by Chris Lloyd, Finance Editor, @christoferlloyd
Car leasing: should I add maintenance?
Looking for the simplest way to run a brand new car? Leasing lets you get behind the wheel of a new car every few years with low upfront costs and affordable monthly payments – plus a couple of optional extras that take the stress out of running a car.
Helping to ensure trouble-free motoring, many leasing companies let you add extras such as maintenance packs that typically include servicing costs and breakdown cover. This means you don’t have to worry about putting money aside every month to pay for unexpected bills, helping you to budget more easily.
- Add maintenance for additional peace of mind
- This includes servicing and replacement tyres
- Roadside assistance and MOTs typically covered
What’s included with a normal car lease?
Unlike PCP finance, sign up for a lease and Road Fund Licence – more commonly known as road tax – is covered for the whole contract, rather than just the first year as is normally the case with PCP. You also typically get UK mainland delivery for your new car plus breakdown assistance and recovery.
Since leasing normally applies to brand new cars, the manufacturer’s warranty also means that any parts that need repairing or replacing due to defects should be covered for free through your dealer. Depending on the manufacturer this typically lasts between three and seven years – so you could potentially be covered for the whole of the lease term.
What’s not included with a normal car lease?
Car insurance isn’t included with a car lease and whether you normally get third party or comprehensive insurance, leasing companies typically insist that you take out fully comprehensive insurance. That’s because the car belongs to the leasing company, so if you were to crash it, the company is likely to insist it’s fully repaired to its original state.
Maintenance and servicing costs are also not included with a standard lease. Since you’ll need to get the car serviced to the manufacturer’s specification to avoid any end-of-contract charges, you’ll want to budget for servicing bills and the cost of tyres, MOTs – this is only relevant if you’re keeping the car for more than three years, as this is when a car requires its first MOT – and any other costs to keep the car going.
Car leasing: what’s included with a ‘fully maintained’ deal
Tick the maintenance box and you can include scheduled servicing costs and other periodic bills in return for a slightly higher monthly payment. With a typical maintenance contract the following are included:
- Breakdown cover including home-start, roadside assistance and recovery
- Scheduled servicing
- Replacement tyres (within fair wear and tear limits)
- MOTs (for cars over three years old)
- Exhaust and battery (within fair wear and tear limits)
While it’s normal to get breakdown assistance and recovery with a new lease car, go for a fully maintained package and this is likely to include a greater level of cover including home-start. This means that if the car refuses to start before you’ve even left home, someone will come out to help you get going.
Scheduled servicing costs depend on the type of car you have and the labour costs in your area. Furthermore, while some cars may need servicing every year – or even more often than that if you cover a high mileage – others may only need to be taken to the garage every two years or 20,000 miles, dependent upon the type of driving you do.
Therefore, a maintenance package is likely to save you more money if you’re on a high-mileage contract or are going for a car that needs particularly frequent services. Similarly, how often you need to replace your tyres depends on how many miles you cover, while the cost of tyres itself also depends on the car – generally speaking, the larger the tyres or more powerful the car, the more you can expect to pay to replace the rubber.
Since individual tyres can cost as much as £150 or even more fitted, having a maintenance pack can save you one big bill if you need to replace two or even four tyres in one go. Only cars aged over three years need to have an MOT, but if you’re going for a longer contract, each MOT covered will save you around £55 in fees.
Meanwhile, exhaust and batteries last varying amounts of time, depending on the age, mileage and type of conditions the car is driven in. While batteries are relatively affordable in car terms, exhausts can cost hundreds of pounds if you need to replace the whole system, so being covered against an unexpected bill for one of these, helps reduce the likelihood of a nasty surprise.
Choose maintenance pack for stress-free budgeting
One of the biggest selling points for leasing is simplicity; you know how much you need to pay every month for a brand new car, get to the end of the contract, hand the car back and start again with a new model. Maintenance packs tie into this.
Rather than having to save up to ensure you have cash to hand for servicing, new tyres, breakdown cover and other running costs, maintenance packs roll all of these into one monthly payment. Yes, these payments will be slightly higher, but you don’t have to find £250 here for a service, £200 there for a couple of tyres, £100 here for full breakdown cover.
If you value the ease of having practically all of your motoring costs – bar insurance and fuel – in one monthly payment, you may want to consider ticking the ‘maintenance’ box.
*Deals are correct at time of publication. Everyone’s financial circumstances are different and credit is not always available – Parkers cannot recommend a deal for you specifically. These deals are indicative examples of some packages available this week.
- Flex the term, mileage and initial payment to change your monthly payments
- Personal service from our team of experts
- Optional maintenance to include tyres and punctures
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