The reason for this guide...

'Drivers and fleet operators can expect to incur refurbishment charges if a vehicle is returned with unreasonable levels of wear and tear or unrepaired damage.'

According to latest research for FN50, 37% of returned cars incur a fair wear and tear recharge averaging £231.
However figures vary significantly between car leasing companies, ranging from 8% to 78% of cars and from £51 to £600 in charges.

"Almost the only way to tackle this problem is for fleet decision makers to persuade drivers to take better care of their vehicles."

The Lease Car Guide

Helpful advice to help you avoid unexpected costs at
the End-of-Lease


The aim of this guide to car leasing is to help you to look after your leased car and to help you find solutions to problems that every driver comes across, and where possible, to help you avoid getting the problems in the first place.

We will give you useful advice on managing the car to the end of the contract and avoiding unexpected costs.

What are recharges?

A leased or contract hire car will at some point have to be returned to the company which provided it when the contract ends, and you are obliged to return it in a reasonable state of repair. At the end-of-lease it will be inspected by the lease company and any areas of damage deemed to be "excessive wear and tear" incur a recharge for the cost of repairing the damage.

BVRLA Fair Wear & Tear Guide

BVRLA Fair Wear & Tear Guide

Is this fair?

Most inspectors work from the guidelines provided by the BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association) in their Fair Wear & Tear Guide. If you haven't already received one of these guides, we strongly recommend that you purchase one online or pop in to New Again.

"The aim of the BVRLA's Fair Wear & Tear Guide is to provide an industry-wide, accepted standard as to what constitutes fair wear and tear for contract hired and leased vehicles on their return to BVRLA Members at the end of contract."

Where to get your guide...

The guide provides information as to what is and what is not acceptable with full descriptions, photos and even a handy check list for appraising your vehicle before return. Keep this guide in your glove compartment and use it to check your car should you incur any damage, The Fair Wear & Tear Guide guide will tell you if you are likely to incur a recharge, this online guide will tell you what to do about it.

Why me? I didn't get charged last time I returned a lease car!

Last year car leasing companies charged British companies £120,000,000 in penalty recharges*, with some lease companies charging an average of £600 per car for wear and tear *Source: Fleet News Net FN50 - 2004 -

Although many recharges are for excessive mileage, often the recharges are for damage which can be easily rectified at a fraction of the cost. For example, if you have a small scuff on your bumper, you could be charged the full price of a body shop repair which may involve replacing and repainting the whole bumper. However, a Smart Repair technician can repair just the damaged area which obviously costs less money. Even if your car has damage which needs a full body shop repair, it is often cheaper to have the work done yourself than pay the charges for refurbishment which will cover the lease company's administration costs for the repair. But of course the best option is to try to avoid damaging your car in the first place! With just a little effort you can avoid most of the risks and save yourself trouble when you return your lease car.

This visual guide will help you avoid Excessive Wear & Tear and maintain your car in good condition. It will also tell you your responsibilities as the key-holder, the kind of damage which can incur charges and where to get it fixed.



1. Introduction
2. Your responsibilities
3. Maintaining your car
4. D.I.Y. Lease return inspections
5. Documentation, keys, extras, 3rd party equipment
6. Fair wear and Tear - body shop standards
7. Fair wear and Tear - scuffs and scrapes
8. Fair wear and Tear - plastic bumpers
9. Fair wear and Tear - dents and dings
10. Fair wear and Tear - more dents
11. Fair wear and Tear - scratches
12. Fair wear and Tear - stone chips and paint damage
13. Fair wear and Tear - exterior trim and fixtures
14. Fair wear and Tear - wheels and tyres
15. Fair wear and Tear - windscreens and glasswear
16. Fair wear and Tear - interior - upholstery
17. Fair wear and Tear - interior - plastic and leather
18. Resources, downloads and useful contacts

19. "Why Me? This didn't happen last time"
20. Crime prevention advice from Essex Police
21. "Are the lease companies out to get me?"
22. Real Examples Gallery - photos by lease companies
23. Manufacturer's faults
24. We are not judge and jury!
25. About the BVRLA Fair Wear & Tear Standard Guide
26. Who Pays? Passing on the costs
27. Help for fleet managers
28. Normal lease inspection process
29. Buy your leased car
30. What is a threshold?

Lease Return Valet Prices

Ask the Experts


Essential Reading - the highlights

Maintaining your car - advice on how to care and maintain you car and avoid the risks which lead to damage. Includes our Lease car maintenance checklist Download Checklist PDF.

Lease Return Inspections - advice on end-of-lease inspections. Plus our Lease return checklist Download Check Sheet PDF, which you can use to do your own 'dry run' inspection before you return the car.

"Why me? This didn't happen last time" - find out why you may have incurred end-of-lease recharges.
"Are they out to get me?" Is this just about extra profit for the lease companies?

Crime prevention advice from Essex Police - find out how to avoid becoming the victim of car crime with this simple yet effective advice.

The 6 Steps - how to return your car
Learn how to return your car using our lease return services.

De-Fleet Services

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.


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This page was last updated on Tue, 8 May, 2012
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