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Penalties for scrapes and spills can add up quickly. Here's how to avoid a costly tab.

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The Devos family leased this Honda CR-V. Four years, 93,476 kilometres, one 18-month-old, one rear-end fender-bender, a chipped windshield and parking dings to each of the four corners later, it was time to hand the keys back.

Philippe Devos/The Globe and Mail/Philippe Devos/The Globe and Mail

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This bumper scratch resulted in a $180 wear and tear charge. Before you lease a vehicle, you should ask about the specific return requirements for your lease, as there are variations among the car makers.

Philippe Devos/The Globe and Mail/Philippe Devos/The Globe and Mail

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The family weren't charged for this door ding. Some leases only require a visual inspection of the car before it’s returned. Others demand a test drive, receipts for maintenance such as oil and filter changes, and more. Don’t trust the dealer to know.

Philippe Devos/The Globe and Mail/Philippe Devos/The Globe and Mail

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This stone chip in the windshield resulted in a $612.28 wear and tear charge. During your lease, don’t delay dealing with mechanical or manufacturing defects, however minor, so you don’t miss the warranty period.

Philippe Devos/The Globe and Mail/Philippe Devos/The Globe and Mail

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They didn't get charged for this scrape on the rim. Body damage that makes the car unsafe, or risks growing worse (think rust, or windshield chips) should be fixed as soon as possible. But if it’s minor cosmetic damage you can live with, wait as long as you can.

Philippe Devos/The Globe and Mail/Philippe Devos/The Globe and Mail

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This touched-up stone chip on the hood wasn't deemed worthy of a wear and tear charge. When you reach the end of your lease, Ii you have any damage to repair that’s covered by insurance, get that done before the end-of-lease inspection.

Philippe Devos/The Globe and Mail/Philippe Devos/The Globe and Mail

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