Leasing has a great advantage over owning your own vehicle when it comes to liabilities. As soon as you drive off the forecourt in a car that you have purchased, the value begins to decrease. You are responsible for every element of that car, from windscreen wipers to air con. However, with a leased vehicle, there are certain elements of the car that you will not be responsible for and, instead, the company you have negotiated your lease contract with will take ownership of. You are not liable for the resale value of the car, or selling it on, as this will be done by your lease provider.
But who is responsible for the tyres?
One of the most commonly asked questions regarding responsibility for the vehicle is tyres, and whether they are your responsibility as the lease holder, or that of your lease provider.
The condition of your tyres is of paramount importance when you are driving any vehicle. However, when you are driving a lease vehicle, it can be difficult to determine whose responsibility it is to change, replace, and maintain the tyres.
To help clarify this issue, Round Trip Tyres have put together a short guide which should assist you with understanding where responsibility falls with regard to the tyres of your lease vehicle. It also includes a guide on how to tell if the tyres require replacement, and how to successfully change a tyre when necessary.
Check your maintenance contract
You will be given a maintenance contract when you lease a vehicle, which will include details of the routine servicing you will need to ensure you keep your vehicle up to date with, as well as replacement tyres and any other repair costs that may fall under your responsibility as the hirer.
What you are directly responsible for, and what the lease provider is responsible for will vary depending on the policy and contract. For example, you might find that they will cover:
- Unlimited premium branded tyre replacements.
- The fitting of replacement tyres at a location convenience to you.
- No recharges for punctures or damaged tyres.
Obviously all this will depend on the contract that you have, but it is usual that you would be responsible for damage to tyres due to driver error, and vandalised or stolen wheels.
When do you need to change a tyre?
As a driver, it is important to know when you need to change a tyre, if there is a problem when you are driving, and also how to change a tyre should you need to before you can get to a garage.
Legally a tyre must have a tread of at least 1.6mm across three-quarters of the tyre’s width; but most manufacturers recommend replacing a tyre if the tread wears down to less than 3mm. Below this level of tread, your car’s road holding and braking performance could be compromised.
Some warning signs when you are driving could include:
A shaky drive – If your vehicle is shaking and vibrating when you drive, then this could be a sign that your tyre tread depth is wearing out.
Squeaks, whines, and other strange noises – Any noise out of the ordinary that continues for a period of time should be assessed by a professional. A squeaking noise might indicate that the air is being squeezed out of your tyre and you should immediately check.
If you have discovered damage to your tyre and need to change it yourself, follow these simple steps:
How to change a tyre should you need to
Ensure your vehicle is parked safely away from other traffic and the handbrake is on. If it’s dark, wear a hi-visibility jacket if you have one. All passengers should be out of the car.
If you have a chock, place it behind the opposite wheel to the damaged one to prevent car movement. If you don’t have a chock, a brick or large stone will do.
Turn the wheel wrench anti-clockwise and loosen the nuts to the point where they can be turned by hand (they may be difficult to loosen).
However, don’t remove them completely yet.
Jack the car up to 10-15cm off the ground. Your handbook will tell you where the car’s dedicated jacking point is.
Fully loosen the wheel nuts, then carefully pull the tyre towards you until it comes free.
Mount the spare wheel onto the protruding hub bolts, and then tighten the wheel nuts by hand.
Using the jack, lower the car so the tyre is in contact with the ground and then fully tighten the wheel nuts again using a wrench.
Fully lower the car.
If you have a tyre pressure gauge, it’s worth checking the pressure of the new tyre.
If you have any concerns, then go to a nominated garage as soon as possible to have your tyre checked.