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Returning a vehicle at the end of the lease agreement may result in unexpected charges if wear and tear exceeds what is deemed “normal” by the lessor. Prior to the expiration of the lease, the leasing company will schedule an inspection of the vehicle. The inspection is often performed by a third party and can be conducted at the lessee’s home or place of employment.

It is beneficial for the lessee to be present during the inspection since what is considered “normal wear and tear” may be quite subjective. To exacerbate this ambiguity, damage considered chargeable may vary among leasing companies. Moreover, the cost of any repairs managed by the leasing company is usually substantially more than if the lessee takes care of them prior to returning the vehicle. Colorado Auto Body provides the highest quality auto repair in the industry and can help customers save a significant amount of money on leased vehicle expenses.

Preparing for the Inspection

The lessee should read the leasing contract to determine the type of damage they will be charged for and inspect the vehicle prior to the lease inspection. All personal items should be removed from the vehicle, and holes or other modifications made for installation of such items should be returned to the original state. Any items that were in the vehicle at the time the lessee took possession, such as the manual, floor mats and navigation systems, should be returned with the vehicle. Tires should have at a minimum 1/8 inch of tread and the engine should be inspected for mechanical defects. A professional detailing will ensure the car is clean and will often eliminate surface scratches from clear coat.

The Lease Inspection Process

The leasing company usually schedules the inspection several months prior to the vehicle return date. During the inspection process, the inspector will record the odometer reading and take photos of the VIN number. They will note the condition of the tires and perform a thorough inspection of the mechanical systems. The inspector will also photograph any cosmetic damage on the car including stained or ripped upholstery, windshield damage and dents or scratches on the exterior. Once the inspection is complete, a report will be provided to the leasing company as well as the lessee. The professionals at Colorado Auto Body can ensure that the exterior of the vehicle is restored to “like new” condition to meet the stringent criteria of a lease inspection.

Normal Wear and Tear

The term “normal wear and tear” is often vague and can be interpreted differently among inspectors and leasing companies. In addition to the lease agreement, some leasing companies post what they define as “normal wear and tear” on their website. In general, the following may provide guidance in what most lessors consider to be excessive:

  • Tears, cuts, burns or stains in the upholstery or carpet
  • Holes created for mounting accessories such as cellphones or TV screens
  • Cracked or chipped windshields
  • Scratched or peeling window tint
  • Bald or mismatched tires
  • Broken or cracked taillights
  • Multiple dents or scratches in the paint on more than one panel
  • Highly visible dents on the hood, trunk or roof
  • Deep scratches that penetrate the paint to reveal metal
  • Cracked or dislodged bumpers

Avoiding Additional Charges

Some leasing companies offer a pre-inspection to inform the lessee of chargeable damage and provide the opportunity to make repairs. If there isn’t enough to time to complete the repairs before the lease expires, the lessee may consider extending the lease. Some wear is acceptable such as natural fiber unraveling of the upholstery, small dents or scratches no larger than a coin and scratches on the headlights and taillights. The lessee should determine which items are cost effective to repair. Colorado Auto Body provides superior workmanship at a reasonable price to help manage the cost of leasing a vehicle.

Colorado Auto Body has been providing exceptional service since 1984. The staff combined has more than 150 years of experience in auto body repair. All technicians have completed industry and manufacturer training and participate in continuing education. Colorado Auto Body guarantees all work to ensure the customer’s satisfaction.


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