Toyota Camry Lease return with damage

My lease is up in May 2018. I have damage to driver’s side front panel and wheel. An independent repair shop estimated the cost to fix at $1900.

Should I return to Toyota as is? or get the repair? The risk seems to be they’ll add on return fees for excessive wear. On plus side, if it is a plus, the car is well below the 36,000 miles on the lease.

What does your contract say about damage? My inclination is to say that you should repair it yourself, but you need to understand the ramifications of what you choose to do. That’s in the contract. If you want to go over that particular section, we can discuss it with you. Maybe we might be of some help.

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Go over your contract carefully, but I’ll bet lunch that if you don’t have it repaired professionally and properly now you’ll pay to have it done when you return the vehicle. At the dealer’s cost.

Do it now and you can get a few estimates from reputable shops and make a choice. Once you turn the car in, you’re at their mercy. And dealership repair shops aren’t famous for being merciful.

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I didn’t get the Excessive Wear rider. The lease says minimal cosmetic damage is acceptable. Nothing has been reported to insurance as I didn’t want the premium to increase. If I don’t get it repaired, I expect to pay some amount on top of the return fee in the lease. The question there is which is more expense: the repair or the fee.

One option is to buy at lease end.

No disrespect intended, but it sounds like you’ve painted yourself into a corner. Fix it now out of pocket, let them fix it later at their prices, or buy it at the lease end.

Sorry, but the only advice I can offer is to get it fixed now, even if you have to take out an unsecured personal loan to do so, and when the lease is out buy a vehicle that you can afford rather than leasing one that puts you in a financial bind.

Check if your lease is an open end lease, or a closed end lease.

A closed end lease doesn’t give you the option of buying the vehicle.


They will give you an estimate of repairs if you take it in and ask. You can then decide to get repairs done elsewhere, or let them do the repairs.

Open end. Leaning towards buying it.

I’d buy it then.

When you leased the vehicle, you had to pay an amount at the time of signing.

That amount was the depreciation of the vehicle as soon as you drove it off the lot.

So, you can lease another vehicle and pay that depreciation again. Or buy a diiferent vehicle and have it depreciate as soon as you drive it off lot.

So, you’ve already paid the depreciation on this vehicle.

And after all. The Camry is one the best vehicles on the road.


You should use your insurance and just pay your deductible . Even if you rates increase it should not be enough to reach 1400.00 dollars if your deductible is 500.00.

How about posting pictures of the damage?

Are we talking some paint transfer, a dent, or what?

If it’s just a dent, many of those paintless dent businesses work wonders

if it’s a scratch, the detail guys can often make them pretty much disappear

Alloy rims can be cosmetically reconditioned for a modest price, if it’s just a little scraped up

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They might let you get by on the wheel damage, rule it as normal wear and tear, if you repair the panel damage. Another option to consider. Were I in that situation and the price was competitive I’d probably just purchase the car at the end of the lease for the reasons mentioned above.

If your lease does not include a clause for a specific amount of excess damage waiver, you will be charged. My Acura lease allows $2500 in excess damage or wear. My friends’ Lincoln and Genesis lease had zero. You have four options.

  1. Go to the end of the lease and turn it in damaged. You will lose control of the situation, and you will pay whatever they charge.

  2. Fix the car at your expense. Don’t cheap out and use a back alley shop. The car must be fixed to acceptable standards. You have some control, as you know the cost before repair. You might have car rental expenses and inconvenience.

  3. Sell the car. The leasing company can provide the buyout. It is a Toyota. It might have equity. I have sold Hondas and Acuras during a lease and received money. Carmax will give you a price within 30 minutes; if they want it.

  4. Buy the car per the terms of your lease and drive on.

If you owned the car vs leasing, it would have diminished value due to the damage. There is no free ride.

Speaking of reading the contract, read your insurance contract (the policy). Many of them require that you report damage even if you don’t want to file a claim. I know that not reporting is a common practice (never you mind how I know that), but you might have painted yourself into TWO corners.

This is what I would do. 1. Contact insurance and pay deductible to have it repaired in their recommended shop 2. Start looking online at what vehicles similar to yours are selling for 3. Compare that price to your buy it at lease end price 4. Find out just what a loan will be for the vehicle if you need one

To those recommending using insurance, that ship may have sailed, depending on when the damage occurred. If there was another vehicle involved, that opens another can of worms.

Thanks for all the input. Insurance cost is always more than deductible. My experience is that you end up paying the higher premium for 3-4 years after the claim. I just requoted premiums and a minor fender bender from 2014 is still penalizing us. The car is solid. So I’m buying it at lease end.

I wondered if there was another vehicle involved, but chose not to open that can of worms. That could be a much bigger problem than the bent sheetmetal… a legal/criminal problem.

I’ve leased many vehicles and every one had some minor damage that the turn-in dealer ignored. Yours sounds like more than that, Why not simply ask the dealer you plan to turn it in to what they want to do? The dealer that takes it back from you is not going to keep it anyway most likley.