BVRLA Fair Wear And Tear Guidelines Explained

When you go to lease a car, the company you go through should give you a copy of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) ‘Fair Wear and Tear’ guidelines. Essentially the guide is an industry standard of what is and isn’t accepted when it comes to damage on your leased vehicle.

Maintaining your lease car throughout the course of your agreement will save you facing a nasty bill when it comes to collection day. Read on to discover what’s an acceptable condition to keep your lease vehicle.

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What is Fair Wear and Tear?

Fair Wear and Tear refers to damage, which is incurred through deterioration from normal use, not driver error or being involved in an accident. The BVRLA have some clear-cut guides when it comes to the standard of upkeep on a lease vehicle.

The funder, provider and leasing company involved in the leasing process will always look to this industry standard when assessing the condition of its lease vehicles at the end of each deal.

If the car you’ve leased doesn’t meet the minimum criteria stated in the guide then this will be noted on the report, along with a cost for repairing the damage and/or replacing any missing items.

How much will I be charged for damage beyond fair wear and tear?

Charges for damage not caused by normal use will vary depending on the manufacturer and model of your chosen vehicle. However, it’s good to have an estimated cost for repairing the most common damage.

  • Bumper dent repair – from £160.
  • Small dent repair – from £195.
  • Repairing small deep scratch – from £135.
  • Repairing excessive chips – from £135.
  • Repairing wheel scuff – from £50.
  • Replacement tyres – from £100.
  • Replacement keys – £100-£150 per key.

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What if I have a maintenance package for my lease car?

When you go to lease a car, you’ll almost always be given the option to take out a maintenance package for the vehicle. You can also add them to your existing agreement mid-contract, subject to your finance provider agreeing to amend the details and monthly price of your deal.

In both cases, the maintenance cost will either be added to the monthly rental payments or can be taken out separately.

If you decide to choose a maintenance package for your new car, you’ll be covered for most repairs, servicing and MOT costs. However, Fair Wear and Tear still applies, so any damage caused by accident will fall outside of this cover.

What’s included in a maintenance package?

car headlights

The usual cover offered by a maintenance package includes:

  • Replacement tyres.
  • Battery, lightbulbs, wiper, belts, alternators can be replaced if regular use has worn them down.
  • MOT – if your agreement is 36 months or longer, it’s your responsibility to arrange for the lease car to have an MOT at an approved garage. A maintenance package will cover the price of the check.
  • Servicing – for example, oil or air filter checks are included in the price.

What’s not included in a maintenance package?

Although a maintenance package protects you for the most common forms of damage caused by normal use, there are exceptions you need to be aware of before handing back the keys.

These are:

  • Windscreen repair – this is usually covered by most comprehensive insurance policies, so be sure to look out for this when insuring your leased car.
  • Repairs and replacements caused by driver error – as mentioned before, a maintenance package won’t cover repairs or replacements for damage caused by you, which includes putting the wrong fuel in the car.
  • Missing or broken accessories and items – anything which is stolen or vandalised in a leased vehicle will fall to the insurance company.
windscreen repair

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What condition should my lease car be in?

The Fair Wear and Tear Guidelines are a comprehensive insight into how every part of a lease car should be kept prior to your agreed collection date.

Your vehicle doesn’t need to be in showroom condition and the inspection agent will expect some signs of use from the 2-4 years you spent with the car.

It’s generally advised that you should prepare your vehicle for inspection 10-12 weeks before the car is due to be collected. So you know what to look for when you do these checks, here’s what the BVRLA say about how every lease car’s condition should be.

General appearance

glass chip
  • No rust or corrosion on bodywork, vehicle trim, or on alloy wheels.
  • The vehicle must be roadworthy, and no warning lights should be illuminated.
  • There should be sufficient fuel (residual charge in the battery, if an electric vehicle) for collection/return of the vehicle.
  • Vehicle’s exterior should be sufficiently clean, while inside valeted and cleared of rubbish.
  • If vehicle contained a smoker’s pack, the ashtrays must be emptied and the cigarette lighter in its place.
  • Repaired chips (3mm or less in diameter), dents (15mm or less in diameter), and scratches (25mm or less in diameter) are acceptable if work is completed to a professional standard.

Maintenance, servicing and repairs

  • Vehicle must have been serviced and looked after according to manufacturer’s schedule.
  • The service book, if supplied with vehicle, should be date-stamped by repairer/workshop as evidence.
  • If service record is electronic, evidence of any servicing should be supplied.
  • Any repairs to vehicle before return should be done to professional standard by repairers who can provide full warranty on their work.
  • Unauthorised odometer changes are not allowed.
  • Any odometer malfunctions must be reported to the leasing company.


  • All vehicle documentation must be intact and available inside the car. when returned (operation manual, service record booklet, any other document relating to vehicle and its equipment).
  • V5C registration document and MOT receipt (where appropriate).


  • A full set of keys, including any spares and locking wheel-nut keys, should be returned if originally supplied.

Badges, emblems and labels

car badge
  • Badges, emblems, labels, logos, and advertising livery applied to bodywork or glass of the car should be removed before returning vehicle.
  • Applying and removing should be done professionally, and any damage incurred from this is not acceptable.

Soft and hard top convertibles

  • Convertible roofs must be fully operative and free from damage, rips and tears.

Panoramic roofs

  • The roof must be fully functioning, with no chips, cracks, or holes.
  • Surface scratches (no more than four) are acceptable provided they can be polished out.

Windows and windscreens

  • Light scratching is acceptable provided it does not interfere with the driver’s line of sight and the heating elements and the ADAS (automated driver assistance systems) still work properly.
  • Windscreen wipers must be present, secure and in good condition.
  • The washer reservoir must have sufficient liquid.

Door mirrors

car door mirror
  • Missing, cracked or damaged door mirror glass and housing units are not acceptable.
  • If adjustable and/or heated door mirrors, they must work correctly.

Lamps and lenses

  • All lamps and units must work.
  • Minor scuff marks or scratches (25mm or less) are acceptable.
  • Holes or cracks in the glass or plastic covers of lamp units are not acceptable.

Tyres and wheels

  • All tyres, including spare, must meet minimum legal UK requirements and comply with manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • There must be no damage to sidewalls or tread.
  • Make sure there’s no uneven wear due to under- or over-inflation.
  • Dents on wheel rims and wheel trims are not acceptable.
  • Scuffs up to 50mm on total circumference of the wheel rim and on alloy wheels are acceptable.
  • Any damage to wheel spokes, wheel fascia, or hub of the alloy wheel is unacceptable.
  • There should be no rust or corrosion on the alloy wheels.
  • Spare wheel, ‘spacesaver’ jack and other tools must be intact, stowed properly and in good working order.
  • The emergency tyre inflation kit, if supplied when new, should be in full working order, serviceable and ready to use.
  • A canister that has been partially or fully discharged must be replaced.

Mechanical condition

car engine
  • The vehicle should be returned in safe, legal and reliable mechanical condition, capable of passing an MOT test.
  • Engine and brake system should not be displaying any warning lights.
  • Advisory illuminated alerts are acceptable (e.g. countdown to vehicle’s next service).
  • Brakesno grooved brake discs caused by excessive wear and tear.
  • Engine must not be seized or damaged due to running without enough oil/coolant, or with broken internal components.
  • Manual transmission excessive wear and tear is the clutch slipping, noisy clutch and gearbox, or excessively worn/ineffective gear changes.
  • Automatic transmission a noisy gearbox or torque converter, abrupt gear changes, or loose gear linkage are not acceptable.

Vehicle underside

  • Any impact damage to the vehicle’s underside is not acceptable.
  • Catalytic converters not working because of obvious abuse or damage are not acceptable.


car interior
  • Interior upholstery and trim must be clean and odourless, with no burns, scratches, tears, dents, or staining.
  • Carpets should not have holes and all seats originally supplied must be present.
  • Door aperture, boot, boot linear and luggage areascratches on treads, sills and seals that reflect normal use are acceptable. Torn or split coverings and damaged surrounding trim panels are not acceptable. Accessories such as parcel shelves, load covers, boot liners, restraining straps and nets must be returned within the vehicle.

Equipment and controls

  • In-car entertainment equipment, telephones and navigation systemsall original equipment, accessories and controls must be present and operate correctly (sat nav discs, SD cards and remote units, headphones etc.)
  • If accessories such as car telephones and other non-standard equipment have been wired-in or mounted on the dashboard, any holes or other damage must be repaired when they are removed.
  • Aerials must be left in place or holes from removal replaced.

Driver safety equipment

  • All original fitted equipment (reversing cameras, adaptive speed controls etc.) should be present and functioning properly.
  • Any replacement equipment fitted should be of a similar standard and specification to that originally supplied.

Are you coming to the end of your lease agreement and want to know everything about returning your vehicle? Then check out our complete guide to returning a leased car.

Want to know more about leasing? Our handy guides page can answer all your FAQs.

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