If you’re about to sign the lease agreement on a car, you should be prepared to look after it even more than you would if you owned it.
The fact that you don’t own the car means that you have to return it to the leasing company in great condition.
You should take pains to avoid excessive wear and tear, dents, stains, scratches, dog hairs and scuffs if you want to avoid harsh penalty fees at handover.
You may be looking at Range Rover leasing and wondering how you’ll be able to get a premium vehicle back to the dealership without incurring penalty fees; well, here’s six easy ways to help you to do just that.
Treat it as if it’s a rental car
When you went on your holiday to Sardinia last year, you didn’t let the kids drink juice in the back, right?
You also made sure you cleaned off the bird poo as soon as possible.
You knew that the car hire people wanted to see the car come back in the same condition as it was in when it went out and you didn’t want to pay expensive reconditioning fees. So, tell yourself you’re in a long-term rental car.
Read the fine print
Don’t sign any lease agreement until you’ve given the small print the once-over; focus on what the company’s idea of fair and excessive wear and tear is. If you can’t see it or it’s not clear enough, ask for the policy to be added to the contract.
Watch your mileage
Wear and tear can sometimes be subjective and you may escape a penalty if a scratch is just a shade over 25mm.
However, your mileage isn’t so forgiving. If your allowance stipulates 12,000 miles a year, then as soon as you go over it, you start collecting surcharges and these can be swingeing – 10 pence or more per mile.
If you think your allowance isn’t enough, say so and bump it up – it’s a lot cheaper than penalties.
Look after your tyres
If you take care of your tyres from day one, you may well be able to get them back to the lease company in decent condition after two or even three years.
Keep them at the right pressure, make sure they’re aligned and have them checked for nails regularly.
Check and change the oil
You’ll probably have to return the car to the dealership or to a partner garage once a year for checks and for oil changes.
Make sure you do this – new engines often run hotter than older ones and if the oil is deteriorating, it could form sludge, which in turn could affect the engine and earn you a penalty.
Take care of the bodywork
Wash and wax your car regularly; you should wax it at least two or three times a year to protect the paintwork.
You also need to know what sort of environment you’re in – if you live near the coast or your roads are gritted in winter, you should jet wash the underside regularly to prevent salt corrosion.