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To repair or not to repair before returning lease

Hi all - looking for some general feedback from those with more experience in this arena. The lease on my Civic is up in a few months and I’ll likely turn it in for either a new lease or buy used from the same dealer. The car is in good working condition; however, living in the city has resulted in a few nicks and scratches. One of these is just a scrape to the paint on the back bumper. The other appears to require more than just some touch-up paint. I never found out how it happened or who was responsible, but I believe somebody backed into the rear driver door leaving a small dent and exposing a very small amount of metal (the width of a hair, about 2 cm. long). It’s barely noticeable - but once you know it’s there, it’s there.

My questions is, should I repair these prior to returning the lease, or return with the scratches and try to negotiate out of any charges by entering into new contract with them? My deductible is $500 - I would probably pay out of pocket if I have it repaired ahead of time. I’ve never leased before, so I wasn’t sure what the process usually is when returning the car.

Any feedback is much appreciated!

You have just discovered the negative part of leasing. I would say don’t lease again. You are going to pay either way so you might call the leasing company first then your insurance.
The second thought is have it repaired and hope for the best.

Read your lease contract. That will tell you all about the condition your car is expected to meet when turned in and what you will be required to pay for if it doesn’t meet those conditions. Compare that to the damage your car has sustained. If the damage is greater (probably the case) take the car you your local independent body shop (not the dealer) and see what it would cost to repair. You likely have comprehensive insurance (with some deductible) as a requirement of the lease so submit the estimate to your insurance company IF the estimate is higher than your deductible. If it isn’t, just pay to have your car repaired. It is VERY likely the bill you will receive from the lease company will be higher than the repair cost from the body shop.

Another tip, take pictures of every angle of your car at the lease turn-in location to PROVE your car is in good condition at that point in time. I have had a lease company contact me a week after the car was turned in trying to claim damage to the car that did not exist at the time of turn-in. Protect yourself.

You might want to consider not leasing cars in the future. It is the most expensive way to own a car.

If you have a couple of months and paying cash, you can probably find a independent shop to fix the issues for a lot less than the leasing agency will charge you when you turn it in.

Plan B: If I read post correctly you have been driving this with the damage. Your contract will have a dollar amount of what you could buy the vehicle for. If you like the car you can keep it and you know history rather then taking a chance on another used vehicle. Buy it and not have to worry about turning it in.


Outside of “normal wear and tear” they’ll hit you with the refurbishing cost. Who knows which would be cheaper but your insurance will not pay for this at this point. They aren’t going to pay for bumps and bruises over a period of time not related to a particular accident event. So yeah, probably see what the charges will be and buy the car if too much. Then you can trade it in later and stay out of leases.

Check to make sure you did not buy an extra policy, like we did with our lease, $5 a month I think covered minor scrapes, dents, scratches on rims etc. Now If you re lease from the same place we were told miles over would be forgiven. Go in a couple of weeks early, try and make a deal, see what they will forgive and then decide to repair. We also got gap insurance, covers the cost difference of value and money owed for $3 a month from the insurance company. Some things to think about.

Hondas typically have good residual values. If you have Carmax in your area ask them for an appraisal. They will give you a written offer with no pressure to buy from them.It will probably be low.

Compare this offer to your buyout. You can obtain this by phone from Honda Leasing. If the offer is higher than the buyout, problem solved. Ask your dealer for an offer. They love used Civics. Honda often has a program to pay the last few lease payments if you buy or lease another.

If you sell, the buyer will deal with Honda lease and you have no end of lease inspection, and no need to repair.

I have leased many Hondas and Acuras and and only twice kept a car to the end of the lease. The dealer has always bought them. Acura leases have $2500 of damage or excess wear coverage. Check your Honda lease.

You can keep the car to the end of the lease and go through the inspection. Honda is somewhat lenient. My dealer has shown me lease returns with no inspection penalties; that neither the dealer nor I would buy

You can buy the car at the end of the lease. The residual value is not negotiable. Compare it to retail value.

You can sell the car to your dealer or Carmax at any time. If the offer is higher than the buyout, you make money. If it is lower, you pay.

Do tyour homework and you can make an informed decision.