Returning A Lease Vehicle

So, you’re coming to the end of your contract and aren’t sure of where to start when it comes to returning your lease vehicle. We’ve put together this guide so that you can feel informed and confident about returning your lease car.

What Happens at The End of My Contract?

So, when you come to the end of your contract term, your car or van is simply collected, and you are free to lease your next vehicle. We recommend organising a new lease around 6 months before your old one is due to go back so that you can work around any lead time; ensuring that your new vehicle arrives in time for your old one to be taken away.

We can arrange for your new car or van to be delivered on the same day your old one is collected so that you aren’t without a vehicle at any point.

Arranging Your Vehicle to Be Collected

Around 4-6 months before your contract is supposed to end, we will be in touch to get a new lease deal organised in time. The finance company will send you a letter or email informing you of when your vehicle is due to go back. It will ask you to give them a call to make the necessary arrangements for return/collection.

How To Prepare for Returning The Vehicle

The BVRLA advise that you carry out an inspection of your vehicle 6-8 weeks before your car is due to go back. This is so that you have time to arrange any repairs that may be required after you have inspected the vehicle. They have a Fair Wear and Tear Guide to help you go over the car and identify anything that isn't considered fair wear and tear. You can request this guide from the finance provider of your lease vehicle.

Before inspecting, wash and dry the vehicle as well as check it in good light to ensure that your inspection doesn’t miss any blemishes or damage that may be on the body.

Firstly, walk all the way around the vehicle and examine each panel closely for damage: the roof, the bonnet, the doors and the body. Be sure to observe each panel from different angles; crouch or kneel down at the front and rear of the vehicle and look along each side. This will help you to see any scratches or dents that may be difficult to spot.

Next check your lamps, lenses, windows and mirrors for chips, cracks and holes. The BVRLA Fair Wear & Tear Guide has an outline of what chips, dents and scratches are acceptable on the return of your vehicle so be sure to check the guide for these specific measurements.

Check the tyres (and the spare if applicable) for damage; check if the wear on the tread is even on all tyres. Inspect the wheels, wheel rims, wheel hubs and spokes for scratches, rust and corrosion.

Next, you should inspect the interior of the vehicle. Check the upholstery for odours, tears, burns, stains and wear. You should also get the vehicle interior cleaned and valeted before returning it as well. Inspect all controls; they should be present and fully functional.

Make sure to be objective and unbiased when inspecting your vehicle. If you are unsure, ask a friend or family member to help you. Once you have finished your inspection, arrange a repair of any damage that may have been discovered. This repair work should be done to a professional standard and by a trusted repairer.

We also recommend that about 6-8 weeks before your contract ends, you organise the removal of any private registration plates on the vehicle. You can read more about private registrations on our dedicated page.

You will also need to make sure you have all the necessary documents for your vehicle when it is collected like any MOT certificates, service history and contract documents. You also need to make sure nothing is missing from the vehicle which was there when it was delivered to you; two sets of keys, a tyre inflation kit, a locking wheel nut key etc.

Returning Your Car Early or Extending Your Contract:

If you have a change in circumstances during your lease term and need to hand back your car early, you will need to get in contact with the finance company and organise it through them. In most cases, you will have to pay an early termination fee to them which is normally 50% of the total remaining rentals left.

If it is nearing the end of your lease term and you would like to extend your contract, you will need to contact the lease company. They may be able to extend your contract, but this may not be available with all finance companies.

Any Questions?

If have any more questions about returning your lease vehicle, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us – we will be happy to help. You can give us a call at 0345 350 3776, send an email to or send us a message on our live chat service!