7 tips for looking after your leased car

When you lease a vehicle through Zero Deposit Car Leasing, you will have the option to add a maintenance package for used car deals whilst brand-new cars will already include some level of maintenance cover. 

Nevertheless, there is an expectation that it is the driver’s responsibility to take care of their leased vehicle. Advice about looking after your leased vehicle can be found in the vehicle’s log book (V5C), or obtained from the leasing provider or dealership where you get the car from. You can also find the relevant details, including servicing information on the vehicle manufacturer’s website.

Adopting good maintenance habits allows your car to stay safe, clean, and enjoyable to drive. Of course, there is some wear and tear expected, as outlined in our article Returning a leased car: everything you need to know. However, if you’re taking reasonable care and driving sensibly, maintaining the upkeep of your leased car won’t be difficult. 

Here are 7 tips for looking after your leased car to ensure that you’re doing your part…

Leased car: Service and MOT

7 tips for looking after your leased car - a service and MOT

Service and MOT should be at the top of your list when it comes to car maintenance. It’s also beneficial to you. An annual service ensures that your car is running at its best and that it ticks all the boxes for when it’s time to return the car back to the leasing provider.  

Servicing means that a mechanic can check the vehicle’s safety components and also help to identify anything that could become a bigger issue later on, such as the condition of your brake pads. This is useful, not only for driving safety, but also for helping to avoid costly repairs in the future. It’s a good idea to mark a date in your calendar as a reminder for when your car is due a service. 

Keeping the vehicle in road-worthy condition is also an obligation that you agree to under your leasing contract. You must ensure that service history is kept up according to the vehicle manufacturer’s servicing and maintenance schedule. Failure to service the car when it’s due or provide evidence that shows you have upheld your duty to annual servicing during your lease, can result in a penalty fee.

When it comes to the MOT, leasing contracts under three years won’t require the driver to carry out an MOT. However, if you choose to lease for more than 36 months, an MOT is an essential part of vehicle maintenance and is due annually just like a service. Make sure your leased vehicle has an updated MOT certificate as not having one is in direct violation of the Road Traffic Act 1972 and means that the vehicle is not fit to be driven on public roads. You will likely be fined, or prosecuted if your car’s MOT is out of date and has no legal documentation to show it. 

Leased car: Check your tyres every 4 to 6 weeks

This goes without saying. Your tyres are the legs on which your car stands and their health is paramount to safe driving. You should pay attention to your tyres every four to six weeks, or more frequently if your commute is long, or if your car really clocks up the miles. 

Keep tyres inflated to the correct pressure, and check their alignment when you have the vehicle serviced. Poor tyre conditions could lead to unwanted incidents such as blowing out in busy traffic or losing traction in bad weather. Your vehicle’s recommended tyre pressure will be in the vehicle’s manual. You can also use TyreSafe’s online pressure checker as a guidance. 

Leased car: Look out for dashboard messages

When looking after your leased car, look out for warning signs

Often, cars really do know best. Most cars on the market right now will have dashboard warning messages to inform drivers if there is something wrong. Cars will show you when your tyres are under pressure, if there’s an issue with your engine, brakes, and even your oil and coolant levels. The car is literally working to alert you and all you have to do is keep an eye on the dashboard for any new signs. 

You can use the vehicle’s operating manual to familiarise yourself with what each warning light means and what you will need to do to fix it. If you receive a red light warning, the issue is urgent and you’re urged to pull up in a safe place, stop driving, and switch the engine off. In most cases, until you heed the warning sign and repair the problem, driving the vehicle will be considered unsafe to drive. 

Leased car: Check under the bonnet

You’ll find that a number of maintenance elements on your checklist can actually be carried out by yourself. Case in point: fluid check. Lift up the hood and ensure that all four of the fluid types – coolant, brake fluid, windscreen washer, and oil, are filled up to the required level. For those drivers who have leased an EV, you can put an X through “oil check”. 

Leased car: Look after the interiors 

Looking after your leased car means keeping it clean

When you return a leased vehicle to the leasing provider, they will expect the upholstery and carpets in the car to be in good condition. Asides from anything that falls under the BVRLA’s fair wear and tear rules, interiors should be odourless, burn and scratch-free, with no tears or stains. 

The vehicle’s floor covering should not have any holes, tears or splits. This can be avoided during your lease simply by getting some car mats which will automatically help to keep the carpet clean and in good condition.

Leased car: Repair chips, scuffs and scratches

There is a good chance that during your leasing term, you will incur small chips, scuffs, or scratches. This includes chips, cracks, and holes in the windscreen too. For bodywork defects, some leasing providers may allow you to arrange for minor repairs to be fixed before returning your vehicle. The damage should be fixed to the highest professional standard, and come with proper documentation of the work. 
The windscreen should meet MOT standards, and it is recommended that you replace any defects to avoid the charge for replacement at the end of your lease.  It’s important to note that if you have the windscreen repaired or replaced, it must be recalibrated to match the manufacturer’s specification.

Leased car: Wash and clean 

Probably the most obvious part of vehicle maintenance, ensure that the car is kept clean – both inside and out. A monthly trip through the car wash and valet is recommended. Also, ahead of returning the car, a clean exterior will allow for the visual check to run smoothly.

Leasing with Zero Deposit

When you lease a vehicle through Zero Deposit Car Leasing, you can rest assured that looking after your car is our priority too. For new cars, you will receive a maintenance package that includes delivery, road tax, breakdown, and warranty. Whilst used cars can benefit from our company-wide Hippo Protect which comes with lifetime warranty, annual servicing, and breakdown cover. Check out the full list of what’s included here.

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