What Classes as Fair Wear and Tear in a Voluntary Termination of Car Finance?

If you find yourself unable to keep up with your monthly car finance repayments and want to return the car to the finance company, you will go through a process called voluntary termination. When you enter into a voluntary termination damage charges may be incurred if the vehicle isn’t returned to them in a good condition. The voluntary termination car condition has to be up to the manufacturer’s standards.

So what does voluntary termination of car finance fair wear and tear actually consist of? The term itself can be confusing, so we’re here to help define what the finance company will accept, and what they won’t when it comes to car damages.

What Is Acceptable Wear and Tear?

There are a lot of places around the car that a finance company will overlook as fair wear and tear upon the return of the vehicle. The windscreen and windows of the car can have surface chips but there can’t be any spreading cracks in the glass. They also don’t mind any signs of minor chip repairs as long as they’ve been done professionally.


Car Paintwork

The finance company will take a look at the paintwork. They will accept any small chips from stones and other debris off the road along with the panels as long as they are consistent with the age and mileage of the car. Scratches that can be polished out are not a problem. Any small areas of chipped paintwork like along door edges will be accepted as long as the base coat of paint hasn’t be damaged and the bodywork hasn’t started to rust. As long as any abrasions and scratches are under 25mm long, your finance company shouldn’t flag them up as an issue just as long as, once again, they haven’t penetrated to the base coat.

Minor Scuffs

Door mirror scuffs and scrapes will be absolutely fine as long as the primer and base coat isn’t scratched too. Headlights can have slight surface chipping. The wheels and wheel trims of the car are an area a finance company pay close attention to. Light scratches that are limited to 50% of the rim will be ok. They will also accept rusted or corroded wheel trims that have been lightly scuffed as long as this hasn’t been caused by excessive damage.


The next area we are going to focus on is the interior of the car. This is where we spend most of our time driving around, so of course, it will be acceptable for carpets, upholstery, trim and seat covers to go through normal wear and tear. The finance company will be happy to pay for any repairs as long as they are at an acceptable level.

Tyres And Mechanical Condition

Car Tyres Maintenance

Finance companies love to check out the tyres and overall mechanical condition of the car when you return it. The tyres attached to the car have to meet all of the size and speed ratings as set out by the law and you also have to return the car with a spare wheel or space saver in place too. Whilst you’ve had the car you should have kept the engine maintained to the manufacturer’s specifications. Any warning lights, mechanical faults, broken brake discs or burnt-out clutches won’t be accepted by the finance company and you will have to pay to have these repairs taken care of.

What Is Unacceptable Wear And Tear

There are a lot of different things a finance company just won’t accept as fair wear and tear of a vehicle. In these instances, the lender will issue you with a fee that covers the cost of repairs. Cracks in the windscreen or faulty wiper blades will have to be paid for by you.

Paint Condition

Paintwork And Car Condition

The paintwork of the car is probably one of the most damaged places overall, and finance companies are very strict about what is an acceptable standard. Excessive dents and scratches along with rust or damage to the base coat of the paint don’t class as fair wear and tear.

Interior Condition

Any damage to door mirrors like them being missing or badly scuffed along with the headlights and any other lights around the car are charged to the borrower. If you leave the car with the company smelling of smoke, pet animal odours or excessive damages to the interior, you will have to pay for the whole interior to be cleaned.



Not maintaining the vehicle properly throughout the contract term is a big no-no with finance plans. They check this meticulously, from the tyres to the engine. Any work carried out by a non-manufacturer mechanic or having an incomplete service history can result in hefty fees being charged to you.