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Wear and Tear Guide

Vehicles are inspected for any damage that is deemed outside ‘fair wear and tear’ when being returned to a vehicle finance company at the end of a lease. Any excess damage that is identified will be liable to be paid in the form of lease-end penalty charges. The may vary depending on your contract and level of damage.

What are fair wear and tear guidelines?

Damage received to a lease vehicle through regular use is known as fair wear and tear. This type of damage is not caused by negligent driving behaviour, poor treatment, vehicle collision or accidents.

For personal and business customers, the same fair wear and tear guideline rules apply, albeit with differences depending on the vehicle type. The vehicle types are as follows:


Light commercial vehicles, including vans and minibuses (LGVs)

Heavy goods vehicles over 3.4 tonnes GVW (HGVs)

General guidelines on fair wear and tear are provided by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (the BVRLA), which is the trade body of the leasing industry. With the BVRLA, the rules must be accepted across the industry ensuring they are fair for all parties and easily understood.

Getting a copy of the BVRLA fair wear and tear guidelines

The BVRLA provides the general fair wear and tear guidelines, however each lease company has their own set based broadly on those of the BVRLA. These are the guidelines that must be followed.

If the end of your lease is nearing, please contact your sales advisor and request a copy of the fair wear and tear guidelines for more information.

What the guidelines contain

All information provided below is intended as a guide only. Please ensure you consult the official fair wear and tear guidelines for your vehicle before returning it.

To inspect the condition of the vehicle, the following areas and critiria will be inspected:

General appearance and road safety

Documentation and keys

Paintwork, body, bumpers and trim

Windows, glass, door mirrors and lamps

Tyres and wheels

Mechanical condition


Equipment and controls

Also included in the guidelines are:

An explanation on end-of-lease charges and why they exist

A guide on checking a vehicle for any damage before a handover

Example photographs to show acceptable and unacceptable damage on vehicles at the end of a lease

A glossary of terms and definitions, e.g. what constitutes an “abrasion”, “dent “or “chip”

Common issues

Some of the most common issues that result in paying lease-end penalty charges are:

Damage to wheel and trims

Chips or dents to the bodywork

Scuffs scratches and scrapes on the paintwork

Rips burns or holes in vehicle seats

Wear and tear guide for vans

On the whole, most of the guideline information for cars also applies to vans and they must be returned with no excess damage to areas outlined above. In addition to these areas, there are van-specific elements that will be inspected. These include:

Loading area, graphics and decals – scuffs, scratches, abrasions and dents that do not affect the function of the compartment are allowed. Considerable damage that was caused by improper loading is not permitted.

Additional roof fittings – Lights, beacons, aerials and other fittings are free to remain, as long as they are comply with legal requirements and are fully functional.

Vehicle checklist before collection

Keep in mind the following points to ensure the collection of your vehicle is as smooth as possible:

Have all keys, documentation and accessories ready to present

Inform your lease company if there is any outstanding damage

Remove all personal effects from the vehicle; these can include unrelated keys on the key fob, air fresheners, CDs etc.

If you have used the satellite navigation system on a vehicle, be vigilant and ensure that all personal information is deleted from it such as your home address.

After the damage inspection has been conducted, all damage deemed to be normal wear will be noted and you will be given the opportunity to agree on the condition of the vehicle.