The lease is up on our 2005 Freestyle in early May. We're below the allowable mileage so we're good there. No dents or dings, some nicks in the paint, the interior could use a good scrubbing but there's no damage. It was maintained by Ford Service per the original agreement.
What's the procedure when a leased vehicle is turned in? Do they test drive it and do an inspection? Can I expect them to nitpick every single thing with the vehicle since I'm not buying another Ford?
It's our first, possibly last, leased vehicle and I don't want to pay a nickel, just get rid of the car.
Make sure the car looks as good as you can make it look. Washed waxed vacuumed etc. Pretend you are selling the car and do what it takes to get the best price. That really is what you are doing.
Each dealer depends on how picky they are. If you are under miles and there are no major problems you are probably OK. I think most leases do not give you much if any credit for under mileage.
If the car was decent, sounds like maybe yours wasn't(?), it might pay off for you to purchase the car. I discovered when my dad wanted to turn in his lease Lexus, that it would cost him several thousand dollars(internet searches etc) more to buy the same year/mileage/model than if he just bought the lease vehicle. Sometimes the lease buyout is a good deal especially if the miles are under.
Russ...in my part of the country...the dealer isn't responsible for checking in the vehicle. They will check mileage and "ground" the vehicle...have you sign some documentation. Ford then sends an independant company to inspect the vehicle and issue a report on condition. Depending on who they contract with will determine what is acceptable condition. I've heard horror stories of customers being charged for "excessively dirty" floor mats. Generally...the vehicle should have wear that reflects its age and mileage. That having been said...you might want to take along your digital camera and take pictures of the car when you drop it off. That way...if anything happens while it's in custody of the dealer...you're not responsible. Don't forget...you will probably have to take off your license plates and cancel them in order to have the car taken off your insurance policy.
Many leasing companies who took it on the chin back in the '90's/early 00's with unrealistic residual values, and survived (quite a few went belly-up), are now looking to get every possible penny out of their 'customers' for the most miniscule charges.
Your lease paperwork should give you a detailed breakdown of what is expected when you return the vehicle, plus the leasing company normally sends "End of Lease" paperwork a month or so prior to the big day.
Look for little things, which can become big $$ if you miss 'em - for instance, my '05 Freestyle must have either serviceable original or OEM replacement tires when it goes back in a few weeks - no off-brand cheapies.