Leasing can be an excellent alternative to financing a vehicle. Vehicle leases are generally on new cars and trucks and offer benefits and drawbacks. Whether you lease a new or used vehicle, any car will require maintenance and repair throughout its life cycle. When leasing, determining who pays for repair costs may be puzzling for consumers.
Repairs and Defects
During Warranty Coverage
During the manufacturer's specified warranty period, any manufacturing defect or failure is covered under the warranty at the maker's expense. There are exclusions however; glass items, lights, belts, hoses, tires and other wearable parts may not be covered by some manufacturers past an initial period. Each manufacturer sets its own criteria. Be aware of what is excluded when signing a lease.
Beyond Warranty Coverage
The lessee is responsible for repairs outside of the normal manufacturer's warranty coverage. If the vehicle is past the time or mileage set by the manufacturer for the warranty, the onus for repair bills falls on the lessee. This can also occur if the repair is not a manufacturer's defect, such as body damage.
Maintenance costs are the responsibility of the lessee. A common misconception is that because a lessee doesn't own the vehicle, he is not responsible for maintaining it. That's incorrect. Instead, think of it as assuming full responsibility for the vehicle until the end date on the lease. It is the lessee's responsibility to maintain the vehicle until the lease is up.
Since leases can -- and often times do -- extend past the basic warranty coverage, lessees can add extended warranties or additional coverage such as the Ford WearCare package at the time of leasing. Packages like this will waive extra repair and mileage charges up to $4,000 beyond what the lease agreement allows.
Jason Unrau is an automotive writer with 15 years experience in the automotive dealer environment, including 10 years as and automotive service consultant. He is a Certified Technology Expert, a regular contributor to Gearheads.org, and operates AutomotiveCopywriter.com.