7 Ways To Maintain Your Next Car Lease Deal
Leasing a car can be a convenient and suitable arrangement for the modern driver. Not only do you get to drive a brand new car, you can also opt not to deal with maintenance and never have to worry about selling the car on once your contract is finished.
However, car leasing does come with some guidelines that every driver should be aware of.
Without proper maintenance and care, there might be a chance that you’ll be penalized by your leasing provider. Make sure to follow a key set of rules and there’s a high chance you’ll walk – or should we say drive – away without any repercussions at the end of your lease!
Below, you’ll find a helpful list of things to consider when caring for a car being leased.
1. Lease with the right mindset.
When driving a car on a long-term lease it’s easy to forget that you don’t own the vehicle. We drive to work in it every day, use it for family holidays and do our school runs in it. Essentially, we treat it as if it’s our car. Leasing companies want customers to be happy and comfortable in a lease car, but it’s important to never forget that the car will one day be returned (unless there’s a buy-out option).
Keep the following in mind:
- When driving, avoid taking risks and driving on adverse terrain.
- Try not to fit into tight spaces or park in areas where the vehicle could be damaged. Even minor bumps, scratches and dents will all put you at risk for an extra charge.
- With everyday use, it’s important to be mindful when using the car. Store things in your vehicle with care, and don’t throw things into the car at the risk of damaging the doors or trimmings.
At the very least, always treat the car is if you’re renting it and will have to return it. A good exercise – a strange as it sounds – is to imagine that you’re borrowing a friend’s car. In time, this mindset will become second nature.
2. Keep the vehicle maintained
Many of us are guilty of ignoring maintenance checks when we own a car, but when leasing one we need to make more of an effort. Letting any of these minor things slip could result in a bigger problem further down the line. A problem that costs us more money in the long term and threatens our chances of getting our next lease.
Keep an eye on the little things:
- When leasing a vehicle, it’s essential to keep it maintained on a basic level. Things such as water, oil, brake fluid, windshield wash, tire pressure are all basic things that keep the vehicle well maintained.
- When taking out your lease, there is the option of including maintenance in your contract payments. If you’re the type of driver that doesn’t mind paying a little bit extra, this will afford you the luxury of having all your maintenance catered for.
You can simply leave your vehicle with the maintenance provider, and all outlined elements will be taken care of. This will also, down the line, increase the chances of you successfully passing your MOT.
It’s important, as always, to ensure that you know exactly what is being covered during your lease so that nothing is left to chance.
3. Be aware of your servicing and MOT
While chances are your provider will alert you to when services or MOT checks are due, but ultimately it’s your responsibility to make sure this has been adhered too.
- Keeping the vehicle officially up to date will mean there are fewer questions put to you when it’s returned. This matters much less on a short-term lease where services and MOTs may not be required or are already included.
- The average MOT is scheduled after 3 years, or 36 months, after the vehicle is obtained. This will provide a good guideline for you as to when your MOT scheduled, in alignment with the type of contract you’ve taken out.
By regularly following maintenance procedures, you’ll likely have no trouble passing your MOT. This ties into the previous point, as regular maintenance and successful MOTs often go hand-in-hand.
4. Avoid modifications, unless contract-related.
While cosmetic modifications can seem necessary, they should be avoided if not provided by your leasing company.
- At the start of your lease, you’ll be given the option to include necessary additions like roof racks or protective bars to your vehicle.
- Adding these yourself – without your leaser’s prior consent – means that they’re likely your entire responsibility to remove at the end of the lease, as well as any damaged incurred from doing so.
- Other non-functional additions like racing spoilers, or body kits, will almost always be your responsibility and expense to remove.
As always, it’s crucial to lease with the mindset that the vehicle is not yours and that it’s important to be mindful of what happens to it during your contract. That’s why adding a spoiler to the back of the car, for example, could be a risk to the paintwork if not installed/removed with care. Even adding stickers can leave a mark and when the day comes to return the car, such things could cost you more money than they’re worth.
When leasing a car check with the provider as to what freedoms you have and stick to it. Insurance companies won’t pay out for decisions that were made purely for aesthetic reasons.
5. Wash the vehicle regularly
A clean car is a safer car. Those of us who buy a new car will initially take pride in it, washing it frequently, but in time the novelty wears off and we take less and less pride in our vehicle.
- Letting a car gather dirt and dust after multiple journeys is bad for its overall maintenance.
- Grime builds up and over time and this can have a detrimental effect on the car and bodywork.
- Regular washes remove this dirt and keep the car in a better condition for a longer period.
- Clean the vehicle frequently inside and out to keep it well maintained.
A good way to keep up this habit is to always be mindful that the car will need to be returned. With this approach, one will be incentivised to wash it regularly knowing that it will contribute to less chance of a penalty later down the line.
6. Know and adhere to your mileage
Long-term leasing comes with a mileage allowance. This is determined when the lease is established, based on a driver’s most regular and important trips. It’s something that can easily be miscalculated, so it’s important to know how to do this:
- On a Sunday evening, write down every essential trip you need to take in your car every week.
- The next morning, set your odometer to 0 before starting out driving.
- Make note of every trip you take, the distance and whether or not you left anything out the night before.
- At the end of the week, double-check your entries.
- Do this every week for a month until you know exactly where you’re driving every month and how far.
- Calculate this distance by 12, for each month of the year.
It’s important not to extend the truth to obtain a lease, or underestimate how much mileage is required, as you will be penalized by your leasing company for this mistake. Driving more miles every single year means that the car depreciates faster based on extended use, a cost you’ll ultimately end up being responsible for.
7. Read and understand your terms and conditions
While this may seem obvious, it’s something that very few of us fully take the time to do.
- While your leasing company probably did a fantastic job of explaining how the lease works, it also falls on you as the driver to know exactly what your contract entails.
- It’s important to remember that they wouldn’t have been able to tell you every single detail during the sign-up process.
- Therefore, it’s important to read your terms and conditions, know what’s expected and what isn’t. And, if you have any questions, ask the company for clarity so that you’re not left unsure.
While this may seem like a trivial point as it’s not related to the physical care of the car, it’s essential for a long-term lease. Knowing what’s entailed in your lease and not what to do with the car is just as important as what you also do with it.
In fact, by maintaining a good mindset towards leasing and sustainable driving habits, there’s a much greater chance that your lease will be worry-free for the duration of your contract, as you’ll have all your bases covered!