What Happens at the End of a Car Lease?
Handing back your lease car can trigger some mixed emotions, are you sad to say goodbye? Or, are you relieved to see the back of it so you can get the next ‘new thing’? Either way, what happens at the end of a car lease can warrant some questions, and rightly so.
It’s important no matter what your next steps are that you’re aware of what happens when a lease car is returned. So we’re going to discuss exactly what happens at the end of a lease, and what is expected of you.
Checklist for Returning a Lease Car
Before your car can be collected there are going to be a few things that you need to do to make sure the car can be properly inspected upon return.
This can vary depending on who you’re leasing with, but here is what would be typically expected from customers:
- Clean the car (both inside and out) - depending on the condition of the car it may be wise to get it professionally cleaned and valeted. This is important to ensure that your car can be properly inspected.
- Gather all the necessary paperwork - You will need to organise all your original documents, a full-service history, a valid MOT certificate, any repair/service invoices (and don’t forget your spare keys).
- Remove all personal belongings from the vehicle - There’s nothing worse than realising you’ve left your £400 watch in the back seat, make sure you check every nook and cranny for personal items and remove them in preparation for returning your car.
- Check the interior and exterior of the lease car - Make sure to do this at least two months in advance, as this gives you ample time to repair your car if necessary. You should be checking for any scratches, scuffs, dents that surpass the standard wear and tear by reading through the BVRLA Fair Wear & Tear guidelines
So, What Happens When I Return My Car?
At the end of a lease, the car is expected to be dropped off or arranged for pickup. Upon arrival, the lease car will then be examined for any damage that exceeds the standard wear and tear.
Of course, no leasing company expects your car to be in perfect running condition after three years, there’s bound to be the odd scratch and scuff. However, this shouldn’t be confused with damage from road accidents or negligence.
If everything is in working order you will simply hand back the keys and all the documents, and walk away. It really is that simple.
Will There Be Additional Charges When Returning My Car?
The complications start to happen if your car has strayed from ‘the path’, incurring possible additional charges. As mentioned above, we and no other leasing company would expect your car to be handed back in brand-new condition - some slight wear and tear is expected.
However, there are certain situations in which you would be expected to pay additional charges. These include:
- Charges for excess mileage (varies based on finance lender and car itself)
- Charges for a lack of servicing or not at all
- Charges for any damage that is more than just wear and tear
- Charges for poor repair work
- Charges for leaving the car in a messy condition
- Charges for poor maintenance
These charges can mostly be avoided by taking good care of the car and treating it as if it were your own.
What Happens If I Have Damaged My Car?
It’s expected that if you were to have caused damage to your lease car you would be expected to pay for it, as it’s not your vehicle, you’re only renting it.
You are responsible for keeping the car in near-pristine condition during your lease period and as such anything less than is up to you to fix.
It’s worth checking your BVRLA Fair Wear & Tear guidelines to see what comes under general wear and tear and what would come under damage. It’s best to get the damage repaired before the lease (if there is any).
If you have been in an accident/caused damage to the car you should contact both your insurance company and the leasing company immediately. If the car has been subject to any insurance claims or damage, your leasing company needs to be made aware.
What Happens If I Have Exceeded My Mileage Limit?
Each of our leases gives the option to choose from different annual mileage limitations, including 8,000, 12,000 and 16,000. While this may not seem like a big deal, it’s important you choose the option that is right for you - as if you exceed this you will incur additional costs.
This varies quite drastically from company to company but can range anywhere from 4p to 70p per extra mile exceeded. This can start to rack up quite quickly. As if you were to exceed your limits by 1,000 each year that would rack up to an additional 3,000 miles which would equate to between £120 and £2,100.
Can I Hand My Car Back Early?
The short answer is yes, you can hand your car back early. The long answer is it will cost you dramatically more, for less value when you leave your contract early.
As standard with all leases if you want to leave your contract early you have to pay 50% of your remaining costs. For example, if you’re paying £200 a month and you have a year left you would be liable to pay £1,200. Instead, of course, it may be cheaper just to run the car till the end of its lease.
Do I Get the Initial Payment Back at the End of My Car Lease?
The initial payment at the start of your contract is put towards the overall costs of leasing the car, meaning the larger the payment the less your monthly payments.
Fortunately, at Pendle Leasing the initial payment is a part of your 3-year leasing period. This means that there are only 35 payments instead of 36 as the deposit counts towards your total costs.
When Will the Car Be Collected/Need to Be Dropped Off?
The car will need to be collected or dropped off (whatever has been previously discussed) at the end of its lease. It’s worth making a note at the start of your lease documenting the start date and subsequently, the end date based on your lease period.
It’s important to know when your car’s lease is up, and if not, check! If you happen to forget and keep the car after its collection date you will be handed a late fee.
Most leasing companies get in contact nearer the time and will arrange this with you, but do not take that for granted.
Can I Extend My Lease?
When your lease ends and you have handed back your car, some leasing companies will allow you to do this. If you lease with Pendle Leasing, you can contact us at the end of your lease to discuss this. Whether you’re looking for a Vauxhall, Renault, or Fiat we have just the car for you to choose from at affordable rates.
Check out our latest car leasing deals to see what we have on offer.