Car leasing fair wear & tear explained

Anyone driving a car they don’t own will have questions about how best to look after their vehicle. Here, we explain what defines “wear and tear” and what you can do to make sure you stick to the terms and conditions of your Nifti contract. 

What is acceptable wear and tear on a lease car?

Normal wear and tear is the expected reduction in performance of a part due to the car’s age, mileage and use. Commonly worn items include tyres, brake pads, and engine fluids. Many warranty providers exclude this kind of depreciation. Any damage that is beyond normal wear and tear is considered excessive.

What is fair wear and tear on a vehicle?

Fair wear and tear usually results in worn brake pads, lower (but still legal to drive) tyre tread depths and lower levels of fluids. All these changes can be rectified quickly. There may remain some scuff marks here and there, but provided the car doesn’t need to visit a body shop after the lease agreement, this is all considered fair.

Are car scratches wear and tear?

Yes, to a certain extent. It comes down to what level of work is required to repair the scratch. A simple bumper scuff or light door scratch could come out with a compound polish. Should the scratch be deep and penetrate the base layer or metal of the car, then usually that panel will need a respray, which involves a higher cost.

What happens if I scratch a leased car?

You should keep the car in as good of condition as possible. If you scratch the car, speak to your local car parts supplier about what polish might help you remove the damage. If the scratch is deep, it may be best to call a body shop for a repair quote.

Should I fix a dent on my leased car?
You should return the car in the best condition possible. Many will opt to drive their car for the duration of their lease period, and then prior to handing the car back, have a body shop ensure the car is presentable. This helps guarantee there will be no surprise penalties at the point of vehicle return. 

What is considered excessive wear and tear?

Any damage that is beyond normal wear and tear is considered excessive. Some examples might include tears to upholstery, missing or broken equipment, cracked lights, or large dents or scratches on the exterior of the vehicle larger than 2 inches in length. 

Is corrosion wear and tear?

Natural corrosion isn’t defined as wear and tear, and generally cars made today do not suffer from corrosion. There may be some surface rust on exposed parts underneath the car or on brake calipers, but if there were a serious issue, it would be brought to the attention of the manufacturer and not considered the driver’s fault.

Is there insurance for wear and tear?

Although you have personal insurance in place on your lease car, it would be very unlikely you would use it in the instance of general wear and tear. If an accident occurred and the car needed a body panel and paint, then you would have to contact your insurer. 

What parts of the car should I look out for wear and tear?

The most vulnerable parts on cars tend to be the front and rear bumpers. They are first to get scuffed in parking incidents and act as impact zones in larger prangs. We advise you to take your time when parking and leave ample room where possible. Other areas include the load entry point to the boot, door-sills and the area around the driver’s side door handle. While we expect tyre wear, wheels also get scuffed from time to time.

If you have more questions or want to learn more about Personal Leasing, check out our Help and Advice page.

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