But why am I being inspected?
When you initially leased your car, somewhere in your lease agreement you agreed to not inflict any more than the necessary “wear-and-tear” on your leased vehicle. Meaning that an inspector has to sign off that you, in fact, did not inflict said wear-and-tear, and that you can return your car at lease-end without having to pay extra charges.
The entities that are actually concerned about the wear-and-tear (and subsequently, the inspection) is the leasing company, not the dealership – as the leasing company is actually the entity that owns the car. The leasing company will often use an out of house third-party inspection company to take care of it, and others will use the dealer to inspect the vehicle when you return your car.
Fine, but what does an inspector even do?
Pretty self-explanatory – an inspector will inspect your car (exciting stuff, we know). They usually have a checklist with them to make sure everything is as it should be, and will probably take pictures of damaged spots. You get a copy of his report at the same time that he sends it to the Leasing Company, so that you can quietly complain to yourself about how unfair it is at the point where you can’t even do anything about it anymore (kidding, you could always notify the leasing company if you have any disagreements).
Keep in mind, just because the inspector might be super detailed about every little thing that is damaged about your car, it doesn’t mean the leasing company will hold you liable for every little problem – they only charge you for “excessive wear-and-tear.”
What are inspectors primarily looking for?
We’re glad you asked! They look for:
- Botched repairs – if you previously got into an accident and wanted to repair it on your own, make sure they do a good job before inspection
- Big dents
- Big scratches
- Cracked glass
- Badly scratched/modified/patched wheels
- Broken or not working equipment/headlights
- Modified equipment
- Mechanical/engine problems
- Damaged seats/interior
Alright, but when should I get my inspection done?
As early as possible! Getting it done as early as you can give you time to repair things that the inspection company called attention to in order to avoid extra fees – the costs of these repairs are usually less than the amount the leasing company will charge you. In this case, make sure you keep receipts and have your repairs documented accordingly, as the leasing company may call for a re-inspection.
What if I’m not sure what to repair?
Read your leasing contract before you do anything! In your contract, the leasing company outlines exactly which damages they will be charging you for, so that way you can spend money only on what they care about – nothing more, nothing less.
By the way, we should talk about tires.
Yes, we should. Most leasing contracts require that no more than 1/8 of tread depth at the lowest wear area of any tire on your car. Also, if you changed your tires during your lease term, it’s required that all tires are the same size as the original tires and that they’re part of a matching set.