Looking after your Leased Vehicle – What do you need to know?
This page has been created as a guide for our customers in regard to looking after your leased vehicle and the standards required upon your vehicles return. This page is only a guide; you should always consult your manufacturers handbook when having your vehicle serviced, and prior to its collection.
The BVLRA (British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association) is the UK trade body for companies engaged in vehicle rental, leasing and fleet management. The BVRLA represents both Contract hire for Businesses and Private individuals.
The BVRLA work to ensure the standard of both the delivered and returned vehicle.
Servicing your Vehicle
It is important to have your vehicle serviced regularly to ensure that essential safety components are in check. This not only ensures your vehicles safety and efficiency, but also enables early detection of minor issues that could become expensive further down the line. Under a lease contract you- the contract owner – are obliged to follow the maintenance schedule as outlined in the vehicle guide, insufficient evidence of this can lead to a penalty being charged.
When are you due a service?
In the vehicles operating manual, you will be able to find the ‘service intervals’; these are the important age and mileage indicators you must be aware of, therfore it is important to check the manual and find out this important maintenance information.
Pease be aware that even if you have paid for a maintenance package it is still your responsibility to arrange for these services and checks.
To find the appropriate garage or repair site you are advised to contact your leasing provider for information regarding appropriate locations offering the correct standard of servicing/repair required. It is important that you make sure the garage will conduct any tasks under the manufacturers procedures, and use original parts, or those of equivalent quality. Make sure at the end of a service the service booklet is date stamped by the garage as evidence of the check. If a booklet is not provided, then make sure to keep hold of your receipt.
You should always request a detailed receipt clearly stating the breakdown of costs to understand your total bill, ensure they include all parts, any re-calibration, labour costings and VAT.
What about dashboard messages?
Keep an eye for any dashboard messages! If you are unsure what a warning light means and what to do about it, then you will be able to find the answer in your operating manual. It is important to follow all outlined protocol when any of these messages appear to ensure the vehicle is operating safely and efficiently.
Urgent messages will usually pop up in red, if this occurs while driving you must find a safe place to stop and turn of the engine immediately.
- Check your tyre pressure every 4-6 weeks
It is important to regularly check your tyre pressure; if they are in poor condition, you may lose traction in poor weather or lose air on a busy road which can be dangerous. To find out your vehicles necessary pressure consult the operating manual.
- Windscreen damage
Any scratches dents or chips must not interfere with the driver’s line of sight. If the screen does not meet the MOT standard, then it must be replaced. If you do have the windscreen replaced it must be in accordance with the manufacturer’s specification.
- MOT Certificate
If your leased vehicle is 3 years old or more, you must get a current MOT certificate and arrange for an annual MOT. It is chargeable offence to be on the road without a up to date MOT.
- Upholstery and Carpets
The leasing company will expect the vehicles interior to be clean, and odourless without burns, scratches, tears or stained. Floor coverings should not be ripped or damaged. The BVRLA advise you purchase in-car mats to help maintain the condition of your vehicle.
Fair Wear and Tear
Fair wear and tear refers to the expected signs of use on a vehicle when used normally. This should not be confused with any damages caused due to negligence or an accident.
Upon the retuning of your vehicle an inspector will check to see any damages that fall beyond the realms of ‘fair wear and tear;’ you will be liable to pay for anything in excess of that deemed normal.
These guidelines are the same for both personal and business hire, however, do differ depending on the type of vehicle i.e., Car, LCV’s, or HGV’s. The BVRLA do provide general guidelines as to what constitutes as fair wear and tear for each vehicle type, however, you must follow the guides provided by your finance provider in order to avoid any unexpected costs at the end of your contract. This guide will be provided when the vehicle is delivered.
Here are some things that are commonly missed and can result in penalties.
- Damage to wheels and trims
- Chips and dents
- Scuffs and scratches to paintwork
- Tears, burns, and stains on upholstery.
- Tyres – the tyre tread must be at least 6mm (or whatever is stated by your contract provider) they must also meet all safety requirements outlined by yoour vehicle provider.
- Ensure all provided charging cables are present upon inspection
- Fully charge your vehicle
- In colder months it is advised that you preheat your vehicle prior to the inspector’s arrival.
Preparing to return your vehicle
Before returning your vehicle, it is important to take all the necessary preparations to ensure sufficient time to fix any issues discovered and avoid any unwarranted penalties. The BVRLA advise you inspect your vehicle up to 12 weeks prior to its return date, you can do this yourself or to ensure nothing is missed, hire an approved inspector to look at your vehicle before arranging a collection date.
Here is some advice to help you avoid penalties if you are conducting your own inspection.
- Make sure to check your vehicle in daylight, this is the lighting that your inspector will be using so make sure you don’t miss anything by imitating this.
- Give your vehicle a thorough clean inside and out, dirt and stains can hide damages which may later be uncovered if your vehicle is not clean upon return.
- Remove any Personalised number plates.
- Check your vehicle Check your car one panel at a time and make sure to check each section at different heights to make sure nothing is missed. And don’t forget to check all glass, mirrors, alloys, trims, and tyres for damages.
- Check all interiors. This includes upholstery, dashboard, and any extra equipment your vehicle has.
- Finally make sure you have all the relevant documents ready including the owner’s manual, all evidence of services and maintenance carried and an up-to-date MOT (if required) etc. Make sure to remove/cover any sensitive personal information before handing over these documents to ensure your privacy and security. This also goes for any data stored within the vehicle, such as Bluetooth devices, Satellite Navigation etc.
Your Vehicle is Ready to be collected. Now What?
Once you are confident that your vehicle meets all the collection requirements and standards you will need to arrange for it to be collected.
- Approximately 6 weeks before the end of your contract you should get a call from your funder to arrange a collection date that is convenient for you. If you have not heard from your funder by the time it gets to 4 weeks prior to the official end of your contract, then you should contact your provider to arrange a collection.
- Once a date is confirmed a fully qualified BVRLA Inspector will be sent to inspect and collect your vehicle.
a) Given your vehicle is fit for collection and has no chargeable damages it will be taken away and you will not expect to receive any penalties.
b) If the car is road worthy but is liable for penalties, then you will be talked through these with the inspector and you will have the opportunity to take any photos, notes etc. in anticipation of a penalty, the inspector will ask you to sign a condition report once they have finished this review. At this point you do have the ability to dispute the damage claims which you will be required to detail in a provided document, this will not necessarily reduce your penalty, however, will encourage a prompt review by your funder. The vehicle will then be taken, and you will await any charges.
c) If upon collection the car is deemed not road worthy (i.e., has not got an MOT or has too much damage) then the collection will be aborted, and you may be charged a cancellation fee. You will then be expected to fix anything deeming the vehicle unsafe and rearrange a collection date.
For more specific details on the requirements for your vehicle prior to its collection you should consult your driver’s manual.
If you have any other questions regarding the collections process, don’t hesitate to contact our team : we would be happy to gather any extra information you require.