Guide to fair wear and tear

We adhear to the BVRLA's guidelines of what constitutes "fair wear and tear". The purpose of the guidelines are to provide an industry-wide, accepted standard that defines fair wear and tear when vehicles are returned at the end of a car rental agreement.

What is fair wear and tear?

As cars are used, they will naturally pick up small dents and scratches. Fair wear and tear is defined as damage to a vehicle which is in line with the age and use of the vehicle. It is defined by the BVRLA which stands for the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, the national trade body for all UK companies involved in the leasing and rental of vehicles. They work on behalf of the millions of people renting and leasing cars each year to ensure that the industry is properly regulated.

What is acceptable damage?

It is always worth checking this with your rental company as they will have their own set of guidelines for fair wear and tear. There may be some small variations from one company to the next but as long as they are signed up to the BVRLA you will be treated fairly. Broadly speaking, this is what is generally considered fair wear and tear:

Paint damage

Small chips on the bonnet of the car or on the door shuts are acceptable relative to the age of the vehicle. Large clusters appearing at the same time which have also gone through to the base coat may not be deemed fair wear and tear.


Damage to windscreens which is in direct line of sight for the driver or which affects the heating elements will not be deemed fair wear and tear and will need repair immediately.

Bodywork dents

Dents of up to 10mm, as long as the base coat of paint has not been penetrated, will likely be deemed fair wear and tear. If there is a cluster of dents that appear at the same time on the same panel it is unlikely to be deemed fair wear and tear.


Scratches of up to 25mm in length are classed as fair wear and tear if they haven’t gone through the base coat of paint. Scratches longer than 25mm will likely need a repair, particularly if they have penetrated the base coat.

Alloy wheel and hub caps

Minor scuffing to the wheel is acceptable but if there is a dent, that is not acceptable.


Tyres will wear naturally which is fine, but damage to the side wall which can happen from impact with a curb would be chargeable as this makes the tyre unsafe and it would have to be replaced.


Any rips, tears, holes or burn marks will not be accepted as fair wear and tear and will need to be repaired.

For more details about AMT’s fair wear and tear policy which is in line with the BVRLA, view the guide.

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