Those four magic words: Fair Wear And Tear. Whilst you may feel that the true meaning behind this phrase is somewhat of a murky grey whirlpool of uncertainty, the truth is, in fact, considerably less sinister.

Fair Wear and Tear comes into play when a vehicle is returned to a leasing company at the end of an agreement. The vehicle is inspected for any damage, some of which may result in end-of-lease charges.

"Is this simply a ploy by the leasing company to fleece me out of every penny they can?" we hear you exclaim. The answer is no - the reason behind any end-of-lease charges is to compensate the owner for the decrease in value of the vehicle following any damage. The more damage to the car, the less the vehicle will be worth when being sold and the higher the repair bills to get the vehicle back to a standard agreed at the outset of the lease and to an acceptable condition.

All leasing companies who are members of the BVRLA (of which Pendragon Vehicle Management is a member) must follow the BVRLA Code of Conduct, which ensures all leasing companies trade fairly and responsibly in all dealings with their customers. Part of this agreement includes the Fair Wear and Tear guidelines, which have been put in place to protect the customer from being charged for normal, usually unavoidable minimal damage to a vehicle which inevitably occurs during the life of a leased vehicle, whilst also ensuring no companies are more lenient or strict when it comes to end-of-lease. A leasing company must accept certain levels of wear on a returned vehicle without charge to the customer.

We know it's nigh on impossible to keep a car in perfect showroom condition over a few years, even if you are the most careful driver on the roads. We'd rather the vehicles come back us in a clean, good condition than us having to charge for any damage, so we've put together an overview of what the Fair Wear and Tear policy covers, helping you to appraise your vehicle yourself and know what to expect when it comes to end-of-lease.

The Fair Wear and Tear Checklist

General Appearance, Documentation and Keys

  • Vehicle cleaned, inside and out
  • All rubbish and personal belongings removed
  • All original documentation present and the service book stamped
  • Both set of keys present, including spare keys

Paintwork, Bodywork, Bumpers and Trim

  • No rust or corrosion on painted areas
  • No scratches over 25mm
  • Only small areas of chipping
  • No dents over 10mm, with no more than two dents per panel, with an unbroken paint surface

Windows and Glass

  • Only light scratching on the windscreen which doesn't obstruct the driver's line of vision
  • No holes, chips or cracks in the windscreen
  • Working lights
  • All wing mirrors present without cracks or damage

Tyres and Wheels

  • All tyres meet minimum UK legal requirements (1.6mm tread depth on cars, with no damage)
  • No scuffs over 50mm on the entire circumference of the wheel trim or alloy
  • No damage to sidewalls or tread of tyre

Mechanical Condition

  • Vehicle meets current MOT standard
  • There is no damage to the vehicle as a result of neglecting services and/ or vehicle management systems as below:
  • Brakes do not have grooved brake disks or drums caused by excessive wear or metal to metal contact due to worn out pads
  • The engine is not seized or damaged due to running the vehicle with insufficient coolant, oil or with broken internal components
  • On vehicles with manual transmission, the clutch is not slipping, there is no noisy clutch or gearbox, or excessively worn or ineffective synchromesh
  • On automatic transmission, there is no noisy gearbox or torque converter, abrupt gear changes or loose gear linkage

Vehicle Interior

  • Clean and odourless upholstery with no visible burns, tearing or staining
  • All original seats in place
  • Holes and other damage attained from the removal of accessories are neatly repaired
  • Present and intact interior fittings, including seat belts, rear view mirrors, courtesy lights, sun visors and door bins

Equipment and Controls

  • All original equipment, accessories and controls (including satellite navigation disks) present and operating correctly
  • Aerial in place or hole neatly repaired

To avoid any unexpected charges, we advise you inspect your vehicle yourself 10-12 weeks before your vehicle is due to be collected, giving yourself time to get any damage repaired in time. When appraising the vehicle, be objective and carry out the checks in good light to ensure nothing is missed.

For more information on Fair Wear and Tear, visit our Driver Centre.