General overview of the expected condition of a vehicle at the time of return.

An overview
Internal Inspection
Cab Exterior Body
Cab Exterior Paintwork
Body & Curtains
Windscreen Lens and Lights

An overview of expectation of conditions


A vehicle should be returned in a safe, legal and reliable mechanical condition. The 'safe and legal' standards should be judged against the relevant Inspection Manual which lays down minimum standards for annual test.The vehicle should meet these standards. In addition any legal health and safety requirements, such as thorough examination reports for lifting equipment or other specialised bodywork, should also be complied with. Individual agreements may stipulate the minimum length of time remaining on any certificates.

Engines should perform satisfactorily and be free of any excessive leaks (see below), smoke or abnormal noises.
Gear boxes and final drives should perform satisfactorily and be free of excessive leaks (see below) and abnormal noises. It should be possible to select all gears, splits and range changes easily. Any crunching of gears indicating worn synchromesh is not acceptable. Automatic gearboxes should change correctly through all gears as designed.

Clutches should operate correctly and still have some serviceable life remaining. Should measurements indicate the clutch is worn to the limit of serviceable life then a replacement clutch should be fitted.

A leak is defined as something that readily forms a drip. Any seepage around seals or gaskets that leaves a surface residue is not considered to be a leak.


Tyres, including the spare if originally supplied, meet the contracted minimum levels, if non stipulated at least meet the minimum legal requirements. There should be no damage, cords exposed or side wall impact abuse


Brake lining/pad material naturally wears through usage. As a minimum the lining material remaining should be sufficient to pass an annual test. Please refer to your specific agreement which may stipulate a minimum thickness of lining which should be present at return.


Batteries should be of a suitable size and capacity for the vehicle and be capable of readily starting the engine from cold under all conditions.

Electrical equipment

All electrical components originally fitted including radios, fridges, lamps (both obligatory and discretionary), etc, should be present and fully functional. Any replacements fitted should be of a similar standard and specification to that originally supplied. If additional electrical equipment is fitted to a vehicle after supply it should be wired in correctly by a competent person. When removed for return, the wiring must be repaired to a safe and satisfactory standard and any fitting marks or holes suitably repaired in a cosmetically tidy manner. Manufacturers may insist on warning lights and/or ECU fault codes being cleared prior to vehicle return.


There are a large range of body makes, types and styles fitted to commercial vehicles. As this is the working part of the vehicle it is likely to be subject to a higher degree of wear and tear than the cab. The type of body and use should be taken into account when assessing fair wear and tear. For instance a higher degree of wear and tear would be acceptable on a tipper or refuse body than on a dry freight box or temperature controlled body; the latter being particularly susceptible to water ingress through minor damage causing the insulation to deteriorate.


It would normally be expected that all sign writing, logos, other livery and multiple colours should be removed at return and the paintwork left in good condition. This would apply to bodies and curtains as well, and is the responsibility of the customer to do so.

Additional fitments and accessories

Any additional equipment, components or panels which were fitted when the vehicle was originally supplied should be present and fully functional. This includes such items as air management kits, in-cab entertainment units, special seats or bunks, body lining panels, load restraints, etc. Any tools supplied with the vehicle should also be
present, for example jacks and wheel braces.

General cleanliness

A vehicle should be sufficiently clean to allow a detailed inspection to take place. General rubbish and debris should be removed from cabs and bodies. Any load residue should be cleaned from bodies and staining removed from cab interiors. A clean and tidy vehicle gives the impression of being well cared for.


All legal documents, unless already held by the leasing company, must be returned with the vehicle. These include registration documents, MOT certificates, any other relevant certificates for lifting equipment, etc. It may also be a requirement that service maintenance and inspection records are returned with the vehicle.


All keys, including master keys, originally supplied with the vehicle must be returned with it.