Like most Americans, if you decide to return your car to the dealership after the lease period is over, there are a few things you need to look out for in order to avoid any costly dealership charges or fees.
Depending on the car and the agreement you have with the dealership, some damages do not need to be paid for out of pocket. During this time, it’s best to go over your lease thoroughly and see what requirements the dealership has for lease returns.
Although each dealership is different, most dealerships will have a checklist of damages they are looking for when you return your lease, since the car will be sold as a used car on their lot after your lease is over.
For instance, the interior must be in good condition, without any rips, tears, or smoke damage.
When it comes to exterior damages such as paint and body, the dealership may have a more lenient stance.
For instance, if a scratch is less than 4 inches in length, they may let you get by without having to pay. This information should be in your lease agreement. You can also call your specific dealership and see what their return requirements are.
Fix Damages that You Can
Even if you are not mechanically inclined, many of the damages that result from car ownership can be fixed in your own home. If you have scratches on your car, you can order the exact dealership grade car paint (often in the form of a pen or spray can) to repair any damages on your car.
The cost of repairing the damage yourself will most likely be much cheaper than what the dealership charges, which is roughly $100 per hour not including any parts or materials.
If there is damage to the car that you cannot fix yourself, try getting a quote from a local body shop first. More often than not, they can fix the damage at a much lower cost than the dealership would charge you.
Dealerships will also look at the condition of the glass, lights, and also the tires of the car. Depending on your contract, you may be required to pay out of pocket or replacement tires.
When you return your lease, you’ll be in need of a new car. CrediReady has a massive network of trusted dealers and verified lenders that work with buyers in all credit situations. Take a few moments to fill out our free and confidential auto loan inquiry form today to see how much you can save on your next auto loan!