End of Lease: Have the Facts and Save $$

on Friday, 05 July 2013. Posted in News

Get Your Car Checked so You Don't Get Wrecked (on the Price)

leased vehicle inspectionSo your vehicle’s lease term is coming to its end. The car has a dent and several paint scratches, but in your opinion they’re not too serious. They will cost you $100 or $200 at most to repair, you figure. Well, think again. What will I have to pay to satisfy my lease company? That’s the question everyone asks when their lease expires. And the answer is never the same. Those dents and scratches can cost you some serious cash, especially if the lease company decides to take you to the cleaners.

Most lease agreements state that anything above and beyond “normal wear and tear” is going to cost you. And of course, it’s their definition, not yours. Minor dents not much bigger or deeper than the size of your thumb might be considered “normal wear and tear”, but this “rule of thumb” will vary from lease company to lease company. Where the dent is located in relationship to body bends, edges, creases and folds are taken into account as well.

One friend of mine had some very minor dents, dings and scratches on his leased Lexus and his lease company was very fair. They charged him $400 and he walked away pleased. Another friend of mine returned his BMW after his lease expired, and his repairs cost him $3,400, basically because the car’s expensive wheels were badly scratched. He cried foul because he lives in the hills of San Francisco and parking on the street there without hitting the high curbs in the City is difficult to avoid. He felt as though it was “normal wear and tear,” but they strongly disagreed. Tough, the lease company said and my friend was pretty much left hanging, so he wrote the check and declared that he will never lease a car ever again! So be careful when returning your leased vehicle.

Before you turn it in, bring it to a certified body shop and have them take a look at the car inside and out. Get an estimate and have it in hand when you go to the lease company. Some lease companies will charge you for a full repair when in fact they will have their technicians do what is called a Paintless Dent Repair or a Paintless Scratch Repair and then charge you for a replaced quarter panel, for example. By having the right information in your hands, you can show the lease company that they’re gouging you. Don’t pay because you don’t know the game and always bring your car to a premier body shop like Anderson Behel in Santa Clara, CA.

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