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End Your Lease Without Getting Dinged

Here is how to avoid unnecessary dealership fees.

Many people don’t realize that when they return their car from a lease they often get stuck with extra charges they were not expecting. In some cases these fees can be excessive, especially if you are returning your vehicle with dents and scrapes that were not there when you drove it off the lot. Here is a quick breakdown of what the dealership will be looking for when they do their end of lease inspection, and how to prepare for it to save some dough.

What they are looking for

Most manufacturers look for damage in these general categories:

  • Mechanical problems: With the engine or any of the car’s systems.
  • Dents, dings, scratches and scrapes: On the car’s exterior, bumpers and wheels. “Curbed” wheels are a frequent issue.
  • Cracks, stars or excessive pitting: In the windshield and other windows.
  • Abnormal or excessive wear: To the tires. They’ll also be looking for mismatched tires.
  • Tears or stains: On the upholstery that can’t be cleaned or repaired with normal refurnishing.

How They Charge You

Dealerships charge you a fee to repair any of the above types of damage. The fee they charge you will tend to be a flat fee per repair, and not the exact cost on their end to repair the damage. That means that end of lease repair charges are profitable for the dealer. What options do you have? Well, for many of these problem areas you could have the repairs done yourself BEFORE the inspection to save yourself some money in the long run.

Repairing Mechanical Problems

If you are not a mechanic, the only way to fix these issues is with a certified shop doing the work for you. We recommend that you get a mechanic you can trust and nurture that relationship for as long as you can. We like to point people to Parkside Motors for their convenient location, great staff, and long history in the city. Check them out and they will give you an honest rundown of what your car needs, and what it doesn’t.

Repairing Scratches & Dings

This is where you bring the car to Island Color. We can repaint any small scratches and chips, repaint and repair damaged bumpers or rocker panels, and fix any pitting in your clear coat caused by negligence. We do it for way less than your deductible and get your car back to you (in most cases) in a day or less.

Repairing Curb Rash

“Curbed” rims are wheels that have been damaged by scraping them on a curb while parking or making a tight turn. Repairing these through the dealership is very costly, but we have a service that repairs all curb damage and repaints the rim to exact factory specs without even taking the rubber off. When you see rims before and after repair you will wonder why you ever waited to do it. At this price it is an absolute no brainer.

Repairing Dents

If your vehicle has small dents in the panels that are not severely creased and have not damaged the paint, there is a very simple inexpensive way to fix it. It is called “Paintless Dent Repair”. We work with a local company called Dentex to repair these types of dents. Their techs come to our shop while your vehicle is in for its refresher and they use long tools to massage the inside of the panels to gently bend the metal back into place. The panels look good as new without any costly bonding and repainting. It is like magic!

The Final Word

One thing that many people don’t realize is that dealerships, in general, do not do any vehicle body work like rim repair and paint touch-ups. In fact, most dealers in the city bring their damaged vehicles to us to repair them. That means that if you return your vehicle at the end of its lease with damage, they bring the car to us to fix it and send you a marked up service bill. You could just cut out the middle man and have the work done by us in advance. That way you get a clean bill of return from the dealership and leave with more green in your wallet. It really does pay to plan ahead.

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