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Step By Step Guide To Contract Hire

Below is our guide to help you as a customer understand what is involved in leasing a vehicle. It is a step by step guide starting with the benefits of leasing cars through to returning your car at the end of your contract.

STEP 1 - Choosing your car leasing deal

The first step is choosing  a vehicle that suits your lifestyle and budget. To try and assist you in this process we have incorporated several ways of searching for vehicles on our leasing pages. Our main search asks for your postcode so that we can show you which dealers advertise deals for your area, they will appear first in your search results. If you know the vehicle you are looking for you can also select the manufacturer and model. If you don't have a specific vehicle in mind then you may want to use one of our other search options which include-  body style, manufacturer and budget (Please note when searching by budget this will show prices on set terms and mileages, changes to any of these will affect the monthly rental). 

STEP 2 - Finding a car leasing dealer

We don't allow brokers to advertise on our leasing pages (except for Tesla). Therefore this step has been made easier for you as all the deals on our pages are advertised by franchised main dealerships. 

STEP 3 - Choosing your term and mileage

The term and mileage on your lease affects your monthly rental therefore it is important to consider your requirements carefully before taking out your contract. You should try and estimate the distance you will travel as accurately as possible to try and avoid excess mileage charges at the end of your contract. We are aware that even if you do take the time and select the term and mileage best for your circumstances, these can change mid contract, if this is the case then we would suggest contacting the finance company.

STEP 4 - Applying for finance

Once all the key decisions are made and the dealership has sent you a quote that you are happy with, they will ask you to complete a finance application. The form usually requests personal information i.e name, address, employment details. Occasionally the finance company will request additional information to support your application such as bank statements or proof of address. 

STEP 5 - Ordering your lease car

Providing your finance application is approved, the dealer will then order your car. Dealers may have different processes in place but usually they will request confirmation either in the form of an order or confirmation email asking whether you wish to proceed and place an order for your lease car. 

STEP 6 - Delivery of your new vehicle

Delivery (unless otherwise stated) will be free to any address nationwide in the British Isles, deliveries to Northern Ireland are only to the nearest port on the British Isles. When your car is delivered it will normally be on a transporter or driven by a delivery company. We recommend that you do the following checks when your car arrives.

  1. Check for any damage, scratches, missing extras, your warranty and service book, alloy wheels etc. If any of these are not as ordered we recommend you decline the delivery and do not sign the delivery note. However if it's a minor detail and you still wish to sign for the car then we recommend that no matter how minor it is, you make a note of it on the delivery note and inform the dealership.
  2. Check the mileage, if the car has been driven as a delivery method it may have several hundred miles on, therefore you need to note this on the delivery note so it does not come out of your agreed allowance.

STEP 7 - Keeping your lease car in good condition

Throughout the term of your contract you need to ensure the car is maintained to an acceptable standard, this means adhering to the service schedule and keeping the car in a roadworthy condition. Please check the parameters in the handbook at the beginning of the contract hire agreement. Maintenance contracts are available should you wish to include the cost of maintaining the car in your monthly rental, please look into this at the point of quotation.

STEP 8 - The end of the contract

At the end of your contract, we recommend if you wish to lease another car then you should start the process 3 months prior to the expiry date to arrange a vehicle in time for the return of your current vehicle . If you wish to  extend your current lease car then contact your finance company to discuss your options.. When returning your current vehicle which in most cases will be free of charge collection, we recommend you take detailed photographs of the vehicle prior to return.


  • Q. I can not afford the payments anymore?

    A. In this instance we recommend you contact the finance company immediately, do not leave it and miss payments as this will be detrimental on your credit. Most finance companies have departments that will help you chose the correct option to end your lease or arrange repayment plans.

  • Q. I no longer wish to lease a car what can I do to hand the car back?

    A. Most finance companies will allow you to return the car but be prepared to pay a cancellation fee which in most cases can be 50% of the remaining rentals ,however this can vary depending on the finance company.

We hope this guide has been informative and we highly recommend the car leasing product as a cost effective way to drive a quality car with often a lower monthly cost, If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact one of our experienced team.

The What Car? Leasing pages contain data on each car provided by CAP. You can also use our car leasing comparison tool to compare any vehicles you are considering to see which cars have the features and  equipment  you are looking for. 

Each deal on the website will show you the dealership the deal belongs, along with their contact details. The deals on the leasing pages are advertised by main dealerships from around the UK. 

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