All good things have to come to an end, and a car lease is no exception. Car leases are normally either two or three years long and can represent a cheaper way of getting a brand-new car parked outside your home every couple of years. We’ve created this guide to what happens when it’s time to give your car back.
Check out our other leasing guides for more information:
- Should you buy or lease your car?
- Advantages and disadvantages of leasing
- What are the extra costs of car leasing?
- Leasing jargon buster
- Should you lease a car through a dealer or a broker?
- Does leasing a car affect your credit score?
- Why is business leasing cheaper than personal?
What happens at the end of a car lease?
It’ll vary slightly with different lease companies, but you’ll likely be contacted a few months before your lease is due to end. The leasing company will ask if you want to take out another lease on a new car and may arrange when they’ll collect the car from you. That said, some leasing companies will expect you to know when your lease is due for renewal and for you to arrange when the car will be picked up.
A few days before your car is collected, a vehicle inspector will be sent out to check over the car and to see if the wear and tear is fair for the age and mileage for the vehicle, according to the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) guide.
What happens when a lease car is collected?
To have the lease car collected, you’ll need the car’s registration number, your address and telephone numbers, a preferred collection date and any other information your leasing company ask for.
It’s possible that the collection of your old lease car and delivery of your new one can take place on the same day – but this depends on how far in advance you’ve arranged your next lease.
What happens if I have damaged my lease car?
You should get the car repaired before you hand the car back because otherwise you’ll be charged. The leasing company will get the car fixed but with scant regard for the cost because you’ll be footing the bill. If you get it repaired before it goes back, you’ll get to choose the garage – so long as it falls within the leasing companies approved garage list. You should always call and check the garage with the leasing company first.
Damage includes everything from accident damage, dents and scratches, to missing keys, documents or service history, and even minor-looking windscreen chips and wheel damage from scraping against kerbs.
Can I contest damage charges?
If you believe that the damage you’ve been charged for comes under fair wear and tear or was not present when the car was collected, you can contact the BVRLA and they’ll make the final decision.
It’s a good idea to take photos of the car before it’s collected, so you’ll be able to dispute any possible damage claims.
What’s excess mileage?
Your lease deal will have a mileage limit – normally 8,000 or 10,000 miles per year – and you’ll face a potentially hefty charge if you exceed it. This varies with different manufacturers and leasing companies from a few pence per mile up to £1 per mile over the limit.
Can I extend my lease?
Some leasing companies will let you extend the lease, while some may charge you or not allow it. Don’t assume you’ll be able to extend it – contact the leasing company for more information. Some also might only let you extend the lease for a set period of time.
If you’re not able to extend the lease, another option is to take out a short-term rental. The payments might be slightly higher, as will insurance, but it offers a bit of extra flexibility.
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