Vehicle damage: Scrapes, scuffs, chips and cracks
Damage such as scrapes, scuffs, chips and cracks should be repaired as soon as possible after it occurs. This is vital as when the paintwork is damaged it can cause corrosion to the vehicle. You should check with your lease provider, although most will allow you to arrange to have any minor damage repaired and missing or damaged items to be replaced before returning the car. You must ensure that the work is completed to a professional standard by a qualified repairer, and they provide a transferable warranty for the work.
Damage on the windscreens such as Chips, cracks and holes should not obstruct the driver's line of sight. However, if the windscreen does not meet current MOT requirements, it must be replaced if you want to avoid being charged for the replacement. If the windscreen is fixed or replaced, it must be recalibrated according to the car manufacturer's specifications to ensure that any advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) on the vehicle are fully functional.
If you have a maintenance contract as part of your lease agreement, it is critical that you communicate with your finance provider first so that they can advise you and authorise any repairs that may be necessary.
Check your tyres regularly
It's crucial to regularly check your vehicle's tyres to ensure they are of a safe and legal standard. If your tyres are in poor condition, they could blow out or lose traction in poor weather. Tyre pressure and Tread depth are two checks you should frequently carry out.
Tyres over or under pressure wear out unevenly and need replacing sooner, which can be expensive. Check the manufacturer's suggested PSI before checking your vehicle's tyre pressure to guarantee that no tyre is under or over-inflated. This information is typically found in your owner's manual or online.
Checking the tyre tread of your lease vehicle is vital as having worn tyres means you have less control of your tyres on the road, which can cause a severe accident. Having the incorrect tyre depth can also put you at risk of getting a hefty fine. The legal tyre tread depth for cars in the UK and Europe is 1.6mm across the middle three-quarters of the tyre. The tyre's tread must also meet this minimum requirement across its whole circumference.
Read our Tyre Type and Classification guide for information on tyre size, EU labels and typical seasonal and regional tread variations.
Look after the interior of your lease car
Looking after the interior of a car is a general courtesy when returning a vehicle, but it is a must in the case of leasing a car for such a long time. It's important to remember that even though you've been driving the vehicle for a long time, it doesn't belong to you, and you must return it unless you want to buy it from them.
When it comes to returning your lease vehicle at the end of its contract, there shouldn't be any stand-out stains or odours inside the car, and all materials must be free of tears, burns or rips.
Can you smoke in a lease car?
There is no rule prohibiting you from smoking in your personal lease vehicle, but there is plenty of information on why you shouldn't. Here are a few reasons:
Under fair wear and tear guides, there is a section about unacceptable interior standards upon return. Long-term exposure to cigarette smoke can cause the interior to deteriorate, and cigarette burns can damage the upholstery, which will need to be repaired, or you could be fined.
Second, smoking is prohibited in any vehicle, leased or not, when someone under 18 is present.
If you are business car leasing and leasing a commercial vehicle, smoking is prohibited during its use. This is due to the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006, which states it is forbidden to smoke in a vehicle that others may use. This is Government enforcement instead of something the finance companies enforce.
Can you vape in a lease car?
Vaping in a leased car is allowed, however, it can still get you in trouble with the law if it is determined to distract you from driving. The vapour produced by the devices is far more visible and denser than cigarette smoke, which can temporarily obscure the road view. The vape device itself can also be a distraction similar to other devices like mobile phones.
Regardless of who is vaping in the car, if a police officer believes the driver can't see the road clearly or is likely to be distracted, they could be fined and earn drivers up to nine penalty points on their licences.
For more information and tips on taking care of your lease vehicle, check out our comprehensive motoring guides or call Nationwide Vehicle Contracts on 0345 811 9595 for expert advice.