What is an acceptable repair?

The issue of acceptable repair comes up more than you might think, and is something we often find during our end of lease inspections

Typically, we see it in two forms. Either badly done body shop repairs, or smart repairs which were too ambitious and should have been a bodyshop repair. 

If you have had an accident and your insurance company has sent you along to a body shop to have the damage repaired and repainted, for the most part, these approved body shops do a very good job, which is how they got approved in the first place, but there is always the chance of getting a 'Friday afternoon' job. Typically, the clear coat is cloudy or has some orange peel. Sometimes it's a bad colour match. When you collected the car, you probably didn't notice, and your untrained eye may not know what to look for. It is even possible that you did notice but as you had it done through an approved body shop, you assumed the work was acceptable.

Unfortunately, the lease inspector doesn't much care if the bodyshop was approved or not. Nor if you were sent there by your insurance company, lease company or fleet manager. If they do not consider the work done to an acceptable, they will fail it, and unfortunately you are responsible. 

If you had the work done through your insurance company, you may have recourse and get them to send it back to the bodyshop to be done, if there is time. This is one of the many reasons we suggest starting to prepare your car a month before the return date.

If there isn't time, then we may be able to finish the work by flatting and polishing, but if the paint is a bad colour match or is cloudy, polishing won't help much. Your other option is to pay to have the work redone or accept the recharges.

The other kind of repair we see which is unacceptable, is smart repairs done in un-smart places. They are supposed to be small area repairs and work best low down on a car or on the corner of a bumper. However, if you are willing to pay, it is not hard to find somebody who will attempt to do it on half a door or the corner of a bonnet. It very seldom works and is just a waste of money. The only solution to this is to take the car to a body shop and have it done properly. 

Aside from these two issues that we commonly see, any kind of repair which has been done which has not been done properly will likely be flagged. Even lease inspectors are subject to having tired eyes on a Friday afternoon, but if there is a substandard repair anywhere on the car, they will generally spot it. It is their job, all day, every day to examine cars in forensic detail. That means they will probably spot the misaligned door from halfway across  the car park. 

Our advice for the future is if you have any kind of repair done, look at it carefully and if you have any doubts at all, question it. Get a second opinion if you need to.

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