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How to take care of a lease car

If you look after your car, it will look after you. From general cleanliness to maintaining your car, it is important to take care of your lease vehicle. 

When leasing, it is essential that you take care of the vehicle to avoid any end of lease penalty charges when returning the vehicle. The vehicle must be returned in good condition which is part of your contract. Guidelines are based on the BVRLA standards for acceptable wear and tear, based on the vehicle’s age and mileage.

Vehicle Maintenance

How often should I be maintaining my vehicle?

Checking on the vehicle can help identify any minor damage on the vehicle, which if left can lead to bigger issues, such as costly repairs or unwanted penalty charges at the end of your lease deal.

10-15 minutes every few weeks should be set aside to check your car over. Checking oil levels and the vehicles lights should be checked every couple of weeks or before a long journey to ensure vehicle safety.

It is advised that you take your car to a garage every six to 12 months, depending on how many miles you drive. A mechanic can check your lights, steering, brakes and tyres are all working correctly.

Garages such as Kwik Fit, offer free vehicle inspections for added peace-of-mind and have the expertise to highlight potential concerns that should be addressed either now or in the near future.

What type of maintenance should I be doing on my lease vehicle?

Regular maintenance should be carried out to the following areas:

  • General appearance including paintwork, body, bumpers and trim 
  • Windows and glass, including windscreen and door mirrors 
  • Screen wash and windscreen wipers 
  • Vehicle Interior 
  • Mechanical components such as engine oil, lights and indicators 
  • Tyres and wheel pressure, tread and depth 
  • Vehicle security including keys and alarms


Regular cleaning of the exterior helps to prevent minor damage that can be caused by dirt which if left unwashed can cause your car to scratch, paint to fall off or lead to rust forming on the vehicle.

Not washing regularly can also cause the protective coat on the car to wear away meaning the colour could fade overtime. 

Walk all the way around the vehicle checking each individual panel for damage such as chips, dents, scratches and rust. Any bodywork should be fixed by a professional as they will provide a warranty for their work.

If you have taken out a maintenance contract when negotiating your lease deal, it is important that you speak to your finance provider in the first instance as they can advise you and authorise any repairs that may be required.

The vehicles windows should also be checked for any chips, cracks or holes on the outside and the inside, including a panoramic sunroof if the vehicle has one fitted.

There should be no damage in the driver’s line of sight and if there is it should be repaired immediately by a professional. Mirrors should be cleaned regularly to stop dirt from forming.

You should check that any adjustable or heated elements to the mirrors are functioning and that they are free from any chips or cracks. 

Cracked Windscreen
Cracked Windscreen

Screen wash should be topped up but be sure to check your owner's manual for how much fluid your washer reservoir holds as you don't want to overfill.

Windscreen wipers must be present, secure and in good condition. To check your windscreen wipers are in working order, raise the arms so that the wiper blades are clear of the windscreen.

Proceed to run your fingers along the rubber blade of the wiper and it should be smooth to the touch. If the wiper does need a replacement, you can easily do this yourself or alternatively take to a local garage. 

Checking your oil levels is essential and to do so the engine must be cold! If you've just driven your vehicle, wait a couple of hours for the engine to cool before checking as working with hot oil is incredibly dangerous.

How to check your oil
How to check your oil

Check your tyre tread and wheel pressure to ensure they are of a safe and legal standard. Before you check your vehicle's tyre pressure, it's essential to look at the manufacturer’s recommended PSI to ensure no tyre is under or over-inflated.

You can usually find this information in your owner’s manual or online. The legal tyre tread depth for cars in the UK and Europe is 1.6mm across the tyre's central three-quarters.

The tread of the tyre also must meet this minimum requirement across its complete circumference. To check tread, place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre.

If you can't see the raised edge around the coin, your tyre's tread is probably greater than 1.6mm and, therefore, legal.

If the outer band of the coin is visible when inserted, your tyre could be unsafe and may require a professional inspection.


According to a recent survey, we spend an average of 293 hours in our cars per year so keeping it clean and fresh is essential.

Start by removing any rubbish in the vehicle that could be gathered under seats and in the doors, anything that a vacuum wouldn’t pick up.