Getting Ready to Turn In Your Leased Car
Turning in a leased car is easier than you think.
Leasing a car is a practical choice for many businesses and professionals. Car leasing offers the latest models and only a one- to three-year commitment to drive the vehicle. This can allow you to stay flexible if you often move for a business, and you have constant access to the latest models. Whether your need is to provide cutting-edge car service or merely to get around for work, a leased car may fit exactly into your budget and needs.
But what happens when the lease is up and it’s time to return the car? Car leasing businesses have a very specific way to deal with this, and lessees should consider more than just rolling the vehicle back to the lot when the contract is through. To get the best value for your money and avoid any fees regarding the car’s condition on return, it’s always smart to get your leased car ready to return starting a few months before the end of your lease.
Turning in a leased car under mileage can be done if you plan.
Ideal Leased Car Turn-Ins Are…
- In Perfect Condition
To get the best experience and price, your leased car should be returned on time, under the agreed mileage amount, and in pristine condition. Of course, life happens and your car turn-in may not always be perfect.
You may have needed to drive further or more often than you expected, and no one can completely avoid those little ding-causing hazards on the road like flying gravel. That’s exactly why a little preparation before returning a leased car can go a long way.
What to Expect When You Turn In a Leased Car
Where to Return a Leased Vehicle
When you’re ready, you can try turning in a leased car with low mileage or any maintenance condition to any approved location of the same brand. This allows you some freedom of movement between the beginning and end of the lease. If you’re not sure, call ahead to confirm the nearest available location for you to drop off your leased vehicle.
Charges Due at the End of a Car Lease
- Mileage Overage
- Excess Wear
- Late Charges
- Disposition Fee
Expect a few changes at the end of a vehicle lease. Typically, this relates to mileage and wear. If you are not going to immediately lease or buy another vehicle, you will likely also have a disposition fee.
Mileage overage occurs when you drive more than the contracted miles per year of the lease. Excess wear includes almost any visible damage on the interior or exterior.
How to Avoid Extra Car Lease Charges
How do you avoid mileage overage and excess wear fees when turning in your leased car? Plan ahead for a clean, tidy, and under mileage lease return. Do your best to minimize these possible complaints.
6 Months Out – Calculate Your Mileage
Six to four months before you’re scheduled to return the vehicle, do a quick mileage calculation for an under-mileage car return. Your lease indicates an agreed-upon number of miles per year without penalty. Are you under your predicted mileage rate, or over? Do you drive more per day and per year than you expected or less?
Under or Over Mileage?
Take the current number of miles you have driven with the leased car and divide it by the number of months you’ve had the car. Then take that number and multiply it by the total number of months in your lease. Compare that to the total mileage agreement in your lease to determine if you are at risk of going over-mileage with your current daily routine.
Minimize Over-Mileage Costs
Turning a leased vehicle in with low mileage or under-mileage takes some planning. Over-mileage fees are typically charged as a few cents every mile, which can add up. This is why to check on your mileage about 6 months out – to give yourself a chance to simply reduce car use or a while to stay under before returning the car. If you will have to be over-mileage, you can reduce your risks by reducing your overage miles.
3 Months Out – Have the Car Inspected and Spot-Repaired
As you approach time to return the car, make sure it is in pristine condition. You can do this by having the car inspected, tuned-up, and repairing any visible or considerable damage that may have occurred along the way.
- General Inspection
- Exterior: Dents, Dings, and Scratches
- Interior: Scuffs and Stains
- Tires: Tread Depth
Compare the Costs of Repairs to Fees
Be prepared to pay for a few little repairs in the paint job and possibly new tires if yours are worn out. This will decrease any wear fees for your leased car, but don’t forget to compare prices. If the fees are lower than current repair costs, let the leased vehicle mechanics take care of the little upkeep tasks.
1 Week Out – Have the Car Detailed
Right before you turn in your leased car, have it detailed. Find a professional team to lay down the vacuum, fabric shampoo, and exterior was so that your car is as close to perfect as possible when you return it. Ask for the full detail package and enjoy how professionals find every crumb and pebble to remove. That’s why they call it detailing.
Detailing a car can significantly reduce the undue wear fees when returning a leased vehicle.
Do You Want Another Car? Save on Disposition Fees
Finally, decide if you want to lease another car when you return this one. If your work is not done in the region or you are ready to step up to the latest model, then you can avoid a disposition fee.
The disposition fee is an incentive to keep leasing. In other words, it’s the cost to close your leasing account. The disposition fee can be indefinitely put off simply by booking your vehicle leases back-to-back with the same provider.
Do your research ahead of time so that you can pursue your plans for a new lease or pay the disposition fee.
Return the Car and Walk Away
When you’re done, you can drop off your leased vehicle with its keys, pay any close-out fines, and walk away from the lease. This is another convenience that vehicle leasing offers.
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Recommended reading: What Does It Mean To Lease a Car?