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How to Return a Car at the End of a Lease | Edmunds.com

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,046
edited May 2017 in Editorial
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How to Return a Car at the End of a Lease | Edmunds.com

If you prepare for the end of your vehicle's lease, you can avoid extra costs.

Read the full story here


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Comments

  • kirkhilles1kirkhilles1 Posts: 859
    I'm doing my first car lease (after extensive number crunching and dealing with old cars) and I don't understand the "Replace the tires early" comment.

    My understanding (maybe incorrect) is this. If the tires have enough tread (legally not bald), you're good. If you have to replace them at inspection, then my understanding is that they DON'T HAVE TO BE ORIGINAL OEM TIRES. So, instead of paying $600-$1,000 for new tires (not cheap for a good set), then just find any place that sells used tires or super cheap tires and put a set on. As long as they match, I believe you are good.

    I can't believe that someone who recommend spending that kind of cash. My understanding is that the way to "win" is to not spend money in fear. Make the appointment and BE THERE at the inspection. MAKE THEM charge you for things and then that becomes the worst-case-scenario and you'll have time to get a body shop or DPR place try and beat it (and/or tire shops or whatever).
  • I can certainly understand a charge being required if the leased car is not returned in good condition. However, how many people are aware that Buick charges a $495 return fee, just as a return fee? I learned about it as I was signing the lease papers; I walked out... How many of Buick's customers are advised of this questionably ethical fee before they agree to the lease. The dealership told me that this is a bank fee and their hands are tied. I would like to know what experience other consumers have had with this add-on and why Buick fails to mention this in any of the ads I have seen?
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 107,665

    I can certainly understand a charge being required if the leased car is not returned in good condition. However, how many people are aware that Buick charges a $495 return fee, just as a return fee? I learned about it as I was signing the lease papers; I walked out... How many of Buick's customers are advised of this questionably ethical fee before they agree to the lease. The dealership told me that this is a bank fee and their hands are tied. I would like to know what experience other consumers have had with this add-on and why Buick fails to mention this in any of the ads I have seen?

    It's not just Buick. Almost every brand has a disposition fee associated with a lease. If you get another car from the same brand, the fee is waived. Or, if you trade out before the lease end, you don't owe it.

    I just did this a month ago. I was leasing a Hyundai with two payments left; traded it in for a VW Jetta with almost the exact same payment. The VW dealer paid off my lease and I didn't owe the disposition fee.

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    2016 VW Jetta 1.4T SE / 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • The replace the tires suggestion is utter foolishness. What is the difference between replacing the tires after two years or at the end of the lease? Furthermore, the need to replace the tires at the end of the lease is not a sure thing. Also, an excess wear charge would be less costly than the cost of new tires.

    Perhaps Mr. Rayfield is not quite the expert on leasing this article suggests he is.
  • Hello,
    What charges can be applied if I'm buying out car before end of lease. Dealer say I have to pay $700 fir inspection as well as return fee. Is this fair?

    Thanks
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 107,665
    vitaliy3 said:

    Hello,
    What charges can be applied if I'm buying out car before end of lease. Dealer say I have to pay $700 fir inspection as well as return fee. Is this fair?

    Thanks

    If you are buying the car out, there shouldn't be any charges. Disposition fee is assessed if you turn the car in and not lease another from the same brand.

    Inspection? For what?

    What state is this?

    Also, check with other dealers to see if you get a consistent story.

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    2016 VW Jetta 1.4T SE / 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • morey000morey000 Posts: 384
    disposition fee for my land rover... is $50.
  • ArnieherberArnieherber Posts: 1
    My daughter's lease on her Infiniti is ending this month. Nissan will wave the disposition fee if she purchases another Nissan product. However, a Toyota dealer contacted her and indicated she could return the can to their dealership and they would wave the disposition fee. I thought you had to return the same brand to the dealership covering that brand? Does this make any sense?
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 107,665

    My daughter's lease on her Infiniti is ending this month. Nissan will wave the disposition fee if she purchases another Nissan product. However, a Toyota dealer contacted her and indicated she could return the can to their dealership and they would wave the disposition fee. I thought you had to return the same brand to the dealership covering that brand? Does this make any sense?

    The Toyota dealer isn't waiving the fee, but likely paying for it as part of the trade value she is getting.

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    2016 VW Jetta 1.4T SE / 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 117,319

    My daughter's lease on her Infiniti is ending this month. Nissan will wave the disposition fee if she purchases another Nissan product. However, a Toyota dealer contacted her and indicated she could return the can to their dealership and they would wave the disposition fee. I thought you had to return the same brand to the dealership covering that brand? Does this make any sense?

    The Toyota dealer is just going to take her car in trade... .or, return the vehicle to IFS and take a hit, if the value is less than the payoff. You can be certain that any hit the dealer takes is going to be reflected in the price they offer on their new vehicle.

    But, your daughter shouldn't be pressured to get an Infiniti, just to avoid a $500 fee. Three years is a long time to drive the next vehicle, and she should weigh all of her options.

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    Edmunds Moderator

  • farshidfarshid Posts: 1
    How much wear and tear is ok for the wheels? I have a mercedes G wagon I need to return and the front tires have some wear. thanks
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 117,319
    farshid said:

    How much wear and tear is ok for the wheels? I have a mercedes G wagon I need to return and the front tires have some wear. thanks

    Tires? Most leasing companies require 4/32" of tread depth, at turn in.

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    Edmunds Moderator

  • DianaGSDianaGS CaliforniaPosts: 3
    I turned my leased Toyota in. I believe the condition was perfect.The dealer was thrilled because I only had 31,000 miles on the 3 year old car. 3 months later I got an invoice for $350 disposition fee + over $337 in 'excessive wear and use'. When I turned the car it in was accepted. Of course I'm going to challenge since nothing is itemized, but I wonder if there is any law protecting consumers in matters like this. (I live in California). Is there any regulation that requires the lessor must let you know at the time of inspection that you passed?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 117,319
    DianaGS said:

    I turned my leased Toyota in. I believe the condition was perfect.The dealer was thrilled because I only had 31,000 miles on the 3 year old car. 3 months later I got an invoice for $350 disposition fee + over $337 in 'excessive wear and use'. When I turned the car it in was accepted. Of course I'm going to challenge since nothing is itemized, but I wonder if there is any law protecting consumers in matters like this. (I live in California). Is there any regulation that requires the lessor must let you know at the time of inspection that you passed?

    Most banks use an independent inspector to give a "pre-inspection", two to three weeks before lease end. They print out a report, on the spot. I'm surprised you didn't have this.

    Was your bank Toyota Financial Services? Just dropping off your car without an inspection is asking for trouble.

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    Edmunds Moderator

  • DianaGSDianaGS CaliforniaPosts: 3
    It was Toyota Financial Services. Never had trouble turning in a leased car before. When I was told everything was OK, I didn't think there was anything further required. I turned in my car early, and I certainly could have fixed whatever they found wrong myself if they had told me. I relied upon their good business reputation, I guess. I was told there WAS an inspection and the car was fine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,473
    If you have to replace the tires on a leased car, they MUST match manufacturer's recommended guidelines. So if you install a set of cheap tires on your high end luxury car, you're probably going to get dinged for that.

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 117,319
    DianaGS said:

    It was Toyota Financial Services. Never had trouble turning in a leased car before. When I was told everything was OK, I didn't think there was anything further required. I turned in my car early, and I certainly could have fixed whatever they found wrong myself if they had told me. I relied upon their good business reputation, I guess. I was told there WAS an inspection and the car was fine.

    Most of the time, when you get an inspection, you get an immediate report (in print).

    It wouldn't hurt to call up TFS to complain, and also to complain to your dealer, about how they told you everything was fine.

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    Edmunds Moderator

  • DianaGSDianaGS CaliforniaPosts: 3
    Will do NOW!
  • ABC3313ABC3313 Posts: 1
    We returned our leased Hyundai Dec 27,2018 and in excellent condition below allowed miles -we paid the final "turn-in"fee and have a received payment conformation from Hyundai finance. We never got any documents that indicated the lease was completed and paid in full from the dealership or Hyundai finance. I requested such documents and they said that they don't do that anymore(?) The last lease from them and when I have purchased and financed at a bank always gave me final paid in full paperwork and that the car had been turned in(lease). Please explain.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 117,319
    ABC3313 said:

    We returned our leased Hyundai Dec 27,2018 and in excellent condition below allowed miles -we paid the final "turn-in"fee and have a received payment conformation from Hyundai finance. We never got any documents that indicated the lease was completed and paid in full from the dealership or Hyundai finance. I requested such documents and they said that they don't do that anymore(?) The last lease from them and when I have purchased and financed at a bank always gave me final paid in full paperwork and that the car had been turned in(lease). Please explain.

    You leased the car, you didn't own it, and you didn't put a lien on it. No paperwork needed. Evidently, you received a final bill, and you paid it. All finished!

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    Edmunds Moderator

  • londonchiclondonchic Posts: 1
    Am I under any obligation to point out anything an inspector might miss? Either I hit something or somebody hit me, and the bumper on my Nissan Rogue was pushed out a little. A friend at the body shop pushed it back into place, but he said some of the plastic clips holding it in place were broken, so it was just a temporary fix. He recommended not having it fixed, and hopefully the inspector would miss it. My husband says he would feel bad for the next person to buy the car if it had those broken clips, and he thinks we should point it out. Of course, if the inspector see it, this is a moot point, but is there a high likelihood that anything the inspector misses would be passed on to a future buyer?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 117,319
    edited March 30

    Am I under any obligation to point out anything an inspector might miss? Either I hit something or somebody hit me, and the bumper on my Nissan Rogue was pushed out a little. A friend at the body shop pushed it back into place, but he said some of the plastic clips holding it in place were broken, so it was just a temporary fix. He recommended not having it fixed, and hopefully the inspector would miss it. My husband says he would feel bad for the next person to buy the car if it had those broken clips, and he thinks we should point it out. Of course, if the inspector see it, this is a moot point, but is there a high likelihood that anything the inspector misses would be passed on to a future buyer?

    Without getting into ethical or legal considerations, and assuming the damage has no safety ramifications, it is not your job to point out any issues. The inspectors and future dealers who sell this car are experts. At some point, one of them will notice it, and then it will rest on them, whether to disclose it to a potential private owner.

    I'd look at it this way: Would you pay a body shop to repair this, if it were your own car? I wouldn't.

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  • So I turned in my leased 2016 town and country back to the dealer we got it from and leased a 2019 pacifica from the same sales guy we have used for 4 cars now. We purchased glasscoat lease guard when we got the van back in 2016 to protect us from minor wear and tear from carting 3 kids around for 3 years. The van is under its mileage but was not in perfect shape. During the negotiations they said they would pick up the disposition fee to the lease company because they went with a different lease company. Then he told me everything was good and he would be in touch. There was no end of lease inspection at that time. Its been a week or so and I am now getting phone calls from the dealer about excessive wear and tear. The lease guard company says I dont own the van anymore so I cant put a claim in for this "excessive wear and tear". Is it my responsibility to pay to bring the van up to there standards?
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 107,665

    So I turned in my leased 2016 town and country back to the dealer we got it from and leased a 2019 pacifica from the same sales guy we have used for 4 cars now. We purchased glasscoat lease guard when we got the van back in 2016 to protect us from minor wear and tear from carting 3 kids around for 3 years. The van is under its mileage but was not in perfect shape. During the negotiations they said they would pick up the disposition fee to the lease company because they went with a different lease company. Then he told me everything was good and he would be in touch. There was no end of lease inspection at that time. Its been a week or so and I am now getting phone calls from the dealer about excessive wear and tear. The lease guard company says I dont own the van anymore so I cant put a claim in for this "excessive wear and tear". Is it my responsibility to pay to bring the van up to there standards?

    Not a lawyer, so take this with a shaker of salt...

    I'd be concerned about the "he told me ..." and "they said..." statements.

    If it's not in writing, I'm not sure how enforceable those statements are.

    Which bank was the T&C lease through? You are dealing with them, not your dealer.

    You may have to negotiate some sort of settlement regarding the damage; but first, I'd ask for an itemized list of what they feel is beyond normal wear and tear.

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  • Im dealing with the sales guy at this point. Im not sure who hes dealing with, his boss or the lease company chrysler capital.
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 107,665

    Im dealing with the sales guy at this point. Im not sure who hes dealing with, his boss or the lease company chrysler capital.

    Let me call in some expert help for your situation. Not sure the dealer has a horse in this race, frankly.

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and let us know! Post a pic of your new purchase or lease!


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  • 28firefighter28firefighter Seattle, WAPosts: 4,967
    There are three discrete issues here that I think need to be addressed:

    (1) Is the dealer simply "grounding" the car for you and returning the lease or did they take it on trade and buy it from you? Sounds like the latter and it sounds like they have already started the grounding process, which means it is no longer your vehicle.

    (2) Did you have an end of lease inspection done PRIOR to taking the car in? If not, you have little room to argue about the damage the car was assessed to have upon lease return. Annoying, but that is why end of lease inspections are available.

    (3) What were the terms of the lease protection that you purchased? If it was not directly from the finance company (which it sounds like it wasn't), then it makes complete sense to me that the terms would require that you submit a claim PRIOR to grounding the car as a lease return. When lease wear and tear protection comes from the finance company, it acts a waiver upon return. When it is through a third-party company, it is your responsibility to submit the claim. Once you return the vehicle, it is the property of the finance company.

    I'm surprised the dealer is even getting involved here if they simply grounded the return. The finance company would be the one sending you an invoice for the lease end damage which it would be your responsibility to pay.
    2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Sport, 2002 Saab 9-3 Viggen, 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 32,100
    should be talking to the lease company directly. And pull out the contract for the protection plan.

    2019 Acura TLX A-spec 4 cyl. (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 117,319
    stickguy said:

    should be talking to the lease company directly. And pull out the contract for the protection plan.

    This...

    I'll guess the dealer took your car in trade (which means no disposition fee). And, this is a ruse to get more money out of you. Because, any wear and tear issues would come from the leasing bank. Also, why would your wear/tear lease company say you don't own the car any more, if you had just turned it in? (other than all of those plans having a high weasel factor).

    Not positive from here, but that's how it looks.

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  • I have to return my Toyota Camry 2016 and it has dents and scratches. My question is if I take it to a body shop and repair it do I still get charge at the dealer?
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