When buying a rental car, we usually imagine an old, worn-out car that hundreds or thousands of drivers have driven. The first thought is to abandon such an undertaking and choose something else. However, is this true? We figured out the topic for you, and we will tell you about the pros and cons of buying a rental car and answer the main question: is buying a rental car a good idea?
First of all, let’s find out exactly how you can buy a rental car, how it differs from a used one from the owner, and what you should pay attention to when buying.
How to Buy a Used Rental Car
By and large, the process of buying a rental car is not much different from buying any other used car. And the selection criteria will also be the same.
For the purchase, you can use personal money if you have saved enough money. Or you can take out a loan, as car buyers often do.
Regardless of which way you will pay, calculate in advance and think about the method of financing. If you are planning to take out a loan, find a suitable lender who is ready to provide a loan in advance and calculate all the costs.
Since different lenders offer different conditions, a simple loan payment calculator will be a good helper. With it, you can enter all the data, such as the interest rate and the annual interest rate, and calculate how much money you will actually pay for using the loan, including the number of monthly payments and the total loan amount.
Explore all the options ahead of time, so you know exactly what the best offer is for you before signing the paperwork.
Where Сan You Buy a Rental Car
There are many ways to buy a rental car. They are sold by both ordinary dealers and various auto auctions. However, we recommend that you, first of all, pay attention to the official dealerships of the three largest companies that provide auto rentals. Avis, Enterprise, and Hertz are selling their best self-retired cars, and the rest is being handed out for sale to other dealers. Therefore, it is from them that you can buy “fresh” cars in the best condition.
What to Do When Buying a Rental Car
If before that you had the experience of buying only new cars or did not buy a car at all, you hardly thought about how you can make sure that everything is fine with the car, with the exception of a visual inspection and a short time behind the wheel.
As with any used car purchase, there are some steps you need to take before buying to make sure you are buying a quality auto.
Review The Vehicle History Report
Perhaps the most important document that you should pay attention to when buying a used car. In the vehicle history report, you can find all the necessary information about the auto, the absence or presence of accidents, sales history, and service records.
The rental car company may offer a vehicle history report (VHR) for free, or you can buy one from CarFax, AutoCheck, or the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System.
Get an Inspection From a Trusted Mechanic
Suppose you know a mechanic or want to use the services and get an independent opinion. In that case, this is also a good way to make sure that the used car is in the stated condition. Used rental cars have a higher mileage, and not always their past drivers treat them as carefully as they should.
An experienced mechanic will be able to identify problems early and may even help you get the price down.
Take It for a Test Drive
Another great way to make sure the auto is right for you is to sit behind the wheel. When buying a used car from a rental company, you can take it for a test drive for up to three days.
During this time, you can fully experience all the pros and cons, which cannot be said about official dealers, when twenty minutes and a small area near the car dealership are allocated for a test drive.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Rental Car
We have told you how and where to buy a used rental car, as well as what you should pay attention to in the first place. Next, we will describe to you the pros and cons of buying a used car, and you will be able to make the final decision for yourself.
Pros of buying a rental car:
- Rental car companies stick to maintenance schedules, repair when needed, and know where the auto is at all times;
- Companies that have used rental cars often receive a volume discount, which means they often sell for a lower price than the average owner. In most cases, car rentals are only used for a couple of years, which means the cars can still be warranted;
- Sales can be less stressful as there can be no negotiation process as there would be in a dealer network;
- Rental car company will provide a third-party vehicle history report, usually free of charge;
- Many rental car companies have financing, fixed prices, and an extensive selection on their websites;
- Only the best-selling vehicles are resold to consumers, while the rest can be auctioned off;
- Some car rental companies allow you to drive a car for a few days as a test drive. This time behind the wheel should be enough to make sure that you are comfortable in this auto. Or refuse it before buying.
Cons of buying a rental car:
- You may never know the full history of a car because you don’t know every driver who has used it. There is an opinion that people are less careful with things that do not belong to them. On the other hand, in order to avoid conflict with the rental company, drivers try to drive more carefully;
- Rental car companies may offer many options, but rental cars are usually base models and cannot be upgraded. If you’re looking for more features in your car and aren’t considering base models, you might want to buy your car elsewhere;
- A rental car is a high-mileage car. If the average driver in the United States drives 12-15 thousand kilometers a year, then a rental car can cover twice as much distance. This inevitably has an impact on the technical condition of the car;
- Limited inventory. The most popular models are usually purchased for rent in basic colors like black, white, and metallic. If you are looking for some rarer model or exclusive color, you are unlikely to be able to buy it from the rental.
The Bottom Line
In order not to miscalculate with the choice and design of a rental car, take this process seriously and spend some time studying different offers. Car rental companies put up thousands of cars for sale each year, so you’ll always have plenty of options.
Purchasing a vehicle history report and asking for maintenance records are steps every customer should take when buying a used car, but it’s especially important when looking at a former rental car.
Buying a used rental car can be a great way to get a good car and save money. After weighing all the pros and cons, having a test drive, and consulting with an experienced independent mechanic, you will know for sure if buying a rental car is a good idea?