If you have had a lease car before, you will probably know about recharges for excess wear and tear. Any damage which is beyond what the BVRLA deem to be normal wear, incurs a penalty recharge. Over the course of a few years any normal car is likely to pick up chips in windscreens, chips on the door edges, small dents on the body panels, scuffs on bumpers and wheels, and a whole host of other minor damage… unfortunately, very little of this is deemed to be fair wear and tear Security posts .
A lease company doesn’t make its money on the car it has leased to you until it had taken it back and sold it on. Obviously the more money they get for it at resale, the more profit for them, so ideally they want it back with low mileage and in tip-top condition. Effectively you are paying for the cost of devaluation in your standard lease payments, but if you damage the car and devalue it further, this will be charged back to you in the form of penalties.
If you do incur damage, and every body does, it is usually cheaper to have the damage repaired yourself than to pay the penalties, but by far the best solution is to avoid the damage in the first place.
Most of the damage you are likely to incur is actually avoidable with a little forethought and by breaking some of the bad habits and carelessness you have had in the past. Very little of the advice given here will come as any great surprise to you.
The first thing to say is to keep your distance when driving. This will reduce the amount of stone chips you get (as well as being safer for everybody on the road including yourself). Try to avoid eating or drinking in your car, and whatever you do, never smoke in a lease car. This will avoid stains, cigarette burns and foul odours, all of which can incur penalties (huge penalties for smoking!).
…and that’s pretty much all you have to do for day-to-day driving! Most of the damage your car picks up actually happens either when you are parked-up or in the process of parking, so choose your parking spaces carefully.
Take a look at where you park at home and at work and see if they are really the most suitable. Try and park away from overhanging trees as these will result in your car collecting bird droppings and tree sap, both of which can permanently damage your paintwork. In high winds, acorns, conkers, twigs and branches can also fall on your car causing dents or scratches.
You should also park away from places where people are going to walk around it or try to cross the road. For example, parking on the road opposite the entrance to a footpath, alleyway, youth club or community centre would be a really bad idea. Preferably you should park in an area with high visibility which is well lit, this will help avoid vandalism. When looking for places where you can park on a regular basis, look for obvious hazards such as concrete bollards, low walls and chain fences and high curbs. Sadly these kind of thing are often placed in such a way that you cannot see them when reversing, and yet they are just the right height to scuff bumpers or alloy wheels.