Should I add maintenance to my lease?

By: John Wilmot
27th March 2018

A graphic of spanners, cogs, oil and tools

Service, Maintenance & Tyres — or SMT as it’s known in the industry. Or without the tyres, S&M — something it’s definitely not referred to in the industry but I’ll keep it simple for this blog.

Is it really worth it?

This simply comes down to maths and doing your homework on what the additional monthly payment covers.

Here are the key components to consider:

· For S&M, work out in advance how much the service cost is going to be. Will you even need a service? Many modern cars are on a 2 year/20,000 mile, long life service cycle.

· For my last leased BMW 435d, adding S&M was £420 extra. I did 24k miles in 2 years and had an oil service at £240 from Harry Fairbairn, saving £180.

· The RAC suggests that brake pads should last 50k miles and discs much longer.

· Other perishable items other than lightbulbs are extremely unlikely to need replaced.

· Almost all leased cars are brand new. If you lease is 3 years or less, your warranty will cover failed parts free of charge.

· Your MOT will be covered for leases >3 years but this is about £50 so not a massive cost.

Let’s come onto tyres.

Your tyres have to be legal when handing your car back, with some contracts having a minimum like 2mm – great as if you tried selling a car with tyres at their minimum, you would get price chipped for every one.

My wife’s car is fitted with Continentals costing £225 each to replace — if you read my last blog, she’s done way more miles than expected so she will need new tyres. I called VW Financial Services and asked them what tyres were approved for replacement. They said ‘any premium brand’ — I got the full list, which included about 8 or 9 brands, including Uniroyal, a tyre that is £90 less.

Now I don’t know what the price to cover tyres would have been on the lease but, again, simply work out the maths. What’s the quote and how many tyres would that cover? What is the cheapest premium brand tyre the lease company will allow you to fit?

Simple maths. Get your calculator out and work of what will work best for you.