Vehicle Return Standards Advice

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Vehicle Return Standards

When the time comes to return your vehicle, you need to make sure it meets the agreed return condition. It’s understandable that over two, three or four years there will be some wear and tear. However, you need be able to understand the difference between fair wear and tear and damage.  

Fair wear and tear occurs as a result of normal everyday usage which causes deterioration to a car.  Damage from poor treatment, a lack of maintenance or an impact is different matter. The best thing you can do is use your common sense when checking the car. The odd stone chip is considered fair wear and tear, but a huge dent is not.

Examples of acceptable wear and tear:

  • Small scratches on the windscreen outside of the driver’s line of sight.
  • Minor scuffing on wheels and tyres up to 25mm in length.
  • Minor scuffing on bumpers up to 25mm in length. 
  • Small areas of chipping on bodywork.
  • Dents up to 10mm proving paint is not broken

Get a copy of the BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association) Fair Wear and Tear Guide 8 weeks before the end of your lease. 

 Some manufacturers have vehicle return standards videos and guides. Here are some examples:




Lex Autolease

Here are some tips and examples of checks that you might need to carry out.

Check your lease agreement

Before inspecting your vehicle it might be a good idea to check your lease agreement. This will give you an idea of what to expect. Some manufactures have different requirements so it’s important to take this into consideration.

Keep your vehicle service history up to date

Generally cars are expected to be serviced every year, but it depends on the manufacturer and how much mileage you are doing. It’s important to keep your vehicle service history up to date.

Carry out checks in advance

Don’t leave checks until the last minute. If you don’t give yourself enough time you won’t be able to get your car repaired and fix any issues in time. Give yourself plenty of time to get your vehicle ready.

Carry out checks in a good light

It’s best to carry out your checks in good lighting so that you don’t miss any scratches or bumps because of poor lighting.

Remove all your personal property

Remember to take all of your personal property out of the car. Check all the storage compartments, the back seats and the boot.

Make a note of things that need to be done

When checking your car, make a note of everything you think needs to be done. This will prevent you from forgetting anything. It also means you have a record of what you believe needs to be fixed.

Fix damages

If you notice any damage you should get it fixed before the car goes back. In most cases it makes more sense to get it fixed yourself as the repair and labour costs are likely to be cheaper.


Remember to make sure you return the car exactly as it was when you got it; this includes any equipment it came with.

Book a valet

Get your car professionally cleaned before returning it. Get an intensive interior and exterior clean.

Be present for the inspection

It’s advisable to be present during the inspection so that you can witness it and ask any questions.

Get a copy of the inspection report

Go through the inspection report in detail to check you agree with everything.

Things to check:

  • Check interior for damage
  • Tire condition & tread
  • Check controls are fully functional
  • Oil and fluid checks
  • Windscreen damage
  • Body damage
  • Dents and scratches
  • Mechanics

Please be aware that this is obviously just a guide, manufacturers and finance companies may vary. Check the BVRLA industry standard here.











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