A Question: “I’ve never leased a car before, so I have no idea what the end-of-lease inspection is like. My 2014 Nissan Leaf is in good condition overall, but I backed into a rock in my driveway one day and scratched /cracked my bumper. I got quoted at 450 to fix the damage without replacing the bumper (bondo for the crack and a new paint job). Here’s my question: do I fix this damage prior to the end-of-lease inspection so that it’s simply not an issue, or do I wait until after the inspection and do it through Nissan-approved channels? 

The potential benefit of repairing first is that it’s simply not an issue during the inspection. Further, I’m not sure if the amount of damage to the bumper would raise any red flags as to other structural damage from the rock (doubtful, but I don’t know). However, there’s a chance the body shop won’t do it in a way that Nissan likes, and then I’ll have to redo it and pay for this a second time.

Of course, if I wait until after the inspection, Nissan might request a more expensive repair, like a full bumper replacement at the dealership, which would run about $800. What would you do? I’d really appreciate advice from those with experience in this area!”


A Response:
What do the lease terms say? Also do you plan on getting a new car or starting a new lease with Nissan after the return of your current lease? I think that plays a huge. Dealers are always willing to make a deal for something like a trade for new business because that doesn’t cost them as much compared to losing your business entirely. I think you’re rolling the dice either way (fixing it 3rd party or through the dealer). Dealer most likely won’t make you replace the bumper unless something broke that yay not be apparent (attachment clips, mounting points, etc) but they may want to charge a premium for the work though.

Something that was reiterated to me by the guy that oversaw my current lease was that the car is yours, it’s not like a rental agreement, so I would think you get a bit more wiggle room. They are going to do their standard inspection when you return it; they will likely see if you repaired something like that. I’m curious to hear your outcome. I’m in a lease and someone dinged my fender bad about 2 months after I got the car. I haven’t fixed it bc I figured I’ll just make a deal for a new car when the lease is up. Hope I shared some perspective.


A Response:
For what it’s worth my friend got into a fender bender in his leased Mazda 3. Prior to the end lease he decided to get it repaired and they took the car as is. If you do it through their own network then you’re probably going to pay a premium well above $800. Alot of times legitimate body shops will not just respray single panels. They have to “blend” the new paint with the old meaning it’s going to cost to more. If you do it through a body shop it may appear on the Carfax as a service performed and they might notice that. My friend repaired his through a bodyguy that did work on his own. The repair stayed off the books and he passed the inspection even though the car had the fender, hood, bumper resprayed.