Thinking of leasing your car? Avoid these common mistakes

With the rising costs of owning a car, more and more drivers are finding it cheaper and more convenient to lease instead…

According to a survey made by Leasecar.uk , they’ve discovered the most common mistakes made by drivers who lease their cars cost them thousands per year.  With the costs of owning a car rising – financing, maintaining and repairing a car has an average monthly cost of £255.34, according to recent figures – more and more drivers are finding it cheaper and more convenient to lease instead.

But by failing to understand their obligations when they return their vehicle, many drivers who lease their car undermine these savings by paying substantial fines.

To help drivers save money by avoiding these unexpected leasing costs, Leasecar.uk has compiled a list of the most common mistakes drivers who lease their cars make.

  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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Tim Alcock, Head of Online Marketing at Leasecar.uk, insists that most of these mistakes are easily avoided.

“When you lease a car, there are certain requirements your vehicle has to meet when you get to the end of your lease. If the car is damaged, poorly maintained or dirty, your leaser will charge you a fee, and this will almost always be more expensive than if you simply fixed the problem yourself.”

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“The requirements for returning your car will be detailed in your contract. Make sure you familiarise yourself with these requirements, and take note of when your lease ends. Give yourself plenty of time to make repairs and get your vehicle cleaned so you don’t pay any more than you have to.

“At LeaseCar, we contact our customers before they return their vehicles to make sure they don’t run into any surprising costs, but not all car leasing companies do that.”