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Fair Wear and Tear Guide

Fair wear and tear standards are a set of guides produced by the BVRLA for the vehicle leasing and rental industry which we apply to all our car leasing contracts. 

They aim to provide an industry-standard set of guidelines which define acceptable levels of fair wear and tear on a vehicle over the course of a rental or leasing period which the customer would not be held responsible for. 

These guidelines factor in that a certain level of wear and tear is a natural by-product of long-term driving and therefore an unavoidable result of an ageing vehicle - even with a customer's highest level of care. 

The guidelines also determine levels of wear and tear which are unacceptable and therefore constitute excessive damage which the customer may be held liable for in the form of additional end-of-contract charges. These charges cover loss of value resulting in a failure of adequate care.

The BVRLA guides 

The fair wear and tear standards provided by the BVRLA define levels of wear and tear with the use of descriptive text and images. The areas of the vehicle's condition covered include:

  • Vehicle interior 
  • Equipment and controls 
  • Mechanical condition 
  • Windows and glass 
  • Tyres and wheels 
  • Paintwork and vehicle body, including bumpers and trim 
  • Road safety 
  • General appearance, including documentation and keys 

Brief wear and tear guide examples

Note that this is only intend as a brief example guide and does not constitute the factual guidelines. The full fair wear and tear guidelines are available from the BVRLA or through your car leasing or rental provider. 


Acceptable wear and tear examples:

  • Light scratches up to 25mm in length (factoring in the vehicle's age)
  • Dents up to 10mm providing that paint is not chipped or broken 
  • Small areas of chipping 

Unacceptable wear and tear examples: 

  •  Any impact damage 
  • Scratches/chips over 25mm in length which expose bare metal/primer or have resulted in rust 
  • Multiple single panel dents 

Door mirrors

Acceptable wear and tear examples:

  • Minor scuffing or scratches without paint being broken 

Unacceptable wear and tear examples:

  • Missing Mirrors 
  • Cracked mirrors 
  • Damaged door mirrors 

Wheels and tyres

Acceptable wear and tear examples: 

  • Tyres which meet minimum legal requirements 
  • Minor scuffing up to 25mm long 

Unacceptable wear and tear examples:

  • Scratches, scores or other damage to the wheel surface 
  • Uneven treads and side wall damage 

Windscreen and windows

Acceptable wear and tear examples:

  • Any small scratches outside of the driver's line of sight

Unacceptable wear and tear examples:

  • Damage within the driver's line of sight 
  • Chips, cracks or holes in the glass 


Acceptable wear and tear examples:

  • Minor scuffs or scratches up to 25mm long

Unacceptable wear and tear examples: 

  • Cracks or dents 
  • Deep scuffs and scratches, especially where paint has been broken 

Interior and upholstery

Acceptable wear and tear examples: 

  • Clean and tidy with light upholstery wear 

Unacceptable wear and tear examples: 

  • Cuts, tears, burns or permanent staining 
  • Damage as a result of fitting any interior equipment 

Decals and sticker placement 

Acceptable wear and tear examples: 

  • Any decals placed must be fully removed with no glue residue remaining

Unacceptable wear and tear examples: 

  • Any damage or glue residue remaining after removal

Examples of other details: 

  • All keys, documentation (i.e. service book) and original equipment must be returned 
  • The interior must be thoroughly clean (a valet is recommend to avoid charges) 
  • All internal controls and accessories must be fully functioning (i.e. stereos and sat navs) 

Collection and inspection procedures

At the end of the contracted lease, your vehicle will be inspected on the basis of the fair wear and tear guidelines, with all damage being noted. Both you and the representative inspecting must check and agree to the condition results of the inspection. 

Normally, any damaged deemed as fair wear and tear under the guidelines will incur no further charges. However, any damage deemed excessive will incur an end-of-contract charge to reflect the estimated loss of value. 

Under the guidelines, if there is a dispute about the condition of the vehicle, you have the right to pay for an examination by an independent qualified engineer who is agreed to by both parties. If the engineer goes in favour of your dispute, then any car leasing provider which is a member of the BVRLA will refund you the reasonable cost of the engineer examination you paid for. 

If a dispute arises which still cannot be resolved, then it is possible to refer these unresolved disputes to the BVRLA by the customer or car lease provider.

Appraising and inspecting your lease vehicle

The BVRLA recommends that you carry out an appraisal of the vehicle before you return it. By identifying and repairing any damage which could be considered too excessive to be fair wear and tear, you can resolve it in advance under your own accord and avoid any end-of-contract charges. 

The BVRLA provides a set of key tips when it comes to inspecting your lease vehicle. A summary of these tips include: 

  • Carry out your appraisal well in advance (10-12 weeks before the return date is recommended) to give you enough time to rectify any unacceptable wear and tear 
  • Appraise your vehicle as honestly and objectively as you can, possibly with the aid of a friend or colleague, as this appraisal is designed to help you avoid unacceptable wear and tear charges 
  • Wash and clean the vehicle and allow it time to dry before your inspection, as dirt and water can mask damage 
  • Carry out the inspection in good light to ensure any problems can be seen, as this is how the car leasing company will inspect your vehicle 
  • Check the tyres (including the spare) for any damage and uneven wear, and also inspect wheel trims and alloys for any scratches or other damage 
  • Check lights, lamps, windows and mirrors for any chips, cracks, holes or other damage 
  • Walk all the way around your vehicle and closely examine every body panel, including the roof, bonnet and doors 
  • Crouch at the front and rear of the vehicle and look down the bodyline for any scratches, chips or dents which could be otherwise different to spot 
  • Use any reflected light sources to help you identify any damage in the bodywork 
  • Check all car controls and accessories, such as audio equipment, to make sure they are fully functional 
  • Ensure the interior is thoroughly clean a valet is recommended 
  • Check upholstery for any odours, burns, tears, rips, stains and excessive wear 

If you believe you have found damage which could be deemed excessive wear and tear, you can request a copy of the BVRLA guidelines through your car lease provider or through the BVRLA website to check and then decide whether rectifying the damage is required to avoid end-of-contract charges in relation to damage

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Disclaimer: All vehicle images and descriptions are for illustration and reference purposes only, all vehicle leases are subject to credit approval and subject to change at any time. E&OE.

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