Leasing – fear of fair wear and tear

By: John Wilmot
19th February 2018

An illustration of a car and a spanner

I was due to hand back my BMW 4 series recently. It was my first lease car and it had suffered a hard motorway life. The front end looked like it had been hit with a shotgun, two of the alloys were kerbed, the front and rear bumpers had parking scuffs. In short I was quietly bricking it at a monster bill.

I called my brother-in-law who put me onto leasing it the first place. A car leasing veteran. He did a great job of making me panic further. ‘My cars have always been in great condition for handing back’, he said.

Fearing the worst, the collection day came. A nice chap named Steven arrived, inspected the car, took photos and drove it off. I got a text an hour later with a condition report saying the condition in every area was ‘acceptable’.

Bonza — I’ve won a watch, Steven must have been blind, I thought.

Well not exactly.

Turns out that there’s Fair Wear and Tear guidelines issued by the BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association). The industry accepts that they’re not going to collect an ‘as new’ car so they’ve built very clear guidelines as to what it acceptable. Things like:

· Chips — small chips, including along the door edge are acceptable.

· Dents — 2 dents per panel up to 10mm are acceptable as long as the paint isn’t broken. Roof and crease lines are not acceptable.

· Scratches — scratches up to 25mm are acceptable, provided bare metal isn’t showing.

· Alloys — scuffs totalling up to 50mm on each wheel are acceptable.

This is just a sample but gives you an idea.

So if I’d owned it and was trading in or selling privately, I would have lost my shirt with them price chipping on all the imperfections. But with leasing, another saving, another retrospectively stress-free experience, another win for leasing.