I don’t know.

Despite offering and even recommending that my customers pay a bit more to have all their servicing and tyres included in their monthly rate, frankly I don’t know for certain.  I do know that customers that take this service have statistically higher levels of satisfaction and peace of mind but I’m not sure if they always save money.

The car leasing companies run their own calculations to determine what to charge for the additional services based on estimated servicing and tyres costs for the term, no doubt some margin for themselves and they often reduce the basic lease rate by a few pounds per month as they know the vehicle is more likely to be returned fully serviced and retain its expected value.  The overall idea is that they will make a little more profit but also the customer will pay a little less and not have to worry about any unexpected large bills so everyone wins.

The obvious downside for the customer is that they will pay a higher monthly rate from the start whereas there are often no servicing or tyre requirements for up to the first two years of a car or van’s life, depending on the mileage and service intervals.  The upside is predictability and no spikes in expenditure.  For some though neither this up or downside is critical; what they want to know is whether inclusive servicing or pay as you go servicing is the lowest cost.

And that’s what I don’t know.  It’s likely that sometimes paying a bit extra will save money overall but that might not always be the case and it’s not very scientific.

So I’ve put my money where my mouth is.  My new car has just arrived and, contrary to my instincts, I’ve ordered it without maintenance to carry out an experiment.  My plan is to keep a running tally of the extra amount I would have paid and my actual qualifying expenses so I can compare the two and see what wins.  Clearly, early on, I’ll be up with no servicing needed for a year or so but that could change by the end.

What would I like the outcome to be?  Well, professionally, I’d be happy to be able to confirm that having maintenance included is worthwhile.  But being a tight Yorkshireman (yes, I know that’s a tautology) I’d like to come out of this better off than I would have been.

And I think I can beat the system for the following reasons

  1. My natural driving style (more Jenson Button than Lewis Hamilton) seems to make tyres last longer than average
  2. I’m going to have the tyres treated with Tyreseal which should mean I get no punctures that cause premature tyre replacement (more on the details of this in a future article)
  3. The new car is a Renault.  While French cars might not be synonymous with reliability and low maintenance costs, Renault now offers a 4 year warranty ie the same length as my lease so there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises
  4. I’ll be using an independent garage to service the car.  As long as they use Renault parts, it will be in accord with the warranty but at a lower price.  (Interestingly, the leasing companies use trusted independents much of the time too).

The only disappointing part of the experiment is that it will be 4 years until I can report categorically whether I’ll have been better off and probably two years until I’ve a good idea.  Also, of course, what works for me, might not be the case for someone else, based on a different driving profile and vehicle.  In any case I’ll provide regular updates every few months.

So what if you are ordering a new car before I report finally in 2020?  Should you go for a fully maintained lease or not?  Well, it comes down to the factors mentioned earlier – peace of mind, predictability and your perception of whether the extra cost of the maintained lease (different for every vehicle and mileage profile) represents good value for money.  Only you can decide if it’s right for your circumstances, budget and personality.  Make sure you get quotes for with and without and then you can decide.

If you’d like to know more about how leasing works and how it could work for you, please get in touch.  If you think others would be interested in this article, please share it.

Matt Spivey

Vehicle Leasing Neva Consultants
Left the corporate world in 2013 after ten years at Vodafone and now specialising in car and van leasing with Neva Consultants.Serial networker and member of BNI Wakefield Wealthbuilders, 4Networking and The TradesHub Academy South Yorkshire.

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