What is end of lease cleaning?

When you return your car, it is expected to be in clean condition. The exterior needs to be clean so that it can be inspected for damage. But the interior also need to be clean and ready for sale, as after the car is collected from you, it will be sent to the car auctions.

While the lease company would love your car to be in pristine condition, so it commands more money at auction, you don't get rewarded for this, and you will only be penalized if the car is excessively dirty.  We advise that you meet the Fair Wear and Tear Standard and only spend as much money on cleaning as you need to.

There are companies offering End-of-Lease valeting, which might range in price from £100 to £200 and might include shampooing the carpets and a machine polish. While this is fine if your car has stained carpets and excessive scratches, it probably isn't necessary.

Unless you have specific problems like stains on seats, bad odours, or scratches, you can vacuum the car yourself and get it cleaned at the car wash. However, if you do have any issues, we suggest you do address them. We aren't suggesting you don't take this seriously, but there is no need to go overboard and spend a lot of money having your car professionally cleaned. 

The big one is odours, which usually means smoking or dogs. Evidence of either in the car is likely to earn you a recharge. Lease companies cover devaluation to the car by charging for the cost to put the issue right, and in the case of odours, this means they will charge you somewhere between £80 and £120 for the cost of a valet, which is grossly underestimating the scale of the problem, the cost of rectifying the issue, and the devaluation effect on the car.

At the moment, cars that have been smoked in are still selling, but the dealerships aren't buying them. They know how much it costs to put this right and the potential aggravation it can cause with customers, so just don't want to deal with these cars. We have predicted that in the future, the lease companies will catch onto this fact and greatly increase penalties for odour and with the economy heading in the current direction, this may well be sooner rather than later. 

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