Leasing makes it possible to drive a late model car while paying less per month than the cost to buy a financed vehicle. When calculating a transportation budget, a driver should consider who is responsible for repairs on a leased car. Dealerships and leasing companies usually require lessees to pay for vehicle maintenance and repairs. Learn more about the financial responsibilities of lessees or keepers and the most affordable ways to cover the cost of repairing a leased car.

Who Is Responsible for Repairs on a Leased Car?

Every car lease contract specifies which party is responsible for maintaining and repairing a leased vehicle. Under most contracts, the lessee agrees to make monthly payments for a set period of time and takes responsibility for performing the maintenance and repairs necessary to keep the vehicle in working condition and preserve its value for eventual sale by the leasing company.

Dealerships or leasing companies can require scheduled maintenance to keep a lease valid. If a leased vehicle misses scheduled inspections, the leasing company may charge fees or terminate a lease early with a hefty termination fee. A lessor may also request maintenance or repair documentation.

Who Is the Keeper of a Leased Car?

The keeper of a leased car.

The person who signs a lease is the keeper of a leased car. The keeper, or lessee, must make lease payments and pay any penalties for breaking the terms of a lease agreement. The car’s keeper must arrange for regular maintenance and repairs, insure the leased vehicle and make a claim in the event of an accident. A dealership or leasing company holds the keeper responsible for the condition of a leased car through the end of the lease.

A dealership or leasing company can require a keeper to take a vehicle to its service department for regular maintenance or repairs. Whether a lessee keeps a vehicle for the full duration of the lease specified in the original contract or terminates an agreement early, the keeper is responsible for lease payments, the cost of maintenance or repair and any excess wear fees. Repair costs are often considerable, but a lessee can obtain a vehicle protection plan from autopom! to cover the cost of unexpected repairs to a leased car.

What Is Excess Wear and Tear on a Leased Car?

Lease agreements typically allow for normal wear and tear based on the age of a car and the mileage. An inspection at the end of a lease period will assess the condition of the exterior and interior of the vehicle to determine whether repairs are necessary before the dealership or leasing company can sell the vehicle for the maximum value.

Some dealers and lease companies may waive the first $500 of wear. For example, some lease wear and tear guidelines allow for up to 15 stone chips on the front bumper or hood of a vehicle under normal wear and tear. Excess wear and tear can include more chips or larger dents, scrapes or scratches on the body of the vehicle. Damaged upholstery or worn tires can also result in charges, as can any aftermarket upgrades or unauthorized bodywork.

What Happens When a Leased Car Is Totaled?

Who is responsible for repairs on a leased car after an accident? After a major accident, a lessee must file a police report at the scene and start the process of making an auto insurance claim. It is also important to notify the leasing company of the accident as soon as possible and provide information about the police report and insurance claim. The lessee’s insurance provider and the insurer of the leasing company will work together to settle the claim.

The keeper of a leased vehicle may need to pay their policy deductible. Additional gap insurance can help to cover the difference between the value of a vehicle and the remaining amount of the lease agreement. Once a claim is settled and a vehicle is declared totaled, the lessor will terminate the lease and handle the disposition of the lessee’s security deposit. A driver will then need to lease or purchase another vehicle.

What Are the Benefits of Leasing a Car?

A woman who is responsible for repairs on a leased car.

Most car leases are two to four years long, which means that leasing is the easiest way to drive late model vehicles under manufacturers’ warranties. The reason why lease payments tend to be lower than financed payments to purchase a vehicle is that the lessee only pays for a portion of depreciation. At the end of a lease, the lessee can have the option to buy the vehicle or trade in the vehicle and start a new lease.

In addition to the manufacturer’s warranty on a new vehicle, some leasing companies also offer maintenance packages. A vehicle protection plan, vehicle service contract or mechanical breakdown insurance can provide the keepers of leased vehicles with additional coverage for the cost of unexpected mechanical or electrical repairs.

What Should Keepers Consider When Repairing Leased Cars?

The keeper of a leased car should be aware that the owner of the vehicle has the final say in approving repairs. A lessor may request the maintenance or repair history of a vehicle at any point during the term of a lease. Bodywork, repairs or upgrades that do not meet manufacturer standards may result in penalties during an end of lease inspection.

It’s always a good idea for keepers to contact lessors with questions about maintenance or repairs. A dealership or leasing company may cover the cost of most regular maintenance tasks. A vehicle protection plan can cover unexpected mechanical and electrical repairs at many highly rated ASE-certified facilities, including dealerships and repair shops.

Why Is Knowing Who is Reasponsible for Repairs on a Leased Car Important?

By knowing who is responsible for repairs on a leased car, a lessee can find ways to make vehicle repairs more affordable. Taking good care of a car throughout a lease period can limit additional charges and make it easier to trade in a vehicle and start a new lease. Get a quote for an autopom! vehicle protection plan that provides peace of mind by covering repair costs for a leased car.

By Mike Jones, President & CEO of autopom! Insurance Services, llc