BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear Car Leasing

Returning your leased vehicle. Consumer Advice -
At the end of the contract your vehicle will be returned to the leasing company and assessed to determine whether the vehicle meets the agreed returned condition.

It’s amazing how quickly the end of the lease contract approaches, particularly when the contract was for less than 24 months. Many of our customers are new to leasing, so whether or not you intend to renew your contract through us, through another provider or purchase a new/used vehicle via an alternative funding plan, we’re still on hand if you have any questions or need our support.

Preparing to Hand the Vehicle back to the Leasing Company

It’s rare that you’ll be contacted by the leasing company themselves, usually you’ll receive contact from an agent acting on behalf of the leasing company such as BCA or Manheim around 3 weeks before the contract termination date. More often than not the vehicles are sent to auction at the end of the contract, however if you’ve not had contact up to 2 weeks before the end of the lease, contact the finance company to prompt the inspection visit.
At the end of the lease, when the vehicle is to be collected, a representative from the leasing company must check and agree on the vehicle condition. All readily apparent damage to the vehicle will be noted on the vehicle collection sheet or hand-held device. You as the consumer need to ensure you are happy with the inspection and ask for clarity where necessary.

It’s important to understand your commitments and promises during the lease period, so it may be worthwhile re-reading your lease contract to understand all of your obligations. One main point to remember is that many refer to “Manufacturer guidelines” regarding the servicing regime of the vehicle. As the vehicle belongs to the finance company, the residual values are usually based on main dealer service history so any routine service due under the Manufacturers recommendations would need to be carried out via a franchised dealer, make sure that you retain the receipt and have the service book stamped as this will be required during the inspection process.

We recommend that you begin to prepare around 10-12 weeks before the anticipated contract end date, by giving the vehicle a swift appraisal yourself. If this raises any concern or highlights a potential risk of a chargeback this gives you plenty of time to have it rectified with a local mobile repairer, not only will this give you piece of mind before the inspection but it could save you £££’s. It’s important that any work undertaken is sourced through a professional repairer who can provide a transferrable warranty for the work.

The Appraisal

  • Look at the vehicle as if you were buying it yourself, appraise it objectively, ask a friend or work colleague to help.
  • 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.
  • There should be a full set of keys including the master key, spares and lock and wheel nut keys

Don’t worry, the funders know that the vehicle is no longer brand new so they do allow elements of wear and tear. All of the leasing companies along with ourselves are BVRLA members, this means that we all work within their remit of the “fair wear and tear policy” with the vehicle at the end of the lease period.

Vehicle Exterior

  • Small areas of shipping including the door edge chipping are acceptable. If the areas of chipping require the entire panel, bumper or trim to be repaired or repainted, then this is not acceptable.
  • Dents up to 10mm in diameter are acceptable provided that there are no more than 2 per panel and the paint surface is not broken. Dents on the roof or swage line on any panels are not acceptable.
  • Scratches and abrasions up to 25mm are acceptable, relevant to the vehicles age and mileage and provided the primer or bare metal is not showing.
  • Wheel Arch - Scuffs and scratches up to 25mm are acceptable provided that the moulding or trim is not broken, cracked or deformed.
  • Badges, labels, emblems, logos and advertising livery applied by the customer to the bodywork or glass of the vehicle should be removed before returning the vehicle. Removing badges, logos, emblems and livery must be done professionally with the vehicle returned to its original colour and condition unless otherwise agreed in writing by the customer with the vehicle leasing company. Any damage caused by fitting or removing badges, emblems, labels, logos or advertising livery including faded paintwork is not acceptable.
  • Convertible roofs must be fully operative and free from any rips or tears, the rear window must not be cracked or creased. Accessories originally supplied (ie. Wind deflector or tonneau cover) must be present and in good condition.
  • Tow bars must only be fitted with prior approval from the leasing company; if fitted the tow bar must be in good rust free condition with electrical connections that work properly. A ball cover must be in place.
  • Windows/Windscreens – Light scratching is acceptable provided that it does not interfere with the driver’s line of sight and any heating elements still work properly. Chips cracks or holes are not acceptable. Repaired chips within the driver’s line of sight are not acceptable. Repaired chips outside the driver’s line of sight are acceptable provided they are repaired to a professional standard and the work is warrantied.
  • Door Mirrors – Missing, cracked or damaged door mirrors are not acceptable. If adjustable and or heated door mirrors they must work correctly.
  • Lamps/Lenses – All lamps must work. Minor scuff marks or scratches up to 25mm are acceptable. Holes or cracks in the glass or plastic covers of lamp units are not acceptable.
  • All tyres including any spare must meet minimum UK legal requirements and comply with the vehicles manufacturer’s recommendations of tyre type, size, class and speed rating for the vehicle. There must be no damage to the sidewalls or tread. Evidence of uneven wear due to under or over inflation is not acceptable.
  • Wheels/Wheel trims – Dents and holes on wheel rims and wheel trims are not acceptable. Scuffs totalling up to 50mm on the total circumference of the wheel trim and on alloy wheels are acceptable. Any damage to the wheel spokes and the hub of the wheel are not acceptable. The spare wheel (including space saver) jack and other tools must be intact, stowed properly and in good working order. The emergency tyre inflation kit, if supplied when new, should be in full working order, serviceable and ready for use.


Issues can arise if the driver has neglected to service the vehicle or failed to action warning messages from the management system. Upon collection the vehicle must be in a safe and roadworthy condition. Therefore the following complaints are not acceptable wear and tear:-

  • Brakes – Grooved brake discs or drums caused by excessive wear or metal to metal contact from worn out
  • Engine – Seized or damaged due running vehicle with insufficient coolant, oil or with broken internal components 
  • Manual transmission – Clutch slipping, noisy clutch or gearbox, excessively worn or ineffective synchromesh
  • Automatic transmission – Noisy gearbox or torque converter, abrupt gear changes, loose gear linkage
  • Any damage to the vehicles underside is not acceptable. Catalytic converters not working because of obvious abuse or damage is not acceptable.

Vehicle Interior

  • The interior upholstery and trim must be clean and odourless with no burns, scratches, tears, dents or staining. Carpet should not have holes. All seats originally supplied must be present. Interior fittings such as seat belts, rear view mirrors, courtesy lights, sun visor, door bins etc. must be present, intact and free of damage.
  • Door/boot/luggage – Scratches on tread, sills and seals that reflect normal use are acceptable. Torn or split floor coverings and damaged surrounding trim panels are not acceptable. Accessories such as parcel shelves, load covers, restraining straps and nets must be returned with the vehicle.

Equipment and Controls

  • All original equipment must be in place and be of good working order (this includes Sat Nav discs, SD cars and remote units, headphones, electric vehicle charging leads, Bluetooth and other integrated systems)
  • If any non-standard equipment has been fitted to the vehicle i.e. telephone mounted to dashboard, this should be removed with any holes or damage neatly repaired.
  • Aerials must be left in place or the hole neatly repaired.

How charges are paid

You’ll need to sign a copy of the agent’s collection report, this will list any concern that the inspection has highlighted. Sometimes a charge will appear on this document before you sign it, in other instances where the agent does not carry a hand held device, you’ll receive contact from the funder along with an invoice for the loss in vehicle value due to the damage.

Private Registration Plate

It’s important to contact the funder at least 8-10 weeks in advance of the return date to begin to make arrangements to place your private plate back on retention. There may be a small fee payable to the funder for administrating this request on your behalf. Do not confirm and agree a collection date until the original plates are back on the vehicle. It will be your responsibility to purchase these plates once the funder have confirmed the paperwork has been returned from the DVLA. Don’t forget to update your insurance company with the plate information too.

Always point out any unrepaired wear or damage to the collection agent upon inspection as this prevents problems or issues later.

In the event of a dispute about the condition or damage to the vehicle, customers have the right to pay for an examination of the evidence by an independent qualified engineer, e.g. an engineer who is unrelated to the original inspection and agreed by both parties. The engineer's decision will be binding on both the customer and the BVRLA member. If the engineer finds in the customer's favour, the BVRLA member will refund the reasonable cost of the examination to the customer.

On occasion, disagreements will arise between customers and BVRLA members which cannot be settled directly. Unresolved disputes can be referred to the Association by the customer and/or the member involved, however we’d always recommend that you address your complaint with the leasing company in the first instance.

No-one quite knows this car like you, after all you’ve been the only driver since new, so it’s natural that you may want to keep it. Sometimes this is possible, so if you’d like to purchase the vehicle, contact the leasing company for a cost to buy, you’ll need your registration or agreement number to hand and they’re likely to ask you for the odometer reading too.

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