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How to prepare your car for end of lease

How to prepare your car for end of lease

Car leasing is an excellent option for many Canadians. If ownership doesn’t work for you and you prefer a predictable monthly commitment to drive new cars, leasing could work very well indeed. It is a largely positive experience, especially if you prefer your car properly for the handover at the end of the lease period.

Nobody looks forward to this last part of a car lease. Like when you return a hire car, the leasing company will inspect the car to make sure it is in acceptable condition. If it meets their standard, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, you may face some expensive repair or cleaning bills.

So it makes sense to prepare the car yourself before handing it back.

Perform your own walkaround

Perform your own walkaround a month ahead of time to assess the condition of the car. Wear and tear and general use is acceptable. Cigarette burns, tears in upholstery, cracks in leather, bald tires and damage to bodywork is not.

You could save a bit of money by performing your own walkaround ahead of time. Look through the eyes of a leasing agent or assessor to spot potential problem areas. Note any significant damage to the bodywork, large chips or scratches, broken light lenses, bald tires, worn wipers, damaged bumpers and anything that detracts from the car.

Fix any issues yourself ahead of time to avoid expensive remedial work by the leasing company.

Check your lease paperwork to see what they class as wear and tear and use that in your walkaround to not sweat the small stuff.

Return the car to stock

If you changed wheels, had the ECU remapped, used the first aid kit, used the spare tire or changed anything, return it to stock ahead of time. This will also stop any extra bills from the leasing company for replacing the spare wheel or something else.

Make sure your maintenance paperwork is complete

Depending on the length of lease, you may have had to have the car serviced, oil changed, tires rotated and so on. If you have had work done on the car, make sure the paperwork is in place and ready to show the leasing company. This is especially true if you had any mechanical work done as it shows you took good care of the car.

When you have all your paperwork in place, make copies of everything. Photocopy or photograph all paperwork that proves you held up your end of the lease, just in case.

Be there at handover

Depending on who manages the lease, it might not be the dealership that has the final say. If the car is leased through a third party, arrange for handover to be at your home or work and be there when the assessor checks it over. You can then explain anything they pick up and may be able to talk yourself out of any damage costs.

Car leasing is a very viable method of car ownership but it isn’t without its challenges. Planning for handover can mitigate the most daunting leasing challenge. Got any tips you want to add?

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