As drivers, we all bear the responsibility of looking after our business or personal contract hire cars.
Keeping your car spick and span requires a great deal of love, affection, and regular servicing.
Servicing your car is a necessary demand that will be outlined in your lease agreement. On top of that, it’s also an integral part of the manufacturer’s warranty.
It’s in your best interest to keep your lease car in good condition to avoid any high garage charges as a result of failing to meet the BVRLA fair wear and tear guide when you return your leased vehicle at the end of the contract.
In this article, we’ll explain exactly why you need to service your lease vehicle, whether maintenance and servicing is included in your lease agreement, what’s involved in a service, as well as, how often you’ll have to service the vehicle over your lease period.
Do I have to get my lease car serviced?
Without a doubt, yes you do. Not only will you have to get it serviced regularly, you’ll have to get it serviced on time and at the recommended service interval.
Even if you wanted to dodge your vehicle's maintenance and servicing, the car leasing company will inevitably check your service history when you return the leased vehicle.
Once the leasing company realise that the car hasn’t been serviced, you’ll be front and centre to receive a catalogue of hefty penalty charges that will outweigh the costs of actually servicing your car.
While agreeing to your lease contract, you will be reminded that your are responsible for the vehicle's maintenance and upkeep. The leasing company will have made it very clear that they want the vehicle to be returned in a safe and roadworthy condition.
If the vehicle doesn’t meet the conditions of the BVRLA’s Fair Wear and Tear guide, you’ll be liable to incur extra charges, so it’s important to keep up-to-date with your services.
Is maintenance and servicing included in my lease deal?
Maintenance is an optional cost that is not included within the monthly payments on your lease vehicle.
The additional maintenance cost includes all of the cars servicing, mechanical and electrical repairs, plus any further labour costs for a set monthly cost. If you opt for the maintenance package, this must be confirmed at the point of vehicle order. It can’t be added halfway through your lease deal, so think wisely before making your decision.
To help you with your decision-making process, we’ll provide you with a run down of the features that a maintenance contract usually includes:
- Mechanical and electrical repairs or replacements, with industry standard parts and labour costs due to fair wear and tear.
- Batteries, Bulbs, Cam Belts, Exhausts, Wiper Blades, Alternators & Starter Motors.
- MOT Tests (If required)
- Unlimited Premium tyre replacements including valve and balance.
- Free mobile tyre fitting service (Appointment necessary)
If you decide against the maintenance package, you will be solely responsible for all maintenance and servicing costs throughout your lease agreement.
Is it worth paying for a maintenance agreement?
The million dollar question. In most cases, we’d say it’s a no-brainer to add maintenance cover onto your lease. Although, there are a few situations where it may be worth the gamble.
If you have agreed to a lower mileage lease deal (around 10,000 miles), then it might be more cost-effective to pay for servicing as you go. As you’re not going to be forking out on replacing your tyres or brakes over the contract, the only real costs you will incur are going to be basic alterations such as oil or filter changes.
However, it’s always worth getting a quote beforehand, to determine whether it’s worth the risk.
On the other hand, if you’re on a higher mileage contract (around 30,000 miles) it may be worth opting for the additional maintenance cover for peace of mind.
Due to the fact that the maintenance company has considerable buying power when it comes to labour costs and parts, it’ll more than likely work in your favour to pay for a maintenance agreement.
As you’re on a higher mileage contract, there’s no hiding away from the fact that your lease vehicle is going to have to be serviced multiple times so it’s probably worth paying the cover to avoid any hefty garage charges.
Maintenance costs will usually cover routine services on top of fair wear and tear items like brake pads and wiper blades.
What’s involved in a Service?
Think of a car service as the car’s masseuse/doctor. It’s a chance to inspect and replace all of the parts that have been worn down over time through day-to-day deterioration.
When a car goes in for a service, it gets the full treatment - a full check-up, an inspection for any worn or damaged parts, as well as, safety and reliability tests.
Although easily mistaken, it’s important to know that a car service is completely different to an MOT. Even though MOT’s check the majority of things that a service does, an MOT focuses on what parts of the car need to be replaced to ensure the car’s safety.
A car service will then actually replace the parts that have been identified by the MOT, as well as, fixing or replacing parts to aid efficiency and performance too.
How often are the service intervals on my lease car?
Service intervals will vary depending on your lease vehicles’ make and model. Nonetheless, it’s recommended that you give your car a full service every 12 months or every 12,000 miles.
This comes down to parts such as the oil and brake pads needing more routine check-ups.
As we’ve mentioned, every car has different service interval requirements. Our advice is to go and check your manufacturer's handbook to find out what specific parts need replaced when.
Depending on the manufacturer, requirements for your car’s servicing may warrant more than the standard yearly full service.
It’s common for some manufacturers to suggest a basic or interim service. This usually involves the lease vehicle going in for a visual inspection and a top-up of essential fluids like brake fluid, steering fluid and antifreeze to name a few.
You’ll also get your cars’ oil and filter changed in the meantime. The basic or interim service usually happens every 6 months or after every 6,000 miles to ensure your car stays in tip-top shape.
It’s also sound advice to keep an eye on your dashboard. If your servicing light, or any other light is illuminated, there’s probably something wrong with your vehicle or it needs a service. If you’re unsure about what each light symbol means, make sure you’ve got your vehicle’s handbook in an accessible place - it’s your car’s holy grail.
Should I use a main dealer to service my lease car?
If you have agreed to maintenance cover in your leasing contract, you’ll have to get in touch with the finance company to book your vehicle into an approved garage for its service.
If you’ve decided to handle maintenance yourself, you’ll have to sort out your own arrangements for the vehicle to be serviced.
The majority of finance companies will recommend you go to a local main dealer to get your vehicle serviced. If you want to find the most conveniently located garage to your house, most manufacturers’ websites have a dealer locator search engine. Simply punch in your postcode to find your most easily accessible dealer.
Nevertheless, if you’d prefer to use your local garage for your service there are a few requirements the garage must meet. The garage must be VAT registered and must provide legitimate manufacturer parts to be used on the vehicle. For example, a genuine Volkswagen suspension must be fitted onto a Volkswagen lease vehicle.
Once the car has been serviced, make sure the service light on the dashboard has been reset and that your service handbook has been stamped. This will be checked when you return your leased car at the end of the contract.
It’s handy to note that select finance providers such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz demand their lease vehicles be serviced at an accredited dealership. Make sure to check your finance documentation before booking a service to ensure you aren’t breaking any contract agreements.
Will my maintenance agreement cover tyres?
Again, this varies depending on the maintenance agreement you have chosen. Some agreements will cover tyre costs/replacements, although some cover will not. The onus falls on you to make sure you double-check everything before signing.
Some maintenance cover will also include a fair usage policy. This gives you some security if your tyre was to get a puncture due to the amount of miles you’ve driven on it. If the tyre has done around 15,000 miles and is halfway through its life, the maintenance company will pay for half of the new tyre and you will pay the other half.