Replacing Tires on a Leased Car: Who Is Responsible? Solved

Short Answer: Typically, car leasing companies will not cover tire replacement for leased cars — you’ll likely have to pay for this (and other routine maintenance) out of pocket. Some dealerships and third-party companies like Cartelligent offer maintenance packages that can cover tire replacements for leases. For more information about replacing tires on a leased car, see below.

Replacing Tires on a Leased Car

It is generally your responsibility as the lessee to replace the tires on your leased vehicle during the term of your lease. Most lease agreements require the lessee to pay for routine maintenance on the car, including things like oil changes and tire rotation, as well as any repairs related to excess wear and tear.

Leasing companies may define “excess wear and tear” differently, but most leased vehicles are new and come with new tires. A typical car lease is for three to four years, so needing to replace the tires before the end of this period would likely be considered excess wear and tear. (According to industry standards, tires should last for about six years.) Keep in mind, if you need to replace the tires, many car leasing companies will require you to return the car with tires that match the originals. It’s also possible that your lease will require replacement tires to be from a certain brand — you can check your lease agreement for specifics.

For example: If you lease a BMW from Valley BMW in Modesto, CA, worn-out tires are considered excess wear and tear, so you’ll be charged to replace them when you return the vehicle if you don’t do it yourself before the end of the lease agreement. Valley BMW defines excess tire wear and tear as tires with tread depth of less than one-eighth of an inch remaining, and/or tires that are not all of the same grade or quality as those that came with the original vehicle. In other words, you’ll need to replace the tires if the tread is worn down, and you’ll need to replace them with tires that are all the same grade and quality as the tires that were on the vehicle when you leased it, according to the lease-end requirements.

For more information about other charges you may incur at the end of your lease, see our article on smoke damage policies for leased cars.

Lease Maintenance and Repair Packages

If you’re worried about getting hit with maintenance charges when you return your leased car, one option is to buy a maintenance and repair package from your leasing company or a third party. For example, the car sales company Cartelligent offers up to $5,000 in coverage for excess wear and tear charges (including worn tires) with its Safe Lease package. The package price varies depending on the vehicle, but it generally ranges from around $595 to $995, a Cartelligent customer service representative said. While maintenance and repair packages are an added expense, they can provide greater peace of mind and fewer unexpected charges.

Where to Buy Tires

If you return a leased vehicle with worn-down or low-quality tires, you’ll be charged for new tires by the car leasing company, and the company will likely charge you more than you would pay to replace the tires yourself. To find out where to buy affordable tires, check out our comparison of discount tire retailers including Costco, Discount Tire, and more. Michelin tires are more expensive — see our article on Michelin tires to find out why.

Our previous research also explains each manufacturer’s policy on tinting the windows of a leased vehicle.