What is fair wear and tear?

Fair wear and tear is laid out in the BVRLA guide book called The Fair Wear and Tear Guide, and this booklet goes into detail about specific kinds of damages, what is acceptable and what is not. Therefore, if you have a lease car, it is worth asking your lease company to provide you with a copy, especially as the book contains other useful and related information regarding maintenance of your lease car.

Without repeating what's in the guide, it is worth discussing what fair wear and tear actually means, because in our experience, this phrase confuses some people and can lead to some upset... we are not unsympathetic to this.

Lease cars are most commonly leased out for three years and in a three-year life of a car, it is absolutely normal for it to receive some wear and tear.  Edges of seats might get worn, there may be a flattening of the carpet around the pedals. You will almost certainly pick up some door dents in the supermarket, some scuffs on the edge of doors, maybe a scratch or two, especially on the rear bumper around the boot. You may even pick up some bird mess stains. These are all normal, almost to the point of unavoidable.

So you might think that this is all fair? You could be forgiven for thinking that the lease companies won't mind if you return your car with some dents and scratches? However, you would be mistaken. 

It certainly wouldn't be unusual for you to clip a curb or bollard and scuff a bumper in the three-year life of your car. And although many people would shrug their shoulders and live with it, most would get it repaired. That is certainly what the lease company would expect you to do.

Likewise, minor scratches can be polished out, and small dents can be removed. The lease company expects you to repair these too, so they are not covered by fair wear and tear unless they are very minor. Generally, if it can be repaired, they expect you to repair it. If you don't, you could be charged if the total goes over a threshold

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