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Lease van tyres: what is ‘fair wear and tear’?

By Stephen Turvil | February 2, 2023


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Lease van tyres: there may be a penalty charge if you return a van with bad tyres. The supplier will inspect the tread depth, wear pattern, and look for damage.

Lease van tyres: what is ‘fair wear and tear’?

When you return a lease van to its supplier at the end of the contract, its tyres must be in reasonable condition to avoid a penalty charge. The tyres do not have to be perfect, though. ‘Fair wear and tear’ is accepted without issue. However, you may be charged if there is any inappropriate wear or damage. What constitutes ‘fair wear and tear’ depends on the terms of your specific contract, but let us summarise the typical considerations.

Lease van: tyre specification

A tyre must be the right specification for the van to avoid a penalty. Considerations include its size, speed rating, and load rating. The specification is revealed by a code on the sidewall. 225/55 R16 91 V, for instance. To check the specification is correct, refer to the owner’s manual or ask the van’s manufacturer.

Lease van: tyre tread depth

A tyre must have enough tread depth. In the UK, the legal minimum is 1.6mm across the central 75% of its width and around the circumference. You can measure the depth via an analogue or digital gauge.

Lease van: even tyre wear

A tyre must have even wear to avoid a penalty when the van is returned. Again, this can be checked via an analogue or digital gauge. Uneven wear can be caused by many issues. Under or over inflation, for starters. To avoid this, keep the tyre at the pressure recommended by the manufacture. You can find the recommended pressure via the owner’s manual or a sticker on the van. The sticker is likely on the B-pillar or inside the fuel flap.

Mechanical issues can cause uneven tyre wear, too. They include problems with the vehicle’s wheel alignment, suspension, and brakes. To ensure such faults are spotted early, have the van serviced at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer. Full service history also ensures that the van’s warranty remains valid.

Lease van: tyre damage

Tyre damage can incur a penalty when you return a leased van. Problems include punctures, bulges, tears, and cracks in the sidewall. It is hard to eliminate such issues but they can be minimised. Try to avoid potholes and scuffing the kerb as you park.

Lease van: spare tyre

If the vehicle was supplied with a spare tyre rather than a puncture repair kit, it must be present at the end of the lease to avoid a penalty. The spare must also be in good overall condition.

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