What Happens At The End of a Car Lease?

What Happens At The End of a Car Lease?

It’s time to say goodbye to that beautiful car that you’ve had on lease for the last few years. We all know car leases are the ideal way to make sure that you have the newest cars released every few years – but you need to take care of them properly. 

There are very few things as enjoyable as having a new car parked on your drive, ready to go. But there are some considerations for you when it’s time to give your vehicle back.

What Happens At The End of a Car Lease?

Each company is likely to have a different process, but the chances are you will be contacted a couple of months before your lease is due to end. The car leasing company is going to ask you if you want to take out the lease on a new car, and then they will go to the steps to arrange when to collect the vehicle that you currently have.

Ideally, though, you should try to make sure that you have it pinned on your calendar when your lease is due for renewal, because sometimes it will be down to you to arrange when the car will be picked up. Thankfully if you have an account with us and opt for email updates on your vehicle we will email you in advance of your lease ending to let you know.

Car Inspection

The head of the car collection of vehicle inspectors will come out to make sure that the car is clean and ready to go. The vehicle inspector will check out the car and look for things like wear and tear, mileage, and they’re going to use the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) guidelines to do this.

So it pays for you to be aware of the BVRLA guidelines too.


Sometimes your car lease company will offer you an extension to the lease that you have. This will usually come down to what kind of car lease you have. For contract hire and personal contract hire agreements, there is usually an option to extend for a limited period of time. For personal contract purchase, the option is often to pay for ownership of your vehicle. You can read more about the differences between PCP and PCH leases in our dedicated article.


In order for your lease car to be able to be collected, you’re going to need the car’s registration number, your address and telephone number, you’re also going to need to decide your preferred collection date and any other information that your car lease company asks you for.

With many leasing companies, it is possible to arrange the collection of your old lease car and the delivery of your new lease car for the same day. This is incredibly convenient for most people, but it really will depend on how advanced you have been in arranging your next lease. Which is why it pays for you to remember when your contract is due for renewal.

Damaged Lease Car

If you know that there has been some damage to the car, it will be your responsibility to get it repaired before you hand the vehicle back in. If you don’t, you are likely going to be charged. The leasing company has a duty to have their car fixed. However, they are unlikely to try to get the most cost-effective solution because this bill will belong to you. 

When you make sure the car is repaired before it is returned to the leasing company, you will have some control over the garage you choose. However, it is likely that there will be a list of approved garages. So make sure you only use garages that have been approved first.

Lease Vehicle Damage Inspection

Damage does not just include anything from substantial accident damage. This actually will consist of missing keys, documents, service history, windscreen chips, wheel damage like curb scrapes, dents and scratches.

If you are under the impression that the damage you’ve been charged for comes into fair wear and tear, or was not actually present when the car was collected, you are free to contact the BVLRA and make them aware of the situation. However, their decision will be final. This is why it is a great idea to make sure that you have taken photos of the car before it’s collected. This is the only way you will be able to dispute any possible damage claims.

Excess Mileage

When you sign your lease deal, you will be given a mileage limit. This is typically between 8000 or 10,000 miles per year. And if you’re going to exceed it, you’re going to have to be prepared for the costs that come with it. The price is going to vary depending on the lease company used, and again with different manufacturers. 

Lease Vehicle Dashboard

But in general, you can expect to pay between a few cents/pence and a few dollars/pounds per mile over the limit.

We thoroughly recommend you to create a free account in which you can add your lease vehicle and mileage reading to get live information as to whether you are over your allowance and by how much.

It is a good idea to make a note of the excess mileage charge, and be very aware of the miles per year that you have agreed to. This will stop you going too far over.

General Wear and Tear

Of course, when you drive a car daily, there are going to be some small things that will come under fair wear and tear standards. The fair wear and tear can only occur when normal usage causes deterioration to the vehicle. And this should not be confused with damage. Damage occurs as a result of a specific event, like harsh treatment of the car, neglect, omissions, inappropriate storing of items, or impact.

What comes under ‘wear and tear’ is an industry-wide accepted standard, so you should pay keen attention to any guides that you receive when you initially lease the car.


Before you return the car as mentioned above, there will be an inspection. While this does look for wear and tear, and damage, the inside of the car should be clean. It is a good idea to get your car detailed as well as repaired. 

This will mean that the carpets inside the car and the seats don’t hold any smells, crumbs, or stains.

Car Detailing

Ideally, you want to return the car in the best possible state. This will keep your relationship with the car lease company in a positive light, and you will avoid all of the potential charges. 

So take care of the vehicle, and treat it well. So you can hand the keys back with confidence.