Did you know that about one-third of vehicles sold in the United States are leased, and there are currently close to 13 million active leases? While leasing a vehicle can save you money on your monthly payment, expenses can easily occur at the end of your lease if you aren’t careful.
While normal wear-and-tear during a two or three-year lease is acceptable and even expected, excessive wear or damage may result in repair fees being charged.
To determine if their vehicle has excessive wear and tear, people will oftentimes perform what is known as a “credit card test.” Typically, if the damage can be covered up by a standard credit card, it could be considered normal wear and tear.
In addition to performing the credit card test, you’ll also want to remove all personal items from the vehicle and plan to fix up any of the key areas that the dealership will be looking at in order to present your car in the best light.
What Parts of My Vehicle Can Be Subject to Lease Turn-In Fees?
Most manufacturers look for damage in these general categories:
- Dents, dings, scratches and scrapes on the exterior, bumpers and wheels – especially "curbed" wheels.
- Cracks, stars or excessive pitting in the windshield and other windows.
- Tears or stains on the upholstery that can't be repaired or cleaned with normal refurbishing.
How to Avoid Lease Turn-In Fees
When You Take Possession/During Your Lease Term:
- Have fabric protection applied as soon as you get the vehicle to ensure that stains are easy to remove and wont set into the fabric.
- Have Z-Shield® Paint Protection Film applied to key areas like the bumpers, fenders, door edges and hood to prevent dings, scratches, scrapes and scuffs.
- Get your vehicle detailed bi-annually for a deep cleaning that will help maintain its original integrity.
When It’s Time to Turn in Your Vehicle
- Get a lease turn-in detailing. Your vehicle will be deep vacuumed, pre-treated, spot cleaned and shampooed to restore all interior fabric and surfaces to like new condition.
- Check to see if any windshield chip repairs are needed. This service fills in small stone chips in your windshield to prevent them from turning into larger cracks that require complete windshield replacements.
- Have a scratch removal service done to remove any minor scratches from the vehicle’s painted surfaces.
By protecting your leased vehicle and planning to take care of any major issues as noted above, you can avoid many of the common lease turn-in fees.