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Wheels and Tyres

Frequently asked question:

"Who pays for tyres and what is fair wear?"

Typically, you will have to pay for replacement tyres unless you had a tyre deal as part of your contract.
'Fair Wear' would be wear on a tyre so long as it remains road legal (see below). Side wall damage may be legal but may not be acceptable to the lease company.

"What is normal wear for alloy wheels?"

In the real world, many people do scuff their wheels, many people find the curb by bumping into it, so you could consider damage to rims as pretty normal. However, 'normal' is NOT the same as 'fair' wear and tear! You are expected to keep your alloy wheels in good condition and only a little scuffing is allowed -- the Fair Wear & Tear guide does define how much, but individual contracts do vary, so consult your lease company as they may allow you a little more than described in the guide.

Fig 28. Plastic wheel trims with this level of damage must be replaced.

Advice - Wheel Trims

Badly scuffed or broken wheel trims (as shown in figure 28) are clearly not acceptable, and need to be replaced. These will need to be replaced with original trims from the dealership.

The wheel trims for some makes of car are not expensive, especially if you only need to replace one, so ask your dealer. And remember to ask for the trade price if your company car is part of a large fleet (this often works and may get you a 5-15% discount).

Fig 29. The rim of this wheel is badly scuffed and will need repair. The wheel looks worse because it has not been kept clean and damaged areas have suffered corrosion.

Advice - Alloy Wheels

Keep your wheels clean during the time you own your car, as build ups of dirt and brake dust harbour pollutants which can cause permanent damage.

We have never heard of anybody being penalized for corrosion on car wheels (although you will be penalized for rust on other areas of the car), but it is worth keeping them clean all the same. If you keep your car clean the whole time you own it, you will notice any damage such as scuffs caused by curbs, allowing you to change your driving habits before you accumulate more serious damage on all your wheels. It's also worth looking after your wheels because you may get the opportunity to buy the car at the end of the contract. Condition of wheels are a big measure of value on modern cars, but the lease company will value your car based on a list, so you could find your car is worth more than the lease company is asking.

It's worth buying a proper purpose made wheel cleaner from a motor accessory shop as cleaning wheels can be hard work. Always follow the instructions as they can be quite strong.

Alloy wheel sealants are very good and help to keep your wheels clean and protect them from corrosion. And it may be worth the investment if you are planning on buying your car from the lease company at the end of the contract. Otherwise, applying normal car wax to your wheels when you wax your paintwork will also help make them easier to clean.

You will have to be careful when you park, take care to avoid curb stones and other obstacles. Most scuffs on alloy wheels happen when a car is new and the driver is not yet used to the size of the vehicle.. get your passenger to see you in. Scuffs also happen when you haven't cleaned your car and never look at it, you will get no feedback and won't know the damage you are doing. After a while you car will look scruffy and you begin not to care anymore.

You could be sent large refurbishment recharges for scuffed wheels as they are expensive to replace. A cheaper alternative is to have the wheels refurbished which will cost £78.00 each, it is a big job as the wheel has to be removed, repaired, re sprayed and lacquered. The cheapest alternative is not to damage them in the first place.

Further Reading -
Alloy wheel repair service
Alloy wheel sealants
Article : Alloy wheel refurbishment FAQ

If you have damage something like that shown above, and you are wondering if it can be repaired, how it can be repaired, and how much it will cost, upload a photo to Ask the Experts and we'll advise you - no obligation.

Ask the Experts

Fig 29b. Tread depth indicator blocks show when your tyre is close to the legal limit.

Advice - Tyres

Know your tyre pressures which can be found in your owners manual, write it on a sticker and stick it to the inside of your glove compartment so that you know where to find it.

You must keep your tyres properly inflated at the correct pressure, under inflated tyres will wear at the edges, over inflated tyres will wear in the centres, they will also give your car less grip on the road.

Check your tyres regularly. Most vehicle manuals recommend you check them every week, but every 2-4 weeks should be sufficient, and don't forget to check the spare. Also check for damage, bulges or objects which may have punctured the wheel, if in doubt consult your local tyre centre.

Fig 29c. The 10p Test, when you insert a ten pence piece into the tread, it should cover the area shown.

The minimum legal tyre depth is 1.6mm over ¾ of the central width of the tyre and around the whole circumference.

Many tyres will have tread depth indicator blocks which will show you when you are down to 1.6mm. If these blocks are level with the depth of the tread then you need to replace your tyres.

If your tyre has no indicator blocks, you should use a 10p piece to check the depth, if the tread covers the ring of dots, then your tyres are legal.

Although the legal limit is 1.6mm, this is inadequate to give safe grip in the wet. We recommend changing your tyres when the depth gets down to 3mm.

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 Wed, 12 October, 2011
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