Will I be charged for scratches at the end of lease?

You can be charged for scratches, and unfortunately they are a tricky issue. 

The subject of scratches can range from wash marks which are barely visible unless seen under the right light and can be easily polished out, to key-scratches which are through to the metalwork and run the whole length of the car, and would require the whole side of the car repainted. And so it is a difficult subject to cover even when leasing isn't involved, and complicated by things such as 'acceptable repair'.

The fair wear and tear rules say you are allowed scratches less than 25 mm as long as the paintwork isn't broken. You are also likely to be charged for a series of scratches.

What this means in practice is that sometimes we can do a lot. We have had 100 mm scratches with broken paint, and we have been able to polish most of the scratch out until there is only  25 mm and then touch in the small part where the paint is broken. This is borderline as to if it is an acceptable repair, but the alternative is having the panel repainted and the recharge reflects that price. 

The bottom line is that usually, a scratch will either polish out, which is cheap, or will require a re-spray, which is expensive. So it is often worth attempting to polish it out

Written by Danny Argent. Last updated 16/06/2022 15:51