What is the differnece between a "driver maintained" lease vehicle & a "funder maintained" lease vehicle?

The language and wording involved in the contract hire and leasing industry can be a tad confusing. However, since our regulator, the Finance Conduct Authority (FCA), has brought about changes across the entire financial network in the UK, customers can now expect a clearer and more practical experience. In particular, the FCA introduced six core consumer outcomes which strive to ensure that all customers are treated fairly. In particular, in looking at outcome 3 (which stresses clear information must be offered to the customer) and outcome 4 (which focuses on suitable advice,) our industry understood the need to make necessary changes...


With contract hire there has been little understanding as to exactly what is included within the monthly rental a customer pays – does it include servicing, insurance, replacement vehicles, breakdown recovery etc. The industry used to distinguish quotes by saying these were either “non-maintained” or “fully-maintained”, with the latter offering service and maintenance. However, a customer who received a “non-maintained” quote challenged this description, arguing that by a document saying the vehicle was “non-maintained” meant that there was no obligation for them to maintain it. The court agreed with this interpretation and therefore our industry decided to make some formative changes.

What is a driver-maintained lease vehicle?

If you a receive a quotation for a contact hire vehicle which is “driver-maintained”, this means that you are responsible for all servicing, maintenance and tyres on that vehicle. As the cars supplied our market are generally brand-new (or nearly new pre-registered vehicles) this means that you do have the benefit of a warranty/residual warranty and, in some cases, breakdown recovery. It is important to note that a warranty does not include regular servicing and maintenance – the warranty exists to protect driver against any faults on the vehicle which was not caused by them. As a driver, you therefore need to ensure that you carry out:

  • Servicing in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations – this will either be time based (every 12/24 months) or mileage based (every 10,000/20,000);
  • Routine maintenance – replacement of windscreen wipers, lightbulbs etc;
  • Replacement tyres – you must replace any worn or damaged tyres in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations and they must be the same specification as the ones provided with the vehicle i.e. no budget tyres; and
  • Breakdown recovery – after the expiry of any manufacturer provided recovery, you will need to arrange breakdown assistance i.e. AA or RAC.

What is a funder-maintained lease vehicle?

If you a receive a quotation for a contact hire vehicle which is “funder-maintained” you do need to ask the relevant credit broker (such as CarLease UK) which finance company is being utilised and to review their terms and conditions for the maintenance package. In most instances, a funder-maintained quotation should include the cost of all:

  • Routine servicing;
  • Routine maintenance;
  • Replacement tyres – maintenance police vary as to whether they include punctures as well as replacements due to wear; and
  • Breakdown recovery - some finance companies do not include this unless specifically requested by the customer

By having a funder-maintained vehicle the benefit to you as a driver is that it fixes many of your operational costs. You need only pay for the fuel and the insurance (all contract hire vehicles must be comprehensively insured).

While many young drivers do ask for all encompassing maintenance packages which cover insurance and fuel, this is not something that we can offer.

For more help and advice on understanding the terminology used by car leasing companies head on over to our dedicated Help and Advice pages or feel free to contact one of our experienced car leasing staff members to learn more about the ins and outs of car leasing here in the UK. You can also read our blog pages to stay upto date with news and reviews from within the lease car industry...

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