CHAMBLEE, Ga. - Experian Automotive reports that more and more of us are leasing automobiles. Many people do it because they can't afford to outright buy the car they want. The monthly payment on a lease can be lower. But know that when you return the car, you can be charged fees that really add into the price of the lease.
A vehicle lease will cost on average about $1,800 in turn-in fees. It can happen for a lot of reasons, like racking up too many miles. Even turning it in early can mean a penalty. Certainly the condition of the car matters. Here are repairs you can make before you turn it back in to keep costs down.
Fancy cars or ordinary ones, we lease them all, depending on our budget. But nobody wants to pay penalties when we return them.
Take scraped hubcaps. We've all done that parallel parking. But if you return your car to the dealer without fixing them, the dealer will charge you for it.
"A client had an Audi A7 and they had curbed a couple of the wheels and when they went to return the vehicle they were charged for the replacement of the wheels, which I believe were $1,100 each," Mark Jorsling of Tint World in Chamblee told me.
He says had the leaseholder done it before he turned the car in, it would have been a money-saver.
"Worst case $300 per wheel," he said.
That's a $3,200 dollar savings.
Dee Patel owns Chamblee's Tint World. He says to apply a protective clear coating on the front of the vehicle as soon as you get into that lease. Again, it's a turn-in money-saver.
"It's pretty much everything from the doors to up to the bumper." He said it protects the front bumper from flying rocks on the highway.
"The rocks, the debris, any kind of scratches."
And you can simply remove it, he said, at the end of the lease. Also, to save yourself some cash, you might have to remove the film from your tinted windows.
Mr. Patel's shop gets a lot of vehicles from dealerships who come to him to clean up cars that have been turned in. And he gets leaseholders who want to do it themselves before turning it in in order to save money.
One job his group often does is to gently pop out small dents you might get in the door. Again, this can save you cash.
He has more advice.
"If your tinted windows are beyond the legal number, remove it. They can't sell it that way."
And finally, it sounds like a given, but apparently, not to everyone. Give that vehicle a deep cleaning because a dealer will really ding you if you have them to do it.
"A hand wash, a buff, polish and sealant. That also includes shampooing the carpets, cleaning all the dash pieces cleaning all of the leather. The dealer will ding you for a dirty car," Mr. Patel told us.
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