Leasing a car: the benefits and pitfalls - Looking after your car

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Part of the initial leasing process is to decide whether you want to take out a contract with maintenance costs included or not.

Typically, companies will include maintenance as it provides a fixed monthly cost and reduces the hassle of trying to get repair work done.

This can suit private individuals, too, although it's important to work out the comparative cost of getting the work done yourself to see which offers the better deal.

Use whatcar.com's car data to help estimate running costs.

Generally, the higher your annual mileage, the more viable a maintenance package will be. As a rough guide, if you drive 20,000 or more miles a year, then a maintenance package is worth investigating, especially as manufacturer warranties typically run out at 60,000 miles.

Likewise, if you lease an older car then its warranty is likely to end before your lease term, making a maintenance package more attractive.

During the lease period, you must get the permission of the leasing company before making any changes to the car, such as fitting a mobile phone kit or tow bar.

Typically these will have to be removed when the car is returned and any damage repaired. You can do this job yourself, or leave it to the leasing company, which will typically charge a premium for the job.

All lease agreements will outline what constitutes reasonable wear and tear. For additional information, it's recommended you order a copy of the British Vehicle and Leasing Association's Fair Wear and Tear Guide, which is available by clicking here

The guide outlines the industry standard on what damage is acceptable – but be sure to check your paperwork, as not all lease companies follow it.

You will have to pay for anything greater than reasonable wear and tear, unless your contract stipulates an allowance for some damage.

GAP insurance offer in association with What Car?


Leasing a car: the benefits and pitfalls - Are there other financial implications?

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