When you enter a PCP car finance contract, you’ll be expected to return the car with fair wear and tear at the end of your finance period. But what counts as fair wear and tear? As car finance experts, GetCarFinanceHere explains all.
What is fair wear and tear?
With PCP car finance, you will have the option at the end of your contract period to either pay a final ‘balloon payment’, so you then own the car, or you can give the car back to the lender.
When a car has been used for a few years, there will be a degree of wear and tear that occurs. Car finance companies understand that a car will not be returned in exactly the same condition as what it was lent out in. This is known as ‘fair wear and tear’.
Why does fair wear and tear matter with PCP car finance?
Fair wear and tear is the maximum amount of damage that a car finance company will accept when you return the car at the end of your finance period.
If your car is damaged to a level beyond what’s deemed fair wear and tear, you’ll be liable to pay a fee. This fee will be calculated on how much it will cost to rectify the damage.
What’s acceptable wear and tear?
Typically, fair wear and tear will include:
- Tyres that might be worn but still within the legal limit
- Minor scuff marks on lights
- Light scratches on windows outside of the driver’s line of sight
- Very minor scuff marks and dents on the body
- Slightly worn seats and upholstery
As long as your vehicle is within these limits, you shouldn’t face any damage charges when you return the car. If you’re unsure, you should check with your car finance provider to see what they specify as fair wear and tear.
PCP car finance usually comes with a limitation on mileage. Cars that have a larger mileage allowance will typically have a larger scope for what counts as fair wear and tear compared to those with a smaller mileage allowance. This is because the car finance company will know that you will have driven the vehicle more, and so it will have more wear and tear.
What damage goes beyond usual wear and tear?
The sort of damage that will usually result in a charge will include:
- Tyres worn below the legal limit
- Serious dents
- Cracked lights
- Lightbulbs not working
- Cracked trim
- Dents in the wheels
- Excess dirt on the interior or exterior
- Scratches on the body over 25mm
- Chips or cracks in the windows
- Major rips in the upholstery
When are damage charges applied during PCP car finance?
Your car will be assessed at the end of your contract period when you return the vehicle. They will look for any damage that’s beyond what they deem fair wear and tear. The costs will then be calculated, and any damage charges will be applied.
If the finance company thinks the car is worth a lot less than expected due to damage, you’ll be asked to compensate the difference. You may also be charged if the car is excessively dirty.
You will have the opportunity to dispute any charges if you think they are unfair.
How can I avoid damage charges with my PCP car finance?
You can avoid any unforeseen damage charges at the end of your car finance period by taking extra steps to care for your vehicle. This can include:
- Regular cleaning – keeping your car clean will help to keep it in a good condition. It will also help you to identify if there are any issues with the paintwork or the interior, and deal with them quickly.
- Regular maintenance – you should keep on top of the maintenance of your car to avoid long-term damage. You should ensure it has a regular service and you can also check things yourself, such as oil levels and tyre tread depth.
- Keep your car documents – you should make sure to keep all your car documents and extra accessories in an obvious place. This will include accessories such as the locking wheel nut, as well as any spare car keys you were given. This will help you to avoid having to pay for a replacement if anything gets lost.
- Fix any problems when they happen – you should make sure any damage is dealt with as soon as possible. Often, leaving a small problem will eventually develop into a larger, more costly issue. If any damage happens to your vehicle, get it sorted to save having to pay out more down the line.
GetCarFinanceHere can find the best car finance deals for you, including PCP car finance. Our knowledgeable team will find the car finance options from our network of trusted lenders to find the right solution for your needs. Apply for car finance online today or contact us for more information.