This article is part of our Car Lease Excess Buyer’s Glossary series. It explains all terms that you should know when buying a used or new car from a dealer.
Although no one wants to be charged an excessive wear fee for returning a leased car, it is possible.
What is the Car Lease Excess Wear Fee?
The lessee must pay a fee to repair the vehicle for damage beyond what is normal. You are allowed to show some wear on the vehicle but not more than what a manufacturer considers acceptable.
How does the Charge Get Determined?
A lease inspection will take place at your workplace or home sometime in the last three months of your ownership. Most often, the inspection is performed by an independent company and not the manufacturer.
They will look for damage to the vehicle’s exterior and interior. To determine the cost of repairs, they look for any damage such as dents, dings or scrapes. Your costs could be increased by dings and scratches, dented wheels, cracked windshields or pitted windshields, as well as a stained or stained interior.
Tires are often overlooked. Sometimes, tires can wear beyond what is normal for a 36-month lease. This is especially true if they are misaligned or wore unevenly. A tire section is usually included in a lease inspection. If the tires are worn beyond normal, you will be charged.
Every little scratch is not considered excessive wear. To determine whether it is worth paying for, the inspector will assess the extent and length of the damage. Toyota provides a guideline on what is considered excessive wear. This can help you get an idea of what Toyota considers when inspecting your vehicle. You can find it here. You might find similar assistance from other companies, so you can search online to see if the manufacturer of your vehicle has an equivalent reference.
What can I do?
Take care of your car. You should be aware from the beginning that an inspector will inspect your vehicle and look for damage at the end. It might be worth your while to get it repaired as soon as possible, especially if you have insurance that covers it.
You can still reduce the cost of an inspection if you have to pay a large fee. You can have any problems fixed by a shop between the inspections. While the inspector may not find all your fixes satisfactory, you might be able reduce the damage. In this instance, you will need to schedule the second inspection prior to the expiration of the lease.
You may find it cheaper to buy new tires if your tires are old than to pay a premium for any modifications they make. Keep all documentation, spare keys, remotes, and books that came with your car when it was purchased. The dealer will likely ask for them all when you give them the keys.
You can avoid the excessive wear fee by using other methods. Dealers may waive the excess wear charge if you do business with them. This can happen if you lease another vehicle, extend your lease on your current vehicle or buy the vehicle in full. To avoid paying this fee, it is best to maintain the vehicle. Although it’s easy to neglect a leased vehicle because it’s not technically yours, the savings you’ll make at the end of the lease will be worth it.