Leasing a new car can take much of the hassle out of driving by bundling maintenance coverage into your monthly payments. But what exactly is included in leased car maintenance programs? Unfortunately leases do not cover all services unless you pay extra.
Here is an overview of what maintenance is typically included (or not) in an auto lease, along with tips for managing your responsibilities as a lessee.
Table of Contents
- Standard Lease Maintenance Inclusions
- What Maintenance is Not Included?
- Paying For Repairs and Uncovered Services
- Purchase an Extended Maintenance Plan
- Responsibilities of Lessees for Car Maintenance
- Wear and Tear vs Damage in Leased Car Repairs
- Returning a Lease: Inspection and Fees
- Insurance Considerations With Leased Cars
- Common Lease Wear and Tear Fees
- Key Takeaways on Lease Maintenance
Standard Lease Maintenance Inclusions
In a basic car lease, the following items are normally covered under maintenance:
- Oil changes
- Tire rotations
- Air filter replacements
- Wiper blade replacements
- Multi-point inspections
- Roadside assistance
- Manufacturer’s recall work
These basic services follow the factory recommended maintenance schedule for your leased vehicle’s make and model. They aim to cover the essentials.
What Maintenance is Not Included?
While leases include some basics, you’ll still pay out-of-pocket for:
- Wear and tear repairs – Brakes, tires, alignments, etc.
- Major services – Transmission, coolant flushes
- Damages – Accident, weather, vandalism repairs
- Enhanced features – Satellite radio, navigation updates
- Customizations – Tinting, accessories
- Going over mileage limits
Review your specific lease terms closely so you understand what’s covered in your situation before signing. Don’t assume all maintenance is included.
Paying For Repairs and Uncovered Services
For items not included in your lease maintenance plan, you must pay to have them performed yourself. Options include:
- Paying for uncovered service at dealership rates
- Visiting independent shops for maintenance and repairs
- Doing DIY basic maintenance if you are capable
- Using auto repair insurance to offset unexpected repair costs
Budgeting a few hundred dollars yearly for uncovered service needs is wise.
Purchase an Extended Maintenance Plan
Some automakers offer extended maintenance packages for lease customers that expand the number of services covered:
- Can extend duration to 4-5 years total
- May include brakes, batteries, belts, hoses
- Covers major mileage-based services
- Provided by the manufacturer
- Adds to monthly lease cost
Evaluate if the extra peace of mind is worth the cost over leasing base maintenance.
Responsibilities of Lessees for Car Maintenance
Leasing a car comes with obligations around proper maintenance to avoid fees:
- Follow maintenance schedule – Stay on top of factory specified service intervals to protect warranty status.
- Get work done properly – Have covered services performed by qualified techs and documented.
- Save service records – Keep documentation of all maintenance work in case of questions when returning vehicle.
- Avoid unauthorized repairs – Self-service, cheap shops may impact warranty coverage if issues arise.
- Note damage immediately – Document any new dents, scuffs or damage to avoid blame when returning lease.
- Handle unpaid services – Take care of items not included like wipers, brakes and filters.
- Stay under mileage limits – Fees get expensive if you exceed maximum miles allowed.
Wear and Tear vs Damage in Leased Car Repairs
An important distinction exists between normal wear items and outright damage on a leased vehicle:
Wear – Considered natural aging such as brake pads, worn tires, fading paint. Acceptable within limits.
Damage – Caused by incidents like crashes, road debris, hail, vandalism. Lessee responsible for repair costs.
Make sure you understand this difference before signing a lease. Damage beyond wear may require expensive fixing before returning the car.
Returning a Lease: Inspection and Fees
When a lease ends, the vehicle undergoes thorough inspection checking for:
- Unrepaired damage beyond normal wear
- Missing maintenance services
- Excessively worn items like tires, brakes
- Mileage over limits and related fees
- Overall cleanliness and condition
You are responsible for any repair costs noted. Return process goes smoother having properly maintained vehicle and stayed within mileage.
Insurance Considerations With Leased Cars
Leasing also comes with modified auto insurance needs:
- Liability coverage is mandatory to drive away legally
- Collision and comprehensive should be carried to avoid large damage bills
Review policy limits and deductibles when starting lease. Paying a bit more upfront protects against expensive repairs down the road.
Common Lease Wear and Tear Fees
Some common lease-end fees related to condition include:
- Tires – $100+ per tire to replace if excessively worn
- Brakes – $300+ for pads and rotor resurfacing or replacement
- Damage repairs – Wide range based on severity. Small dents to major bodywork costs.
- Deep interior staining – $150+ for tough stains warranting carpet/seat replacement
- Windshield chips – Around $25 per small chip, more for cracks
Properly maintaining your leased car throughout your contract term eliminates most return fees.
Key Takeaways on Lease Maintenance
- Basic services like oil changes are included, but not all repairs
- Lessee responsible for uncovered items and damage
- Extended plans available to expand service coverage
- Save all maintenance records as proof of care
- Note damage immediately and complete needed repairs
- Returning a properly maintained lease smooths process
Knowing exactly what maintenance is and isn’t covered under your car lease contract allows you to budget wisely so unexpected fees don’t hurt your wallet in the end.
Leasing a vehicle does bundle in certain basic maintenance services like oil changes for convenience and peace of mind. But limitations exist on what is covered before you must pay out-of-pocket as a lessee. Following your vehicle’s factory maintenance schedule diligently, budgeting for inevitable uncovered repairs, and properly documenting service history ensures an optimal leasing experience. That small extra effort preserves your leased vehicle properly so that turning it in is seamless.