of driving any car. But, how much wear and tear is normal?
Most lease cars follow some form of an industry-standard for wear and tear. Your vehicle provider should give you a guide at the outset of your lease contract.
It is good practice to look back at the guide over the course of your lease to make sure that the car is still free of any damage not in line with the guide.
We also recommend that you look at your car periodically. Look at it as if you were considering purchasing it. Are there any dents that you pick up on? If there are, would they impact your decision to buy the car? If so, then you should have them fixed.
Let’s go through the common standards for fair wear and tear:
- Scratches smaller than 25mm (except where bare metal is showing)
- Light staining of the driver’s seat
- Dents smaller than a quarter and without paint damage
Wear and tear that is not permissible:
- Wheel damage
- Chipped windshield
- Scratches bigger than 25mm
- Abrasions bigger than 25mm
- Unrepaired collision damage
- Dents larger than a quarter or with paint damage
How To Avoid Damage Charges On Your Leased Car?
Making sure your car doesn’t suffer any damage at all is partially out of your control. However, there are practical steps to handling any issues as they arise to avoid expensive lease repair costs. Here are some tips to avoid being charged at the end of your lease:
- Inspect your car repeatedly: If you regularly look over your car you will be far more likely find any damage that might have gone unnoticed. Aim to do this every few months and promptly fix any damage you find.
- Read over your wear and tear guide: By looking over your guide every few months, you will be well aware of what damages need to be addressed. Fixing issues early on will save you money down the road.
- Have your car regularly serviced: This will be part of your lease contract, so you should be doing this anyway. Getting your car serviced on time will go a long way in mitigating any damage before it becomes a bigger problem.
What To Do If Your Lease Car Has Dents
The important thing to remember is that most dents won’t be considered normal wear and tear. As a general rule, dents smaller than a quarter without any paint damage are acceptable. Anything else and the leasing company will charge you for the cost of the repair.
It is in your best interest to not take any chances when it comes to dents on your lease car. Most dents can be fixed quickly and for a low cost, especially when the paint is not damaged. In this situation opting for paintless dent removal before you return your leased car is your best option.
Paintless dent repair will end up costing you less if you choose a professional of your own. The leasing company or dealership will not take price into consideration when making any repairs so they will likely charge far more than you would end up paying to have the dents repaired by your choice of PDR specialist.
As Lafayette, Indiana’s premier dent removal specialist, JM Dent Repair makes sure you avoid expensive “excessive wear and tear charges.” Our service is fast and often 80% lower than what you’ll find at a body shop. We specialize in getting out even the toughest crease dents, door dings, and even hail damage with precision and speed. Get a quote today and restore your leased car to its pre-contract condition!