Fair Wear and Tear Guide

Driving a car for two or three years is always going to accumulate small bits of damage here and there – regardless of how good a driver you are.

When returning a car to a leasing company, you have to meet specific wear and tear guidelines, which essentially detail what is considered acceptable damage, and what isn’t. But what are these guidelines and how can you keep to them?

 

What are fair wear and tear guidelines?

Driving a car for two or three or four years is always going to accumulate small bits of damage here and there – regardless of how good a driver you are.

When returning a car on a business or personal contract to a leasing company, you have to meet specific fair wear and tear guidelines, which essentially detail what is considered acceptable damage, and what isn’t. But what are these guidelines and how can you keep to them?

There are three different guides for different types of vehicle:

  • Cars
  • LCVs (light commercial vehicles including vans) and minibuses
  • HGVs (heavy goods vehicles – those over 3.5 tonnes GVW)

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) – the leasing industry’s trade body – provides general guidelines as to what constitutes fair wear and tear. This ensures the rules are easily understood, accepted across the industry and fair for everyone involved.

Although the BVRLA provides the general guidelines, each funder produces its own set of fair wear and tear rules which is broadly based on the general guidelines. You must follow the guidelines from your specific finance provider.

 

What is contained in the guidelines

The information provided on this page is intended as a guide only.

The guidelines state that the areas of which the vehicle’s condition is inspected are:

  • General appearance and road safety
  • Paintwork, body, bumpers and trim
  • Tyres and wheels
  • Mechanical condition
  • Interior
  • Documentation and keys
  • Windows, glass, door mirrors and lamps
  • Equipment and controls

The guidelines also include:

  • Guidance as to how to go about checking your vehicle for damage prior to handover
  • Glossary of terms defining various types of damage, for example ‘abrasion’, ‘dent’ and ‘chip’
  • Photographs to illustrate acceptable and unacceptable damage on vehicles returned at the end of a lease
  • An explanation as to why end-of-lease charges exist

 

Common issues

Some of the most common problems that result in customers having to pay end of contract penalty charges include:

  • Chips or dents on the bodywork
  • Scuffs, scratches and scrapes to the paintwork
  • Damage to wheels and trims
  • Rips, burns or holes in the vehicle’s seats

 

Wear and tear guidelines for vans

Much of the information contained within the guidelines for cars also applies to vans. Vans must be returned with no excess damage to avoid penalty charges. However, there are some elements of van-specific guidance. For example:

  • Loading area – Scuffing, scratches, abrasions and small dents that do not interfere with the function of the compartment are permitted, but any considerable damage caused by improper loading is not permitted
  • Additional roof fittings – As long as they are fully functional and comply with legal requirements, any additional beacons, lights, antenna or other roof fittings can remain
  • Graphics and decals – Any scuffing, scratches, abrasions and small dents that do not interfere with the function of the compartment are permitted

 

What to do when your vehicle is due for collection

The quick pointers below will help to ensure the collection of your car or van goes as smoothly as possible:

  • If there is any damage outstanding, ensure you inform your leasing company
  • Ensure all personal effects are moved from the vehicle, including any unrelated keys on the key fob
  • Make sure all keys, documentation and other accessories are presented
  • If your vehicle has a sat nav fitted, delete any personal information, such as your home address, from it
  • When the car or van has been inspected for damage, all apparent wear will be documented and you will be given the opportunity to agree the condition of the vehicle

How to prepare for returning your vehicle

If you’re reaching the end of your contract and are planning on returning the car or van to the finance company, taking the time to prepare your car or van properly for inspection could be the difference between paying a penalty charge and not.

 

Start preparations early

  • Ensure your vehicle is clean both inside and out – Water marks and dirt can mask bodywork damage and all interior upholstery must be stain-free
  • Be honest – Be as objective as possible and ask a friend to help you by providing an honest opinion
  • Choose a good light – The leasing company will inspect your vehicle in clear light; you should do the same to avoid missing faults

 

Conducting your own assessment

  1. Inspect the sides of the vehicle from a crouching position. Kneel down at the front and rear of the car or van and look along each side to help you spot any missed damage
  2. Inspect one panel at a time. Walk all the way around the vehicle, checking each panel at a time for significant damage. Be sure not to forget the roof
  3. Check glass areas thoroughly. Inspect all lamps, lenses windows and mirrors for any chips, cracks or holes
  4. Inspect the interior of your vehicle. Having cleaned and valeted the interior, check for any odours, tears, burns or stains
  5. Check wheels, trims and tyres for damage. Don’t forget to check the spare wheel too
  6. Check vehicle documentation. For a car or van to achieve its highest possible resale price, it must have all the relevant documentation and up-to-date service and Inspect all dashboard and other controls. Everything must be fully functional, including audio equipment and accessories
  7. Maintenance history.

Please ensure you are able to provide:

  • Service history
  • Operation manual
  • Key and radio codes etc.
  • MOT certificate (if applicable)
  • V5C registration document (if applicable)

 

 

How to rectify any damage?

If you discover any damage that you believe is likely to incur a penalty charge as part of your inspection, you can arrange to correct the damage before the vehicle is returned.

Regular service and maintenance

The most efficient method of avoiding any penalty charges is to keep on top of the vehicle’s maintenance and appearance throughout your contract period. Keep your vehicle clean, ensure that regular services and maintenance is carried out by accredited dealerships and the vehicle’s service record is stamped each time.

Chips, dents and scratches

  • All work must be completed by a professional who provides a full warranty
  • Any damage should be repaired as soon as possible after it occurs

Windscreen and windows

  • Any damage to the driver’s line of sight must be repaired immediately
  • Ensure any appropriate approval is given by the leasing company before work is carried out
  • Small cracks can easily be SMART (small and medium area repair technique) repaired

Wheels, tyres and trims

  • Any damage to wheel trims or alloys (for example, caused by curbing) must be rectified
  • Regularly check that tyre pressures are kept at the recommended PSI to avoid unnecessary wear
  • Ensure any appropriate approval is given by the leasing company before work is carried out

Vehicle interior and equipment

  • Drivers or passengers should not regularly smoke in the vehicle to avoid causing a residual smell and staining. Any staining must be removed before return
  • All general equipment, controls, accessories and in-car entertainment systems must be replaced equipment of a similar spec if stolen or lost

 

How to get a copy of the fair wear and tear guidelines?

Although the BVRLA provides the general guidelines, each funder will produce its own set of fair wear and tear rules, broadly based on the general guidelines. You must follow the guidelines from your specific finance provider / funder

Please contact us if you are nearing the end of your business / personal lease and would like to get a copy of the fair wear and tear guidelines for your vehicle.

 

Please Note :

  • The above guide is for illustrative / information purposes only.
  • The above guide aims to illustrate the standards of condition expected when a vehicle is returned to ecofleet / our funding partners
  • Whilst It follows industry standard practices, individual assessments and leasing company standards can vary. Please consult the fair wear and tear guide provided by your leasing company.

For further information please contact us

Free Phone

0800 0502 500

Business Hours

Mon – Fri:    09:00AM – 18:00PM
Weekends:  By Appointment