If you smoke, it’s important that you know whether you can in your leased car to avoid incurring additional fees. Unfortunately, there is no definite answer on this, so the only way you can be sure if you can smoke in your leased car is by reading your lease contract. You can also check with the dealer, but your contract is a better option because an employee at the dealership could accidentally give you incorrect information. The person you speak to probably won’t be the person who ends up inspecting the car when you return it, and the two of them could have different opinions on your smoking in the car.
While not all lease contracts are the same, they typically allow for standard wear and tear and only allow the dealer to charge you extra if there is excess wear and tear on the car. The question then becomes if smoking constitutes general or excessive wear and tear. It can certainly lower the value of the car and damage the interior, since smoke will get into the upholstery and leave an unpleasant odor.
Consumers have had mixed results in this regard, as some have smoked in their leases and returned them without any additional fees, while others have had to pay extra for smoking in their leased cars. Read through your lease contract carefully and see if it mentions smoking. If you haven’t signed the contract yet, you could ask the dealer to include an addendum that smoking constitutes normal wear and tear, although there is no guarantee that they will be willing to do that.
The dealer’s main consideration after you return the car is getting it ready for the next customer, whether they plan to lease it out again or sell it. If they need to do a significant amount of cleaning to get rid of the smoke smell, then they will likely try to charge you extra, provided the contract allows them to do so.
If you’re worried about extra fees, one option is an add-on to cover additional wear and tear. Many dealers offer add-ons that cover a certain amount in extra damage. For example, if you get a care plan with $5,000 in extra coverage, you don’t need to worry as much about extra fees, even if you do smoke in the car.
The amount that you smoke could also play a part in whether you get charged for it. If you just smoke from time to time in the car, the smell will be much less noticeable than if you smoke in there every day.
What if you smoke in your leased car, and based on your lease contract, the dealer will be able to charge you for it? Your best option is hiring a cleaning company to thoroughly clean the interior of the car until it smells normal again. When it comes to any damages or issues with a leased car, you’ll almost always spend less if you handle them yourself than if you leave it for the dealer.
If your lease contract doesn’t specify anything about smoking, check what it says about the interior of the car and the type of condition expected. Perform your due diligence and you should be able to figure out if smoking in your leased car is a bad idea, based on your lease contract. If smoking could result in an extra charge, it’s smart to avoid it, because even with a cleaning surface, the smell of cigarette smoke is hard to get out of anything, including a car.