• Mercedes-Benz
  • Smart

Mercedes-Benz of South Charlotte

950 North Polk Street
Pineville, NC 28134

  • Sales: (877) 922-3422
  • Service: (877) 922-4322
  • Parts: (877) 676-4128

Lease Return Information

Your lease is up already?


It's that time. We hope you've enjoyed your lease, as much as we've enjoyed working with you. Now that you're near the end of your lease agreement, you'll soon have a decision to make - consider a new model, extend your lease, or purchase your vehicle.


Our dealership accepts and

encourages your lease return here,
regardless of where you purchased
your vehicle.


That's why we've put together this information for you - to help guide you through our lease-end process.  Basically, you'll need to familiarize yourself with three things: your lease-end options, our vehicle condition guidelines, and how to conduct your own vehicle condition review (before the lease-end inspection). Our process is simple, clear and concise. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at Mercedes-Benz of South Charlotte. 


Lease-End Options


1. Return your vehicle


      When:                                  How:                                       Where: 

At three months before lease end


Optional Vehicle Condition Review by you or your dealer based on The Credit Card Test
This does not replace the required inspection (see below)


Your location choice or at the dealership (depending on who conducts the review)


At one month before lease end


Vehicle inspected by an authorized Mercedes-Benz Financial inspection company (required)



At a time and place convenient for you

At lease end

Vehicle return (required)

At Mercedes-Benz of South Charlotte


 More detailed information is provided below.
*Remember to ask about leasing or purchasing another new or pre-owned Mercedes-Benz.



2. Extend your lease


If you're interested in extending your lease, please contact us at Mercedes-Benz of South Charlotte


3. Pay off your vehicle*


Anytime during your lease, you can pay off your vehicle or finance the purchase price
 by contacting us at Mercedes-Benz of South Charlotte.

Options - Returning your vehicle


What you need to know, when you need to know it.

At three months

The optional Vehicle Condition Review lets you evaluate your vehicle's condition by using The Credit Card Test and guidelines provided herein. Please review the Vehicle Condition Guidelines listed below. It's also a good time to make sure your scheduled maintenance service is up to date. Please remember, this does not replace the required inspection one month before lease end.


If you find any damage that needs repair, you'll have plenty of time to take care of it. Your insurance policy may even pay for the repairs. The information provided below, as well as the checklist will help you conduct your own Vehicle Condition Review.


At one month

A Mercedes-Benz Financial authorized inspection company will contact you to set up a time and place, at your convenience, for your required Vehicle Inspection.


The inspection company will evaluate your vehicle's condition using the Vehicle Condition Guidelines. After the inspection, they'll provide you with a Vehicle Inspection Report, which documents your vehicle's condition at that time.


If you have any damage, the inspection report will also include the repair cost, which tells you how much you'll owe for excess wear and use - unless repairs are made before you return the vehicle. If you choose to make any repairs after the inspection, please contact our dealership for assistance in performing the repairs. You are also welcome to contact Mercedes-Benz Financial's Lease Maturity Department at (800) 873-5471 for more information regarding the inspection report.


If you're over the mileage allowed by your lease, the inspection report will indicate the estimated excess mileage charge at the time of inspection.  


Please note that you will be charged for any additional excess damage and/or mileage that occurs after the final inspections up until the time of turn in.


Note: This inspection is NOT required at this time if you are purchasing your vehicle or extending your current lease for more than three months. In addition, the inspection is only valid for 90 days; if you choose to extend your current lease for more than three months from the time of the original inspection, another inspection will be necessary.


If you are unable to have this inspection completed before you return the vehicle, Mercedes-Benz Financial will inspect it after the return. Please be advised that you'll be charged for any damage found at that time. Also, since this inspection takes place after you've turned in your vehicle, you won't have the opportunity to make any repairs.


At lease end

After you've made arrangements for returning your vehicle, the dealer will check your vehicle's condition and compare it to your Vehicle Inspection Report to see if any repairs have been made or if there's any new damage. The final mileage and excess mileage (if any) will be recorded.


When you return your vehicle to our dealership, your signed Vehicle Inspection Report will be your record of the vehicle's condition. This document also includes the Federal Odometer Disclosure Statement, which must be completed by you at the time of turn-in.

Also, as stated in your lease agreement, you will be responsible for a vehicle turn-in fee at lease-end. 

Vehicle Condition Guidelines
- Overview

Giving you peace of mind as you approach the end of your lease.



Maintenance responsibilities

Under the terms of The First Class Lease you agreed to have your Mercedes-Benz serviced as the manufacturer recommended. Please refer to your Operator's Manual to make sure you followed maintenance policies and schedules.


"Excess wear and use" responsibilities

As stated in your lease agreement, you are responsible for excess wear and use. The Vehicle Condition Guidelines help define what is considered excess wear and use and will help determine the condition of your vehicle, including its interior, exterior and mechanics. Generally, when there's damage, there is excess wear and use. And according to your lease agreement, you are financially responsible for its repair. Below you will find specifics on when damage is considered excess wear and use.


Safety issues

As your lease agreement states, anything that makes the vehicle unsafe or unlawful to operate is also considered damage.


Mileage provision

When you signed your lease agreement, you agreed to drive up to a certain number of miles during the term of your lease. If your mileage is over that amount when you return your vehicle, there will be an excess mileage charge. (Refer to your lease agreement for the per-mile rate.) To find out if you may have an excess mileage charge, simply complete the worksheet listed at the bottom of the page.


Simple, friendly and fair

The Vehicle Condition Guidelines were developed in response to input from customers like you. They offer clear, concise parameters so there are no surprises at lease end. In addition to being easy to  understand, they are also fair, taking into consideration that wear and use are a normal part of driving. As long as your Mercedes-Benz meets these established guidelines, it will be considered free of excess wear and use.


The Credit Card Test
One way to easily determine what is and what isn't considered excessive damage is The Credit Card Test. It's simple. Generally, if exterior or interior damage can't be seen when placing a credit card

over it, then it "passes the test" and you won't be charged.*


*Further details apply.

For complete details, refer to the information below 

Vehicle Condition Guidelines

Interior and exterior - The "ins and outs"

This section covers:

Body and paint; grilles; plastic parts; interior fabric and trim; and convertible soft tops.


* What makes the grade?


Any exterior damage that passes The Credit Card Test (excluding lenses, glass or holes in the sheet metal and frame)


Any type of interior damage that passes The Credit Card Test (excluding safety items, e.g., torn seat belts)


Collective damage that is caused by a single event and passes The Credit Card Test (a single credit card must simultaneously cover all the collective damage); e.g., hail damage is considered a single

event, yet the collective damage can't be simultaneously covered with a single credit card and would not meet the guidelines.


Any bumper scuff that does not alter the underlying material, regardless of size (if the underlying material is cut, shaved, torn, etc., then The Credit Card Test applies)


Any scratch that does NOT go through the paint, regardless of size.

Any scratch that DOES go through the paint and that passes The Credit Card Test.


 Guideline not met

Dents, Dings and Bumps

Guideline met                                       Guideline not met

Scratch (through paint)

    Guideline met                                              Guideline not met

Bumper Scuff and Damage

          Guideline met                                         Guideline not met

Tires and wheels - making the rounds

This section covers:

Tires and wheels


* What makes the grade?


All four tires are the same size (except for those models that are delivered with different tire/wheel sizes in the front and the rear)


The spare tire and rim are present.


Tires have no sidewall plugs, cuts or exposed cords.

Wheels are not broken, cracked or bent.

Size of wheels are all matching. 

Wheel Scuff / Damage

Guideline met

Wheel Scuff / Damage

Guideline not met



For your safety, we recommend you operate your vehicle with tires that meet the manufacturer's specifications and comply with Federal Regulations, which require that passenger cars are operated with tire tread depth measuring more than 2/32 of an inch.

Glass and lenses - taking a clear look

This section covers:

Windshield and all other glass; lenses; plastic windows.


* What makes the grade?


Glass and lenses that are free of stars,* cracks, holes or plugs** 


Glass and lenses that have any scratches, etching or pits, even if they extend beyond the size of the enclosed credit card.


The original vehicle identification plate is visible through the windshield and is undamaged (see picture below)


Star in Windshield

Guideline not met

Cracked Windshield

Guideline not met

Visible Vehicle Identification Plate

Guideline met


Windshield replacements are often covered by insurance. Please ask your insurance agent. If you choose to make any replacements after your lease-end inspection, contact the Mercedes-Benz Financial Lease Maturity Department at (800) 873-5471.


* A "star" is a chip with one or more legs.

** Plugs are considered unsafe for vehicles with supplemental restraint systems.

Glass repair is not acceptable.

Mechanical and electrical - making the connections

This section covers:

All mechanical and electrical components


* What makes the grade?


All maintenance service specified by the manufacturer has been performed, and the most recent service visit is documented by a stamped Service Booklet or a copy of the repair order.


* What doesn't?


Inoperable engines

Missing Service Booklet


* Service Booklet


This is your personal record of maintenance service which works in conjunction with the Flexible Service System (FSS) and is explained in detail in your Operator's Manual. If you choose to have service completed after the lease-end inspection, contact the Mercedes-Benz Financial Lease Maturity Department at (800) 873-5471.



In an effort to ensure your vehicle is in the best condition possible for the next owner, we ask that you return the tool kit, keys and portfolio containing your complete Service Booklet - all provided at lease inception. As referenced in your lease agreement, a fee will be assessed if the Service Booklet is missing upon turn-in.


Aftermarket modifications / missing and broken parts - get the fix

This section covers:

Hardtop; tools; jack; lug wrench; phone (if in contract); CD changer (if in contract); sound system; windscreen; tow hook cover; mirrors; hood ornaments; two infrared keys; LCD screens; navigation system; aftermarket modifications.


* What makes the grade?


All factory-installed parts are present and not broken. Any modification installed by an authorized Mercedes-Benz dealership must be intact; otherwise, there will be a charge to restore the vehicle to its original condition.


* What doesn't?


Anything added to or changed on your vehicle after the lease was signed is considered an aftermarket alteration. These include, but are not limited to:


Lowering the vehicle's suspension


Changing the vehicle color or non-factory paint schemes


Spoiler and trailer hitch


Holes in the frame


Gold Package


Other aftermarket alterations which are not covered by the manufacturer's warranty


Missing Tow Hook Cover

    Guideline met                                            Guideline not met

Missing or Broken Parts

      Guideline met                                        Guideline not met

Missing or Broken Hood Ornament

Guideline not met


The hardtop must be on the vehicle when you return it to our dealership

Vehicle Condition Review

Check it out before turning it in





Checking "yes" to all the questions means your vehicle meets the guidelines and is ready for return. Checking "no" to any of the questions may result in charges if not repaired before you return the vehicle.


Interior and exterior                                                                                                             YES               NO

Is your vehicle free of interior and exterior damage (does it pass
The Credit Card Test?)

Is your vehicle free of holes in the sheet metal and frame? 

Tires and wheels

Are all your tires the same size (see exception in tire explination)?


Are your spare tire and rim in the trunk?


Are all your tires free of sidewall plugs, cuts or exposed cords?


Are your wheels matching and in good condition (not broken or cracked)?

Glass and lenses

Are your windshield and all other glass and lenses free of stars,
cracks, holes and plugs?  

Mechanical and electrical

Has all maintenance service specified by the manufacturer been performed,
and is the most recent service documented with
a stamped Service Booklet or a
copy of the repair order?


Missing and broken parts

Do you have all keys and keyless entry devices?

Are all factory-installed parts present on your vehicle and

not broken? 

Is hardtop present on the vehicle, if applicable?


Aftermarket alterations

If you made any aftermarket modifications, were they authorized by Mercedes-Benz
or installed by an authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer?


Is your mileage within the mileage allowed by your lease agreement?