Fair Wear and Tear Guidelines

When you near the end of your lease you’ll begin to think about what happens when you return the vehicle. One aspect of the return that you may be concerned about is the vehicle condition and how this will be looked at by the funder.

In order to ensure that drivers are not over-enthusiastically penalised by lease companies, or that the funders are not stuck with a large bill that they need to pay for a damaged vehicle that’s been returned, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has fair wear and tear guidelines for the vehicle condition at the point of collection.

We recommend not waiting until the end of your lease to look at these. In fact, many drivers would find it beneficial to look at the fair wear and tear guidelines before receiving the car so they know the condition they are expected to keep the vehicle in, as well as the regular activities they will need to complete during the lease like servicing that need to be completed to be in line with the guidelines.

During your lease, if you do spot any damage or are just wanting to check that the condition of your vehicle would be acceptable if you considered an early return and checking the BVRLA’s guidelines will come in hand then too.

Lease Vehicle Return Process

In general, the collection process will follow these easy steps:


CXcite Car Leasing's Top 10 Tips for Returning a Lease

1. Check the funder’s return guidelines so you know what general wear and tear would be allowed and what you could be charged for.

2. Arrange your collection in plenty of time to ensure you can get it prior to the end of your contract on a date and time that is convenient for you.

3. Clean your car thoroughly inside and out. This will allow you to buff out any marks and reduce the chance of financial penalty due to dirty.

4. Inspect the vehicle in natural light, preferably on a nice day to give yourself the best lighting to check for any flaws you can see.

5. Inspect the vehicle when it’s dry as well if you’ve washed it or there has been raining. This allows you to see any flaws, particularly in the paint, which the water might hide.

6. Look down at the vehicle panels rather than straight on as this will allow you to see any dents more easily.

7. Be objective when looking at the vehicle, and if needed seek a second opinion.

8. Arrange any needed repairs prior to collection to avoid being charged for these from the funder.

9. Document any faults that you do find, taking pictures where possible.

10. Be there for collection if possible so that you can check the inspection report and ask any questions you may have.

For a more detailed look at our top 10 tips check out this blog

Fair Wear and Tear Guidelines

As mentioned above the guidelines are the same across funders as they are directed by the BVRLA  industry standard that all leasing companies must comply with.

There are two separate sets of guidelines as the BVRLA and funders separate vehicles, and the expected wear and tear to them, into cars and vans.

Fair Wear and Tear Guidelines for Cars

Most drivers will need the guidelines for cars as the majority of lease vehicles are cars.

You can find a link to the guidelines below, but in general they will advise on the condition of how the vehicle should be returned to the funder as well as some general information that is useful to be aware of during your lease.

Fair Wear and Tear Guidelines for Vans

As vans are typically used as commercial vehicles for transporting goods, they have a different set of fair wear and tear guidelines to allow for this.

All funders will provide you with van specific guidelines if you are leasing one, and these will be correct for your vehicle. We always recommend when looking at whether something is classed as fair wear and tear for your van that you check you are looking at the correct information and not the guidelines for cars.

General Wear and Tear Guidelines

In general, you should take good care of any vehicle you have, regardless of whether you own it or are leasing. This includes regular servicing, quick repairs and maintenance work, regular cleaning, following manufacturer guidelines, and much more.

To help you we’ve got some general guidelines on what’s classed as fair wear and tear and what isn’t.

We recommend checking the vehicle about eight to 12 weeks prior to the end of your lease to allow time for any repairs if needed.

What’s Classed as Fair Wear and Tear:

Chips with a diameter of 3mm or less to the paintwork, provided they are not rusted. This is limited to four chips on a panel, six chips on a door edge and eight chips on a forward-facing panel – any more than this could be classed as excessive and charged for repairs.

Dents of 15mm or less in diameter where the paint surface has not broken. This does not include dents that have a chip within them or to the roof or swage line of any panel, this kind of dent is not accepted as fair wear and tear.  There should be no more than two per panel to be classed as fair wear and tear.

Surface scratches that are 25mm or smaller, that do not show the primer or bare metal and can be polished out are acceptable. There’s a maximum of four surface scratches per panel. Similarly on unpainted areas scratches under 25 mm long are allowed, provided the moulding or trim is not broken, cracked, or deformed.

Scuffs to the wheel rim and alloy are allowed to be up to 50 mm over the total circumference.


Light scratching on windows provided it does not interfere with the driver’s line of sight, heating elements of the front / rear windscreen, or the automated driver assistance systems.

What's Not Fair Wear and Tear:

  • If the vehicle has missed services in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines or you cannot prove these services have been completed.
  • Any work needed because of active warning lights.
  • Rust or corrosion to bodywork, trim or alloys.
  • Any vehicle signage, livery or badges left on the vehicle, as well as damage caused by applying or removing them and any discrepancy they cause to the paintwork colour.
  • Excessive external dirt including bird lime, tree sap and any road debris.  
  • Rubbish left inside the vehicle.
  • Missing keys.
  • Rips or tears to a convertible roof or chips or cracks to a panoramic one.
  • Non-working tow bars, if it has been allowed to be fitted by the lease company.
  • Broken windscreen wipers.
  • Low fluids in washer reservoir, oil, brake fluid or coolant.
  • Damaged or missing wingmirrors. This includes damage to both the glass and housing units, and the adjustability and heated elements must be working correctly if applicable.
  • Replacement bulbs needed for any of the lights.
  • Damage that is over 10mm in the driver’s line of sight on the windscreen or over 40mm in any other area of the windscreen.


  • Tyres below legal limits for tread, low pressure or damaged. You can find more details on the checks you’ll need to complete here.
  • Any damage to the wheel spokes, fascia or alloy hub.
  • Grooved brake discs or drums from excessive wear.
  • Seized or damaged engine due to not having sufficient fluids or caused by other damage.
  • Any tears, rips or staining to interior upholstery.
  • Damage to any interior fittings including sun visors, door compartments, rear view mirror and seat belts.
  • Damage to the interior caused by any accessories such as car phone equipment that might be wired in or mounted on the dashboard.

For full details of acceptable vehicle return conditions we recommend checking the full fair and wear tear guide of your funder.

We’ve provided links to our main funders wear and tear guides below:

If your vehicle is funded by manufacturer finance then you can contact them directly to get a copy of their fair wear and tear guidelines.

Repairing Damage to a Lease Vehicle

If there is any damage to your vehicle that you do not think will be classed as fair wear and tear then you can arrange for this to be repaired prior to collection provided that it is done by a professional at a VAT registered garage and any replacement parts are genuine manufacturer parts.

If you’re unable to arrange for any necessary repairs, you can still return the vehicle however the funder will charge you for anything that is not deemed to be fair wear and tear.  

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