Steps to Take When Returning Your Car for Lease

Many drivers opt for car leasing, enjoying the convenience and lack of worry over depreciation that it brings. Even better, at the end of the lease, they can trade their car in for the newest version, ensuring that they’re always driving the latest thing with little or no worry about maintenance, MoT testing and other expenses. But what do you need to know when returning your car for lease?

Steps to Take When Returning Your Car for Lease

Of course, things do sometimes go wrong, and it’s not always a case of simply handing over the keys in exchange for a new set. Here at, we know all about car leasing, and want to offer you a step-by-step guide to getting your lease car ready for a return to the dealership.

Step 1: Restore any Defects

Whether you’ve got scuffs in the paint that need touching up, or you’re in need of alloy wheel refurb, it makes no difference. You have to fix any problems, small or large that are not covered by the lease agreement. There are some forms of wear and tear that are considered legitimate in the contract, meaning you won’t be penalised for those. For example, a scratch smaller than 25mm on which the primer or bare metal are not showing is usually forgivable.

Step 2: Perform Your Own Checks

Before submitting the car for an official inspection, you should perform some checks of your own. First of all, you should ensure the car is clean inside and out. The inside is the area where dirt can be best concealed, so ensure you’ve looked into every nook and cranny and cleared out any dust and grime. Next, start the car up and check that there are no warning lights illuminating on the dashboard. You should also use a 20p coin to check the tyre treads (including the spare) and ensure they have at least 1.6mm of tread. Put the coin into the tread, and if you can see any part of the outer rim, then the trim is not up to scratch.

Step 3: Top up the Fuel Tank

A typical agreement will stipulate that you have a certain amount of fuel in the tank, perhaps 50 miles worth. That’s about 6-7 litres depending on your consumption rate. If the consumption is about 35mpg, then you’ll need 6.5 litres to guarantee 50 miles.

Step 4: Prepare the Paperwork, Parts and Keys

Ensure that the following items are all placed inside the vehicle where the dealership can easily spot them: car operation manual, locking wheel nuts, service book (date stamped by authorised repairer), saved/printed digital receipts, valid MoT certificate (if applicable), the full set of keys and spares, plus details on any security codes that the car might have.

Step 5: Try to Get the Inspector to Come to You

Some leasing companies may offer you this as standard, but if not, try to arrange for the inspection to happen at your home rather than the dealership. This way, you can better supervise the activity, and you can be there to put across your case should the inspector flag anything up.

Follow the Steps and Avoid the Penalties!

Remember that breaking any of the rules in your contract can result in significant penalties. Follow the above guidelines, and anything else that might be present in your lease agreement. This is always good to know before you lease a car, as well, since you can then be ready for the day you eventually return the car. Should you need alloy wheel refurb or car touch up paint to perform some DIY repairs yourself, visit for help and advice.

If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one on how to know when your tyres need changing.

*This is a collaborative post

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