Tips and tricks to make sure you don’t get hit by excessive fees when you return your lease vehicle
A brief article which features hints and advice to ensure you don’t break your budget when your car lease expires
Picture the scene: You’ve been keeping up with your repayments and been taking good care of your lease car. Your lease is about to expire so you shouldn’t have any excessive charges to pay right? Wrong! Many lessees are shocked to discover that they actually owe their leasing company quite a lot of extra money when it comes time to return the lease car.
From excessive mileage usage to dents and scratches; even the smallest detail can result in large charges. From ten pounds to ten thousand pounds, extra charges can add up and can leave you with a tainted view of the whole notion of leasing a car, however it doesn’t need to be this way!
There are a number of ways you can keep your costs down when it comes time to trade in your lease vehicle. This might seem like an unnecessary annoyance now but believe me, they’ll definitely be worth it in the end. Follow these top 10 tips and you’re sure to leave the leasing company with a smile on your face come return day.
1. Stay within the mileage limit: When you sign your lease agreement you will agree to stick to a certain mileage limit. It’s important you try you best to stick to this limit because if you exceed it, you could be hit with hefty charges at the end of your lease. If you fear you might exceed your mileage limit before your lease expires, it’s a good idea to limit your vehicle usage. This might sound like an annoyance at the time but it’ll definitely work out cheaper in the long run.
2. Service the vehicle regularly: When leasing a car it’s quite common to forget to service it regularly because lessees often don’t regard the car as “their own”. Taking your lease car in for regular services can help to boost the residual value of your lease car which can make all the difference when your lease expires.
3. Document the condition of the car: Before you return your lease car to the lease company it’s a good idea to document the condition of the car. Take pictures of everything including the mileage count, the condition of the car and the interiors. These pictures will document the state of the car before it was returned to the leasing company and should help to settle any disputes.
4. Wash the vehicle regularly: Washing the car on a regular basis can help to remove any stubborn dirt, grime and marks which can damage your car over a long period of time. If you maintain the vehicle to the best of your ability it will show you have cared for it throughout your whole lease period.
5. Choose a feasible lease length: When you come to sign your initial lease agreement it’s important to choose a feasible lease length. Longer leases might be cheaper but you might not be used to having a car for such a long period of time so your care levels might dip towards the end of the lease agreement.
6. Choose a car with a high residual value: If you choose a car with a fairly high residual value, depending on your lease type and agreement, you might be able to buy it back at the end of your lease and make some money.
7. Remove any damage professionally: You might think it’s ridiculous to pay a professional to remove any damage but it can make all the difference. Professional mechanics know all the tips and tricks to get rid of dents, scratches and scuffs in the most efficient way and can get your lease car back to looking its best in no time. Paying a mechanic to sort out the damage before you return the car normally works out much cheaper than paying the leasing company to sort out the damage so it’s definitely worth the money.
8. Treat the car like it’s your own: When leasing the car it’s important to treat it in the same way you’d treat a new car you had just purchased. In many ways it’s even more important to look after your lease car because it’s technically not yours so you’ll need to fix any damage before you return it. If you want to avoid paying out for damage you should be extra careful with your lease car at all times.
9. Service the car before you take it back to the lease company: It’s always a good idea to service your lease car before you return it to the lease company. This last minute service will ensure your car is in the best possible condition and should also act as an impartial third party should there be any quibbles about condition on the return date.
10. Keep the car in a garage: Keeping the lease car in a garage is the best way to protect it against accidental damage like scratches and weather damage. Although you can’t protect your lease car at all times, it’s a wise move to protect it as much as you can when it’s off the road.