A common fault with many lease cars before being returned is curb rash or tyre wear, these are easy to miss or misunderstood as ‘Fair wear and tear’. There are simple steps that can be taken to ensure that you get the very best out of your wheels and tyres during your lease.
All of the vehicles sourced by All Car Leasing come with standard manufacturer’s warranty this can range from 3 years up to 7 years with Ssangyong and Kia leases. During this time any faults or issues that can occur including cracks or corrosion under the paint that are obvious or causing issues to the ability to drive such as a slow leak should be assessed and repaired by the manufacturer under warranty. It is worth noting that malicious damage to wheels is not covered, neither is curb or pothole damage. With multi-tone wheels, oxidisation can be caused through lack of cleaning, chemical miss-use or road protection, such as grit and salt.
Firstly is a lack of cleaning or care, with a particular focus on brake dust and other minor corrosives, these build up over time from regular driving. As you drive the friction between brake pads and discs or drums wears away both surfaces, primarily pads but eventually discs, this wear can be exacerbated through harsh braking from high speed or riding the brakes while driving. The build-up of brake dust and soil from the road can be made worse in winter with grit and salt, salt is a mild corrosive while grit can be propelled to damage wheel finishes by gritters or passing vehicles, dirt is unavoidable. While you may not be able to stop a driven car from getting dirty you can care for your lease car by ensuring that any dirt, brake dust or superficial damage is treated before it escalates.
Ensuring that you regularly clean and inspect your wheels is a must, not only will it show care for your new lease car helping it to look new for longer, but it will also give you the chance to recognise any of the faults mentioned above. While cleaning light dirt can be done with car shampoo or designated wheel cleaners it is worth understanding what products are suitable for your car and your type of wheel. Some strong cleaners can cause damage to your paint finish while chemical cleaners can damage the plastic wheel nut caps but not the alloy. It is important to ensure that any chemical cleaner used to clean your car has been correctly diluted and thoroughly rinsed off to prevent ongoing corrosion or damage. In addition to cleaning your wheels, you may choose a wheel preservative that will provide an additional layer of protection to keep your wheels looking their best.
As mentioned previously all damage that has not been caused by the fault of the driver or outside the warranty guidelines can be inspected and repaired by a dealership. However, a common damage to wheels is curb rash, caused by driving the car typically while parking along the side of a curb. Cracks or scratches from a crash, pothole or otherwise are not covered by any warranty and would need to be repaired to a professional standard so as not to be noticeable when inspected by the collector and once returned to the finance company. Using preservatives on damage can sometimes help to protect from additional costs including bubbling paint from oxidisation or contaminants.
When you receive your brand new vehicle you should inspect the tyres as part of your routine ensuring that the new premium brand tyres do not have any obvious marks or damage and that all tyres are inflated. While you use your car the tread of the tyres will wear this maybe uneven on some vehicles depending on how the car is driven, the abrasiveness of the road surface and compound of tyre as well as the drivetrain of the vehicle. Most front wheel drive cars will need front tyres sooner than rear while rear wheel drive cars may require rear tyres before front. If you have taken maintenance with your personal lease or business hire contract then you can take your vehicle to a finance company approved garage or mobile tyre fitting service to have new tyres fitted. This service is subject to scrutiny, tyre replacements are calculated by the finance company and abusing this through excessive where will not be covered by the maintenance package, for example if the tyre life is estimated to be 15,000 miles but your car requires new tyres after 3,000 miles through wear, this could be considered excessive.
If you decide to not take maintenance with your lease, you can use budget or non-premium tyres on your lease car, these however would need to be replaced with premium brand tyres before the car is returned, that are in good condition and have a minimum of 3mm of tread across the centre ¾ of the tyre. Regardless of whether the car is maintained or not if the tread is below 3mm you maybe charged for a new tyre, similar rules apply for sidewall or tread damage. Damage to the sidewall of the tyre will not be replaced under the maintenance package, this can be caused from using cleaning products or from rubbing the tyre wall along curbs and other objects.
Damage from curbs or other objects can appear as abrasions or cuts that have thinned the wall of the tyre essentially reducing the tyres structure and ability to hold pressure, this can in worst case scenarios cause a blow out. At higher speeds a blow out becomes more likely the same can be said for long drives or a fully loaded vehicle. As with wheels cleaning products can damage the tyre, through chemical reaction or by preventing the tyre from functioning as intended. Some concentrated chemical cleaners can damage the rubber compound of a tyre while other may simply dry out the tyre which with time will show cracking and excessive degradation, this rapid aging can result in a weakened side wall and increase the potential for a tyre to dilapidate.
By following simple rules such as not driving or parking to close to curbs, avoiding where possible objects or potential hazards and by using a product that is safe for tyres when cleaning your car you can prolong the life of a tyre. Other suggestions include taking corners at slower speeds, not exceeding the speed limit and smooth, gradual acceleration and breaking. Should you notice any damage on your tyre most garages will look at your car for free or a small charge, those with maintenance included can arrange for the tyres to be inspected for suspected damage with a main dealer under warranty and their maintenance package.
To help keep your lease car looking like new be sure to wash your wheels with safe cleaning products and dressings ensuring to rinse them thoroughly and to inspect your tyres for damage as well as wear and tear.