What To Do Before Returning a Leased Car
Are you getting ready to return a leased car? If so, keep in mind that most manufacturers will schedule a lease return inspection before that happens. The idea behind the inspection is to confirm that the car is in good condition and to let you know about any potential lease-end penalties you may need to face.
In most cases, the carmaker will hire a third party for the lease return inspection. Other times, you’ll get your vehicle inspected at the dealership itself. Either way, here are some things you should do before the inspection and returning your lease.
1. Collect Your Belongings
This should go without saying, but you should always collect your personal belongings before getting your vehicle inspected. That involves detaching your E-ZPass from the windshield, scooping up loose phone cables, and making sure all the keys are accounted for. If one of the keys isn’t working, you may need to replace the battery first.
2. Check the Odometer
Everyone enjoys a scenic drive, but driving more than the allowed mileage in your lease agreement means you’ll need to pay an extra fee for each mile over the limit. To calculate these excess miles, take the allowed mileage (including any miles you purchased) and subtract it from the actual mileage. If you’re over the cap, consider cutting down on driving for a bit.
3. Deal With Scratches
If your car has a deeper scratch, you may want to deal with it before you take it for inspection. Doing so will help you avoid costly dealership labor rates. Your best option is to take your car to a detailer and have them eliminate it or make it less noticeable. Similarly, if your car has been dented, you can hire a detailer for paintless dent repair.
4. Inspect the Interior
During your lease, your car will naturally show signs of normal wear. However, excessive interior wear is very likely to result in additional charges. As a general rule, any stains, burns, cuts, and tears in the upholstery greater than 1/2’’ in diameter will count as excessive wear. If possible, fix these issues before taking your lease for an inspection.
5. Fix Your Tires
Bald tires can also be evidence of excessive wear, so it pays to change them before returning the car. For the purposes of a lease inspection, bald tires count as tires with a tread depth of less than 1/8’’ at their shallowest point. Any cuts, gouges, and sidewall plugs in your tires can also affect passenger safety, which can cause you to get dinged.