Any other hidden costs?

* Avoid the hit of depreciation... * ...just be sure to read the small print * Follow our guide to leasing a car...

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What Car? Staff
23 December 2011

Any other hidden costs?

There can be if you dont stick to the terms of the lease. Read these very carefully before you sign anything.

Its up to you to return the car with everything it came with, such as keys, sat-nav discs, manuals and a stamped service book. There must also be a valid MoT certificate, if relevant. The bodywork and bumpers will checked for scratches and dents, and windows inspected for chips and cracks. Upholstery will be examined for tears, stains and burns. If any damage is beyond fair wear and tear youll face a fee to cover the repair.

The BVRLA publishes a set of wear-and-tear principles, although these arent followed by every company and should be used only as guidelines. Damage that is beyond fair wear and tear is usually pretty easy to spot, however. Before youre due to hand back the car, give it a thorough once over, checking for dents, scratches and chips, and making sure upholstery isnt torn or stained. Also gather together all documentation, service history and any receipts for repair work and parts.

How to make leasing work for you: Click here to find ways to beat penalty feesIts also a good idea to take photographs of the car inside and out before you hand it back. Pay particular attention to marks, scuffs, dents and scratches.

Also, make sure the tyres are all in good order. One What Car? reader was charged a penalty of 694, despite the car being immaculate. His mistake? Inadvertently fitting tyres with the wrong speed rating. Most lease contracts specify that they have to be of the correct type, size and speed rating.

What Car? says
Leasing is a cheap and convenient way to run a car for those who arent bothered about owning the car. However, you should always make sure youll be able to adhere to the terms and conditions, otherwise you could end up with a lot of extra expense and inconvenience.