Should I repair scratches on my leased car?

Scratches over 25mm are deemed beyond fair wear and tear, and you can be charged for them.

The question then becomes, can you repair then, how do you repair them, and how much will that cost? The answer depends on how deep the scratches are, how big they are and how many of them. Unfortunately, it is not easy to give a simple answer.

Scratches that aren't deep can sometimes be polished out completely. If they are a little deeper, you may be able to reduce them. As an example, a scratch which is 30mm and chargeable might be reduced to 20mm with polishing.

This issue is further complicated because sometimes, you don't know unless you try. 

You will always be charged if the paintwork is broken. This means if the scratch is through to the primer and/or metalwork. However, this can be remedied with a touch of paint.  This might get you out of a recharge if the scratch is low down on a sill or on the underside of a bumper, but it's unlikely if it's in the middle of a bonnet, boot, or roof. 

So what happens if you do have a scratch that can't be polished out, and it is in a very visible area on a major panel? You could be charged the panel price, which is the cost of a bodyshop repainting that panel. This would likely be in excess of a couple of hundred pounds, but this recharge is likely to be a bit less than if you actually  had the panel repainted yourself.  So it might be worth accepting the recharge.

There are areas of the car where small area repairs or medium area repairs can be done. The corners of bumpers, sills, frames and possibly even the bottoms of doors under a rumble strip can be repaired without painting the whole panel.  This would be worth doing as it would be cheaper than the recharge for a panel price.

In conclusion, it is worth asking advice over scratches because depending on the situation, we might advise attempting polishing out, we might advise a smart or cosmetic repair, or we might advise accepting the charge. 

It's worth repeating that people spend too much money repairing lease cars. If you ask a bodyshop about scratches, they are likely to offer bodyshop solutions. If you ask a smart repair company, they will offer you smart repair solutions. When you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. 


Written by Danny Argent. Last updated 20/06/2022 16:44