Body Damage - Dents & Dings
"Should I return a lease car with dents?"
Generally it's best not to. If one dent is all you have, it may fall under the threshold, but otherwise you will be charged for any that are deemed unacceptable wear and tear. The charges tend to be quite reasonable and in line with the market price but you will be charged on a 'for each' basis which can soon add up, and if you have many on one panel you could be charged the panel price.
If having the dents removed before returning the car, its highly likely you'll make you big savings as most dent removal companies do deals if you are having more than one removed.
Fig 9. This dent on the leading edge of a bonnet is over 10mm in diameter and is not acceptable to most lease companies, however it can be removed without the need of a body shop type repair.
As with most of the things covered in this guide, prevention is far better than cure. As most dents occur in car parks it is worth trying to find parking spaces with plenty of room around them, then there is less likely hood of somebody bashing your car with their door while trying to squeeze in. Although it's tempting to take a space near to the entrance, parking a bit further away and walking 75yds will pay dividends.. and be honest, the extra exercise will do you good.
Its often tempting to rest your shopping on your car while you fumble for your key, but keep heavy items away from the car as they can cause scratches as well as dents.
If you keep your car in your garage, then take note that this is another danger area. If your kids are storing their bikes in there, do not expect them to take great care with your car! Spades, rakes, and lawnmowers that are propped up against the wall can fall against your car and cause damage. If you have a lot of stuff in the garage, you should consider if your car might be safer parked in the street!
Never sit on your car or allow anybody else to do so, certainly never sit on the bonnet as this can cause large dents.
Fig 11. Removal of dents with PDR.
As shown in figure 11, dent removal involves using metal levers to get behind the panels and massage the dents out of the panels. This process is often called 'Paintless Dent Removal' because it does not require filling and painting the dents. Because no painting is required in this process, it is important that the paintwork is not broken. If the dent has cause the paintwork to crack, split or flake off, then a car body shop repair will be required.
Most small circular dents (as shown in figure 9) can be removed as long as it is possible to access the dent from behind, plastic trim, panels and liners sometimes require removal to provide access and this is not a problem, but some panels will have a sealed double skin or crash protection bars which means that access is not possible.
Fig 12. This has dent has formed a crease which is often difficult to remove.
Some dents cause a fold or crease in the bodywork (Figure 12 see also Figure 19 on the Scratch page.), and although the paintwork may not be broken, it is not always possible to remove these dents completely, although it is often possible to get a 90% improvement which may help you avoid a end-of-lease recharge.
Some larger and difficult dents are worth attempting to remove with Paintless Dent Remove - they can't always be removed, but if they can't, we don't charge you. Read our money back guarantee for more details. If it can be done, it would make you amassive saving over body shop or recharges. There is more information about dents on the next page.
If you have small or medium dents and dings and you are wondering if it can be removed, and how much it will cost, upload a photo to Ask the Experts and we'll advise you - no obligation.
Our End-of-Lease Services provide quality repair for excessive wear and tear, and is acceptable and appropriate for Contract Hire, Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), Private Lease, Contract Purchase and Lease Purchase. Fleet managers wishing to efficiently prepare off-lease vehicles can contact us or send their drivers directly to our Q&A. Our advisors are trianed by Manheim to work to the BVRLA guidelines.