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What Counts as Fair Wear and Tear at the End of my Lease?

What Counts as Fair Wear and Tear at the End of my Lease?

When your lease has ended on your minibus or van your vehicle will be inspected.  Finance companies realise that if a vehicle has been used for a number of years there is no possibility of it being returned in perfect condition. 

Normal usage will result in a few scratches and bumps, finance companies are aware of this and allow for a certain amount of imperfections.  These allowances are called fair wear and tear and outline the minimum standard your vehicle should be returned in.  There are 3 versions of the guidelines one for cars, one for light commercial vehicles and one for HGV’s.

Many people worry about which type of damage will be covered under the term ‘fair wear and tear’ but the BVLRA create the industry standard, so no matter which finance company your lease is with the BVLRA guidelines will apply to you.  Here is Rivervale Leasing’s mini guide to fair wear and tear on light commercial vehicles …

General Advice

It is advisable to thoroughly check your vehicle at least a month before the end of the contract.  This gives you time to recognise any damage outside of the fair wear and tear guidelines and rectify it yourself before your vehicle is collected.  When inspecting your vehicle it is best to have thoroughly cleaned both the interior and exterior.  A clean and dry vehicle inspected in natural daylight will give you the best chance of spotting any damage that will need repair.

If you have enjoyed sat nav or connected your phone it would be wise to delete any personal information such as regularly visited destinations for protection of your own personal data.  Remove all your personal belongings - check under the seats and in all the storage areas, you will be amazed how easily pairs of sunglasses and old socks can hide for years in vehicles!

What you should return

The golden rule here is – if it came with the vehicle, send it back with the vehicle!  This includes but may not be limited to;

  • Keys, including the spare and both must be functional so flat batteries must be replaced
  • Owner’s manual
  • Service history record
  • Any radio code cards supplied
  • All emergency equipment supplied e.g. warning triangle
  • Spare wheel or tyre mobility/inflation set
  • Valid MOT if this applies to your vehicle
  • Any optional equipment ordered that is not fixed such as tow bars, roof rails etc.

Outside the vehicle


Small scratches that measure up to 10cm that could be removed using mechanic polishing

 Any dent that measures up to 2cm whether on a bumper, grille or panel

√ Stone ships that cover less than 25% of the panel

 On non-painted or textured bumpers any scuff or scratch up to 10cm

√ Any discolouration on bumper, grilles and panels that is due to normal external factors such as the weather

Not Accepted

x Any advertising stickers or glue residue from stickers

x Any more than 2 dents per panel

x Stone chips are developing corrosion

x Any scratch over 10cm whether it can be polished out or not whether they are on the bumper grille or on a panel

x Any dent over 2cm on the bumper, grille or panel

x Corrosion of any type

x Incorrect repair work or repainting work that shows a colour difference

x Any paint discolouration that is seen to be caused for example by incorrect chemical usage

x Any breaks or cracks in bumpers and grilles

Tyres and wheel rims


√  Tyres will the legal minimal tread of 1.6 mm

 1 scratch scuff or abrasion on the face of the wheel trim that measures under 10 cm

 1 scratch, scuff or abrasion on the border of the wheel rim that measures under 10 cm

 Not Accepted

Any scuff, scratch or abrasion that measures over 10 cm

x  Any bulges, cracks or cuts to the tyre

x  Any deformity to the tyre, wheel trim, wheel cap, wheel rim or alloy

x  Any tyre with a tread under the legal limit of 1.6 mm

Windows, lights and external mirrors


 Any stone chip under 1 cm on the windscreen that is not in the driver’s line of sight

Stone chips to the surface of light casings that have not caused a break in the casing

Any scuffing scratches or abrasions up to 5cm on mirror casing

Not Accepted

x Broken glass or non-operational lights

x Any chip or crack larger than 1cm regardless of where it appears

x Any deformation of the mirror and/or mirror case



 Any stains that will be successfully removed by general cleaning

 Seats that show deterioration due to normal usage

 Discolouration due to day to day usage

 Any added phone fixings can be left so long as they are properly fitted

Not accepted

x Any soiling or unpleasant odour that is not likely to be removed by general cleaning

x Any cut, abrasion, tear or deformation of inside materials e.g. seats, carpets and floor mats

x Holes, spaces or gaps left from the removal of equipment

x Any missing seats or mirrors

Loading area, sills and seals


√ Any scratch, scuff, deformation, dent or bump of the loading area sills and seals that will not be seen from the outside and does not interfere with the function of the doors

√ Any additional fittings can be left on the vehicle provided they have been fitted correctly

Not Accepted

x Any large dents or abrasions that have been caused by improper loading or poorly secured goods

x Any area of corrosion

x Any holes in the loading floor

x Any damage to the interior lining that impacts upon the use of windows, doors or any other fitting

x Any missing lining or lining that has become ripped or torn.

If you have been leasing your light commercial vehicle from Rivervale Leasing we will happily supply you with the full guidelines to study!

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The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.

Van related news
13 July 2016
Written by Natalie Faughy
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