Lease Vehicle Return Checklist

When returning a leased vehicle, it’s important to perform a series of checks to ensure that you won’t be charged extra hidden fees for harsh treatment or negligent acts on the vehicle. Companies will perform a thorough inspection on the vehicle and if they find anything that links to the vehicle being damaged or mistreated, then they will charge you not just for the repairs, but also any extra fees that are specified in their contract.

This can end up costing you a lot of money and it could even affect your standing with the company that leased you the vehicle. You’ll be eligible to pay for excess damage that is outside of fair wear and tear and these will come in the form of penalty charges. Here are some of the common problems you should expect when you return your vehicle:

  • Any scratches that are over 25mm
  • Scratches under 25mm where the primer or bare metal is showing
  • Accidental damage and dents
  • Missing keys
  • Missing services and documents
  • Damaged interiors (including stains, rips, tears)
  • Chipped windscreens or windows
  • Alloy wheel damage
  • Car body damage

To help save you from having to pay excess penalty charges, we’ve put together a lease vehicle return checklist to ensure that you don’t lose money when returning a vehicle.


  • Thoroughly clean and wash the vehicle – The very first step should be to clean and wash the vehicle before examining it so you can remove any traces of dirt and grime so you can have a fresh examination of the vehicle.
  • Carry out an appraisal – Around 2 to 3 months before you return your vehicle, it’s a good idea to carry out an appraisal so you can arrange for any damage to be repaired before you return the vehicle.
  • Be objective and don’t leave anything – Don’t be subjective and say “that looks acceptable” if you see any damage. Think what the company would say instead and consider asking someone else to help you examine the vehicle.
  • Closely examine the details – Make sure you look at every little detail and check for scratches. Try to examine the vehicle in various lighting conditions to ensure you’re not missing anything.
  • Don’t forget to check the body – Don’t just look at the surface, look under the vehicle if possible and at the front and rear bodywork.
  • Check the wheels – Wheels can be damaged very easily if you’re not an incredibly careful driver. Alloy wheels can be damaged easily especially if you bump into a sidewalk, so make sure you check for any damage and have it repaired as soon as possible.
  • Examine the interior – Once the outside is pristine, it’s time to look at the interior. You should instantly clean up any liquid spills when they happen so that it doesn’t have time to stain the inside. Take a vacuum to the vehicle and clean up any bits of dirt, crumbs and other miscellaneous garbage. You should also ensure there are no funky smells inside the vehicle.
  • Inspect the dashboard and features – Make sure all of the electronics are in working condition before you return the vehicle. This includes safety features that you use, audio equipment and even accessories.


By following this checklist, you should have absolutely no trouble with returning your leased vehicle.

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