By on January 30, 2015

rentals

Most car enthusiasts know that rental cars are the most abused vehicles on the road. We know this, of course, because we are the ones who abuse them.

Seriously: when a normal person picks up a rental car, they see it as little more than basic transportation. A simple, cheap vehicle designed to bring them from the Houston airport to a suburban office park, where they will give a presentation about something like The Efficacy of Automated Stapler Software to a company with a nondescript name like “RidgeTech” or “The Matheson Group.”

But car enthusiasts see it differently. When a car enthusiast gets inside a rental car, he doesn’t wonder where the lights are, or how to turn on the wipers. Instead, he thinks: How fast can I go before it locks me out of park? And then he tests this, repeatedly, until finally the transmission dies, at which point he goes home and tells his friends that whatever Chrysler he rented is an unreliable piece of shit.

For further proof of how car enthusiasts beat on rental cars, allow me to share my most recent rental car experience. It was in Europe, and I was tremendously excited, because I had rental car insurance. When a customer eagerly opts for rental car insurance, this is a bad sign. If you run a rental car company, and the customer asks “Can I get even MORE rental car insurance?”, you can be pretty sure you will never see the car again with all of its doors attached.

So anyway: I rented something small and pathetic, some French car called the C-Elysee, and it was awful. I mean, truly terrible. It was ugly, it was cheap, it was boring, it was plasticky, and it accelerated at the same rate as melting ice. So I decided that the best thing to do – the best way to really enjoy this car – would be to pull the handbrake in every possible situation, including when stopping at red lights.

Now, it’s been about six months since this trip, so this car has probably found its way into the hands of a real customer by now. A normal person, maybe even a young driver, highly excited to receive her very first car, with absolutely no knowledge that a previous driver drove 37 miles of the French Riviera with the handbrake up “just to see if it would let me.”

But here’s the thing about modern cars: in large part, they can usually take the abuse. I say this because I spent a summer in college working for Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and I discovered that modern cars are capable of handling just about anything that modern car renters can do to them. Blowout on the highway? No problem. Mud in the trunk? Not a worry. Didn’t realize the parking brake was in the footwell, so you drove around with it engaged all weekend? Who cares!

Indeed, it seems that modern cars are almost manufactured to the lowest common denominator. It’s as if, when an automobile engineer is designing a vehicle, he thinks to himself: what about the guy who tucks in his shirt even though he doesn’t have a belt? And then they add a bunch more screws and nuts and bolts just to make sure even that guy doesn’t break the thing.

And so today’s question is this. We all know how much rental cars can be abused – whether intentionally or unintentionally, whether by car enthusiasts or complete idiots. And yet, we all know how reliable modern cars are: the days of breakdowns and mechanical failures and unexplained noises are generally over, unless you’re driving a Land Rover. So is a used rental car worthy of your consideration? Is it an acceptable possibility? And if not: at what price would you change your mind?

Me, I’d have no problem buying a used rental car, provided it a) passes a thorough mechanical inspection, b) feels perfectly fine on a test drive, and c) is not a Dodge Avenger. What about you?


Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

154 Comments on “Would You Buy a Used Rental Car?...”


  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    Ordinary cars – yes.
    Anything fast/special – no way.

    Years ago, I bought a Ford Fiesta that was definitely an ex-rental (from the tiny island of Jersey, so very low mileage and unlikely to have been driven above 40mph)

    More recently I bought a six month old E90 3-series that was described as “ex BMW head office”, but in the UK it is commonly rumoured that a lot of cars described in that way are actually ex-rental.

    If I lived in the US, I probably wouldn’t buy an ex rental. Your rental companies keep cars in their fleet for much longer, and it’s fairly common to rent cars with 30-40k miles, as the rental car reviews on this site confirm. In Europe, if I rent from Hertz/Avis/Sixt, it is unusual to get a car with more than 15k miles.

  • avatar
    Starwagonturbod

    Our 2006 Toyota Sienna LE was a former rental car before we bought it as a certified pre-owned at our local dealer. I had a bit of trepidation about that fact, but to be honest with you who really rents minivans? Not hot-shoes or kids is my guess.

    The van has given us about 100k miles of trouble free ownership so far and appears to be well on its way to many thousand more. I would buy a former rental again. Well as long as it isn’t some go fast rocket car, but then again not many places rent those out.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’ve had one former rental. The car was cheap and I put a lot of trouble free miles on it. It served it’s purpose. So, yes under similar circumstances I would do it again, but I probably won’t

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Same thing for me. I picked up a 94 Tempo from Enterprise when my wife’s car was lost to an accident and I needed something quick. The only real downside was that when we finally went to replace it about 6 years later, I had to force the used car dealer to take it in trade for a credit of just a couple of hundred bucks. It was still reasonably functional but of no value to anyone but the lowest of the cut-rate used car dealers, due to the mileage and general blandness of the car.

  • avatar

    It depends on the mileage.
    It depends also on the condition when you inspect it.

    Rental cars aren’t always abused because any damage will be noticed and the renter will be held liable.

    Some cars are driven normally over their rental time-span.

    Since these vehicles have to be inspected to be certified for sale… And rental cars are usually mass-produced in numbers that would ensure the parts are cheap and ubiquitous, I don’t see the problem.

  • avatar
    fallous

    Truly most new cars are designed to be idiot-proof, but as an engineer I can assure that when you believe you have made something idiot-proof, the world will invent a better idiot.

    Whenever I’ve looked at rental cars for purchase the discount isn’t nearly enough to convince me to take the risk.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      This says it all. Not nearly worth the risk.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Agree. For most of us it is not worth the risk, especially if it will be the family’s prime mover.

        But for others the decision to gamble on a former-rental could be driven by all sorts of other reasons, such as financial constraints, second, third or fourth vehicle for commuting, grocery-getting, kids transportation, and the like.

        I have bought several former-rental vehicles over the decades and fully expected them to break down at the most inconvenient times. And invariable, they did. That’s why there was always an extra vehicle or two around to save the day.

        When you live 26 miles away from the nearest town, like I do, your priorities re transportation change to the highest rung on the ladder.

        From personal experience, former-rentals can cost you a lot of money to keep them running. If you do all your own repair and maintenance like I used to do, the cost is somewhat mitigated but what you give up is “time”.

        Time you don’t have for other activities because you’re busy maintaining or repairing that former-rental that’s in dire need of some tender loving care.

  • avatar
    Hamilton Guy

    I agree with spreadsheet monkey about not buying an exotic ex-rental, but I would certainly look at something fairly ordinary, especially if it were low mileage. For example my late wife’s last car was an ex-Enterprise 2013 Ford Edge Limited, in the rental fleet for 6 months and only had 9,000 or so miles. It was loaded; AWD, sunroof, nav, power everything. It was an excellent biy.

  • avatar
    ItsMeMartin

    It seems that my “get off my lawn” phase has begun early but I frankly see nothing hilarious or brag-worthy about destroying property, be it your own, someone else’s, or rented. I wish I had any explanations for why respecting one’s (even temporary) property is commendable or simply worth it but the fact is that there is none. You either believe it or you are little better than those thugs who get off on smashing windows and ripping mirrors. It’s a shame that respect for one’s possessions is such a rare trait now but that’s just one of the things that consumerism has taught us I guess.

    Doug, I just hope that you enjoyed having some juvenile fun, got those brownie points or whatever else you were pursuing. Hope the lulz were worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      +1 I brought up this same point in another story about rentals. I mentioned that I was taught to respect other people’s property. I was pretty much laughed at for being naive to think others were raised the same way

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      I agree. I’ve rented plenty of vehicles in my lifetime, and I can’t understand this “drive it like you stole it” mentality that some people have about rental cars. In my opinion, if you abuse a rental car, you will pretty much abuse any other property that isn’t yours. And that shows a lot about yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Depends what you consider abuse I guess. I’ve done the Jack Baruth routine a few times and taken rentals to tracks for the fun of it, but don’t get much joy in doing neutral drops in the airport parking lot.

        • 0 avatar
          ItsMeMartin

          At least the way I see it, there’s nothing abusive about taking a rental (ar ony other car) to a track. Dynamic driving is unlikely to cause any permanent damage to the car. Sure, you will punish the brakes, you will have no mercy on the tires – but they are consumable items that will get eventually replaced anyway and the fact that you accelerated the process has no bearing on the long-term reliability of the car.
          Better yet, you might improve the condition of the engine by that – I recently drove a Daewoo Lanos (remember those?) which normally spends 90% of its life in city, rush-hour traffic. When I took it for a 200-mile ride outside of the city and gave it some high-rev, high-speed action, the thing just sprang back to life. I don’t know what happened, maybe some residue in the engine has evaporated or something but it was a totally different ride afterwards. That Korean beast cannot be an outlier.

          For what it’s worth, I would not consider tracking a rental abusive. Letting one’s inner chimp take over and do – as you said – neutral drops, offroading or that handbrake action Doug is boasting about definitely is.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I take such good care of my own cars that to intentionally abuse one is just counter to everything I am. It would actually hurt a little to do so. Testing a car’s limits if done properly is quite ok, but that’s not abuse

      • 0 avatar
        ItsMeMartin

        @ Lie2me
        Frankly, I expected the same treatment. Glad I’m not the only one thinking that though.

        @ Roberto
        Exactly that. The most despicable people that I ever met all had several things in common: they didn’t respect other people’s property, their own animals, and people working in manual jobs.

        By the way, I feel roughly the same when I hear about the abuse some of the commenters inflicted upon their first cars. For me it’s simply astonishing. I can still remember being 18 and getting my first car from my parents 5 years ago (an ’03 Ford Mondeo). I read every forum, looked for any valuable advice as if my rental-spec Mondeo was the most precious machine this s1de of the Veyron (BECAUSE IT WAS!). I did every procedure you could utilize to lessen the strain on the mechanicals (apart from hypermiling – God, never again!). You name it, I did it. When the clutch failed I was pissed at myself like hell (little did I know that the clutch was living on borrowed time by the time the car was bought).
        That’s why I am suprised to hear that so many people downright abuse or neglect their first car (or even admit to trying to kill it). Granted, it’s not strange to do that when you’re young, and I’m not saying I didn’t do dumb shit back then (110mph on a speed-enforced bridge on my 2 day of owning the car) and that I’m so much better than the rest. I got my share of serious flaws in many departments. I just want to say about not taking pride in one’s possessions that some grow out of such a phase or are forced to do so by the economy. Some never start to respect property when it is not fully theirs (like the rentals). Unfortunately, there is also a growing number of people for whom even taking care of their own property is not worth the time and effort. Just look at how people of all incomes and backgrounds tend to treat, for instance, electronics. Yes, I know there’s more to it but that’s just a quick reflection.
        By the way, if I come across as full of myself, then I apologize.

      • 0 avatar
        MeJ

        Very well said sir.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Count me in as one who respects property. Back in 2012, I rented late model Saab 9-3 convertible. The turbo never spooled up. The wiper fluid reservoir was full but wouldn’t pump. Turning right, I heard a click-click sound coming from the right front wheel. Looking at the rear view mirror, I saw a lot of body flex. This car was abused.

      You can have fun with a car without abusing it. Agree, tracking a car isn’t abuse if it’s properly warmed up with fluid levels, tires, and brakes checked.

      Edit: although the rental agreement usually says tracking a car is prohibited.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        I track my daily driver, so in comparison I baby rentals. Most likely because I don’t know or even want to find their limits (which is almost impossible on the street anyway). Personally I wouldn’t buy one because rental = automatic thus unacceptable unless its a truck/SUV.

        About the most abuse I do to rental is reving them to warm up in the winter. See I’m from Florida so I’m not a fan of temps under 70, but when I travel I often find myself in the frozen north (aka MI, NY, PA). You think I’m going to wait for proper warm up? Hell no! I need HEAT and I need it NOW.

        I find the interior of rentals is where the most abuse takes place. I’ve been in cars with less then 5K miles that are trashed on the inside to the point where the door panels, carpet, seats and center console would all need replacing. That scares me more then mechanical bits that can normally be sourced cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      +1: How you behave when you think no-one is watching or you assume that you have anonymity speaks volumes about your character.

  • avatar
    John R

    As a rule of thumb I find them a safe bet. It might be an even safer bet than buying from an individual as the average rental company are a bit more anal about maintenence than the average person.

    I had an NF Sonata (the one before the swoopy one) with the V6, sunroof 17″ alloys that was a rental in a prior life. I just did the basic maintenance and it lasted me until I gave it to my girlfriend, 162K miles. She still has it. Now it’s at 177k miles.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Yes, I would buy an ex-rental and did buy an ex-rental.

    Thing is, most folks aren’t hooning car enthusiasts whether they are in a rental or not. Most probably treat it the way they treat their own workhorse: casual neglect. Since the rental agency is responsible for fluid changes and maintenance, casual neglect can only do so much damage. On a personally-owned vehicle, though…

  • avatar
    Maymar

    My parents have bought a couple ex-rentals, and they’ve both been trouble free for them. I think more than actual P.J. O’Rourke-style abuse, most rental cars are bound to suffer the mundane apathy and incompetence of your average driver (which, a regular used car is also likely to have). Also, at least rental cars haven’t been used by teenagers, which your average used car has no guarantee of.

    That said, manual transmission’d rentals are unheard of in North America, and I’m stubborn enough that means I won’t likely be buying any ex-rental any time soon.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Like others have said, it depends on the car. A Hertz Mustang? Probably not. But I am considering getting my mom a Mazda5 and for a while the only used ones you could find were ex-rentals. A good inspection would likely resolve any concerns I had.

    Another thing to note is that it used to be that anything you rented was the complete poverty-spec trim. That’s not always the case anymore. A few years ago I rented a car from Alamo where you get to pick the car in your class. I went full size and my choices were interesting. Among them were a Pontiac Grand Prix GXP, Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300, and Volvo S60. I took the Volvo since my sister refused to allow me to take the GXP. Ever since I am a loyal Alamo renter.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I strongly disagree with your statement about how an “enthusiast” – I use that term in a very negative way – abuses a car he or she has paid for to get them around town for a day or so. Who does that? After all, the renter is held responsible and should be virtually hanged for any abuse. That, in my opinion, is not an enthusiast, but a moron.

    An enthusiast tries to rent a car he wants to drive and enjoy the experience without tearing it up.

    My father-in-law bought a Hertz Ford Fairmont in 1978. It was a pretty nice car although he did have to have transmission work done, but he drove it 3 years.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Abuse has a spectrum and the definition varies. I certianly push the cars I rent, but I don’t consider it abuse. I’m also not new to driving, and I pay attention to the capabilities of the car, my environment, and how well I know the car. I’m doing stupid, reckless acts. I’m sure however, that I don’t let the engine warm up like I would if it were my car and I push it off the line or around corners to see how it feels more than I would my own.

      I mentioned this below, but recently rented a 2013 (?) Corvette convertible. I drove it pretty hard and found a couple back roads to really work the car, but as the author said, it is a car better built for that kind of driving.

  • avatar
    turf3

    I bought a Volvo S60, ex-rental. To be honest I did not investigate the car’s history as well as I should have, or I probably would have passed on it.

    The car had 15,000 miles and now has 50,000. It has not been 100% trouble free, but I have had no problems that I would attribute to its having been a rental car. I’m generally happy with the specification, except I really wish it had a multiple CD changer rather than a 1-CD player.

    I hope to keep this car as long as I keep most of my cars (150k ~ 250k) so eventually we shall see if the engine and drivetrain live longer or shorter than typical.

    So, I would buy a used ex-rental again. Probably not as a preference, but I would do it.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    The more I think about it, the more I think our most recent car purchase was a rental. A few warning signs I can think of now:

    1 owner, current model year
    registered to a business
    Just shy of 25k on the odo in 8 months since purchase
    only had 1 key when we got it

    Thoughts?

    It’s a fully loaded Santa Fe AWD, and so far it’s been wonderful. There was actually a segment about rentals on the radio on my drive into work this morning, which is what got me thinking. Thoughts?

    • 0 avatar
      insalted42

      If it wasn’t a rental, it was at least the company car for long trips.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Probably a rental or a vehicle that was in corporate service. Either way, maintenance is usually done on time in these fleets, so I wouldn’t worry.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Probably a salesman’s/field rep company car. Lot’s of hwy miles, but probably little abuse. I’ve had several, always well maintained. I wouldn’t worry about it

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      Did the CarFax say “registered to a business”? Usually they will call out rental separately.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Don’t rely too much on CarFax or similar services. They can only report what has been reported to them. Private sales are rarely, if ever, reported to them. And with VIN-cloning and theft, what you think you see isn’t always what you get.

        Case in point: Wrecked late-model cars that were made roadworthy again using badly welded body panels from identical cars from a junkyard. It was a big deal in California a few years back. A couple of those cars actually came apart at the seams during the owners’ commute.

        Or how about the fleets of Katrina cars that were redistributed throughout the desert Southwest?

        Ah, the list is long, So —– caveat emptor.

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          Oh, there’s a long list of things they regularly exclude — but they are pretty good at identifying the nature of the original registration.

          duffman13 said his car had been registered to a business; I’m guessing he got that from CarFax. CarFax tends to report “rental” when it’s a rental, and “business” for all other commercial uses.

  • avatar
    insalted42

    I probably would consider a rental car, as long as it passes a mechanical inspection and feels fine to drive. As many people have already mentioned, I’d have more trepidation about something fast/sporty but for something like a minivan, soccer-mom crossover, or a modest sedan I wouldn’t mind.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’ve bought many ex-rentals and they’ve been some of the best cars I’ve ever purchased. In each instance, the cars were shown to be regularly maintained, and in good repair. They never had any major surprises. Heck, I even put my mother in one and she drove it for 60,000 completely trouble free miles. The ones that get horrifically abused are few and far between, the average rental customer is frankly afraid to do any of those terrible things.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I wouldn’t. In the past I traveled often and have rented more cars than I can count even just in the past year. I don’t abuse them per se, but I certainly don’t go easy on them. I am always finding creaks, door dings, and loose parts on rentals too which I’m sure are attributable to how they are cared for. Two cars ago, I rented a 50th anv Corvette soft top and I thrashed that car for a whole week. It was fun, but it just confirmed why I won’t be purchasing a vette.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    There’s a big difference between enthusiastic driving and intentional destruction, and most people with a conscious don’t ruin other people’s things for no purpose. I wouldn’t even be concerned buying a Baruth road tested Camry (with new fluids and brake pads) because the car wasn’t tortured.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    Just not a black ex-rental. They use those automatic washing machines between rentals and every black one I’ve seen looks like it was washed with sandpaper, terrible damage on the paint. Maybe that’s why so many rental cars are white or gray?

    Personally, I don’t think a corporation maintaining their assets could likely be any worse at maintenance than the average driver, like my mother, who waits for the “change oil” light to come on. The option combos on these still do seem to be based on lowest up-front cost (except for some companies like Enterprise who seem to mix it up a bit).

    I recall renting a Fiat 500 a couple of years ago. It was missing some items that were standard on the base Pop for consumers. For example, it had a plastic steering wheel when even the base model from a dealer had leather, though, oddly, it did have alloys added.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    Oh, and I would definitely buy a former rental over a former press-fleet vehicle any day.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    I probably shouldn’t mention it on a website like this, but there just aren’t that many enthusiasts out there. And BMW does free maintenance on their cars for a very good reason: Leasing is renting.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    I bought an ex-rental Olds Achieva. As far as GM products of the era went, it wasn’t bad. All the local dealers had a bunch of them, so most likely the rental contract had ended. I found one that was low miles so had lots of warranty left and ownership was from a small airport, so probably didn’t get as much use. I figured that abuse is an unknown. In fact I’d worry more about issues if it was a personal vehicle that someone unloaded after less that two years and didn’t drive very much.

    • 0 avatar
      eManual

      Small airplane pilots are usually much more cognizant of maintenance, because if you don’t maintain aircraft, you may die. Many pilots are also gear heads, and see car problems better than the general public.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    I said further up they had a segment on my radio this morning about rental cars, someone from one of the major rental agencies, I think Enterprise, was talking about buying an ex-rental and had this bit of info:

    If you’re buying directly from the company, you should have no issues – they only retail their top 5-10% of cars under their name, all are zero accident, in good shpae, and have all service done. However, the rest of the cars like the crashed, hooned, and abused get sold off at auction to Joe’s used car lot, and are generally complete garbage.

    I’d be inclined to believe her, but YMMV.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Buddy of mine bought an 04 Maxima from Enterprise. That thing hauled the mail. He beat on it way harder than any rental customer would. I will never forget the sound of that short ram intake. It was mean

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    We had a 1998 Cavalier with 24k miles purchased from Enterprise. Sold it in 2007 with 135k miles on it. The only non-consumable thing we replaced was an alternator.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I can’t speak for now, but in the past rentals (and typically all fleet) used to run in the “rental” lane at the end of the auction block and they typically sold for a 10% discount due to rental status. Then I noticed Enterprise began retailing their product specifically to avoid what they perceived as the “rental discount” which was occurring at Manheim. My issue with this sort of practice is they do not pass the “discount” on to you the sheepish buyer but yet you assume all of the risks of ex-rental. Would I buy rental/fleet? Maybe. Have I bought rental/fleet? Yes, but in most cases I didn’t pay as much of a premium.

    Additional: Fleet/rental also tend to have more cosmetic damage from being driven 5-7 days a week for 12-24 months. This combined with the rental/fleet stigma on the title makes resale more difficult down the line. Nobody wants a car with above average damage for its age.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I’m not sure I understand this. It’s been my experience that Enterprise (where I bought my one former rental) generally runs their cars at about 10% less then other outlets. Aren’t they passing that savings on to the customer? At least that was one of my reasons for buying from them

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’d have to crunch numbers but 10% retail is not necessarily 10% savings vs true wholesale valuation. The capital expense Enterprise had to go to in order to even become a dealer network suggests they did not do it to simply avoid the $250 sellers fees per car.

        I.e. MY12 Chevy Malibu avg miles (40) might be worth 10. In the rental lane it might fetch 9-9,2. Personal vehicles retail at 12,9 in an area, so enterprise puts 11,9 on it and will sell it for 11,2-11,5 after trade. In their minds not only did they profit 12-1500, the netted a savings of 800-1000 but not taking the hit on the block. Do you save a grand vs other dealers? Yes, but you were already at over a 20% premium for a discontinued platform possibly without a warranty and with the Enterprise vehicle you take a bigger risk due to hoonage and road debris damage. Rental for the right price can work, you just have to know the downsides going in so to speak.

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    I bought a rental Ford Escort wagon one time. Loved it and it gave me good mileage with no problems.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Is the price low enough versus other sales channels?

    As a dyed-in-the-wool cheapskate, I find that most “discount” channels aren’t really that cheap. Pawn shops, for example, aren’t very cheap for anything of reasonable worth.

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    I really enjoying TTAC because of it’s “balanced” objectives and its “objectives” participant, ie people who considers more practicality aspect of car ownership (as opposed to the manual transmission only, high performance on twisty roads fanatics that many will never be able to afford at Car & Driver). Anyway and on to the main point, I am quite surprised at the 90%+ positive response rate shown above regarding buying an ex-rental car, NOT THAT I WOULDN’T BUY ONE OR BECAUSE I’M AGAINST IT OR ANYTHING. I suppose that’s the audience here at TTAC, more real world car owner (rather than car dreamer). Just out of curiosity, how much of a saving have you gotten on these ex-rental car, however you choose to define “saving” (vs KBB, vs CPO, etc.). I’d appreciate finding more about this and thanks in advance for your information.

  • avatar
    Mjolnir427

    Yes. Inattentive (occasionally aggressive) drivers? Indifferent maintenance? Random mix of freeway and commuting miles? Usually driven like an appliance? Spilled drinks, door dings, and parking lot impacts? Quickie recon and get it off the lot sales mentality? How is this different from any other used car?

  • avatar
    caltemus

    “When an automobile engineer is designing a vehicle, he thinks to himself: what about the guy who tucks in his shirt even though he doesn’t have a belt? And then they add a bunch more screws and nuts and bolts just to make sure even that guy doesn’t break the thing.”

    That’s great, until the bean counter makes him take all that out to save $.002 per car

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    ” How is this different from any other used car?”

    Exactly. Specially if said car was owned by a family with a few teenage drivers.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I apologize to any one who has purchased a car that I rented on the west coast. The In ‘n’ Out remnants were mine.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Ha. I bought a used Hyundai Accent from the dealer that may or may not have been a rental/loaner, and I found some Cheetos inside the console one day when I installed a short shifter.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I’m not surprised. I typically don’t eat in my car, but all bets are off when it comes to a rental.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          ROAD TRIP!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’d go on a In n Out Burger road trip with HDC any day. Fire up the Sequoia!

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            LOL! Speaking of which…..

            Last week my wife and I drove up to Santa Fe, NM, for business, and fired up that Sequoia.

            Ran great! Steady cruise at 85mph on I-25, 15mpg overall round trip using 91-octane E-10.

            A real pleasure to drive that Sequoia or be driven in it. I did both. I drove up. Kitty drove back.

            I recently learned that the Sequoia is among the top safest vehicles on the road. Kinda nice to know that although it is highly unlikely I would shell out $67K for any vehicle, even if I had the money.

            We stopped at Red Robin for lunch, and parked among a gaggle of Tahoes, Suburbans, Yukons and Expedition XL, Silverado, RAM and F150. Truck country, New Mexico is.

            I swear, everybody checked out the Sequoia. They looked through the s!de glass. Peeked through the windshield. Stared at the front end. Talked among themselves, pointing at the Sequoia.

            True story that. And we watched it all from the window seat ins!de Red Robin.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    I would not. I’ve looked at used rental cars in the past, and found the price not encouraging enough to justifying taking a chance. Why buy a former rental when you can a ‘normal’ car for the same price.

    I did find a Mercedes C63 for sale locally that Carfax showing it had been a rental car in Florida. As tempting as it was, I pictured that car getting beat on pretty hard.

  • avatar
    Tim_Turbo

    I worked in Rental for about 10 years, ending in 2010. I worked in big locations, and small locations and did everything from the counter, to station manager to eventually being a fleet/maintenance manager. I’ve seen the good-and the bad.

    I’ve seen the good-small location, not as busy, mostly business customers, cars well maintained.

    I’ve seen the bad-oh crap, we are 25 cars short this afternoon, who cares that this car has 22K on it with no LOF (oil change) just enter into the computer that it had one and rent it!

    The majority of the customers don’t actually beat on the cars-at least at airport rental locations, which cater to mostly business and tourist clientele. There are exceptions, of course. And lots of stupidity-I could write a book with stupid stuff people have done in a rental car.

    The company I worked for was bought by Enterprise-and that is a totally different ballgame as they focus on mostly insurance rentals, unless it is an airport location-and even on airport they do a substantial amount of that kind of business. Billy Bob wrecked his Hemi Ram, and the insurance company is paying for his Hyundai Accent rental? That car is going to get beat on most likely. When we first combined our existing fleets there was a night and day difference between their cars and ours.

    Contrary to popular belief the cars are not checked over mechanically between rentals, unless there is a customer concern or the driver/service agent notices something amiss. All they get vacuumed, wiped down, in rare cases the glass will actually be cleaned, and a quick run through the scratch and scuff (car wash). Or if its a small location, hand washed with brushes from the Reagan era.

    So knowing what I know I would not rule out purchasing a former rental, I’d just be careful.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Why would a rental company ever change a car’s oil/filter? Let alone lube the thing. I worked for Thrifty for a year, and it would’ve been my job to do that, if they did that. I never did that.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Most of them stick to a regualr LOF regimen because they tend to keep the cars for longer periods now. They don’t want to get stuck with an engine replacement.

      • 0 avatar
        Tim_Turbo

        Is that a real question? Why change the oil?? On a car “enthusiast” site?

        Just in case it was a real question-obviously they want to protect their investment. If the engine goes due to lack of lubrication from not changing the oil that is not a warranty issue, so not only do they need to pay for a new motor, they also lose revenue while the car sits at the repair shop since it can’t be rented.

        And as far as lube goes that is just a word that has stuck. Most new cars, if not all, don’t have grease points anymore. I was a service advisor for a brief time when I got out of rental and older customers still came in asking for a “lube job and oil change”.

        I worked at rental locations that had their own maintenance crews to handle oil changes/tires etc, but some smaller locations had their service agents (cleaners) do the oil changes, or sent the cars out to Jiffy Lube or a local shop. Logistically that was a pain.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Not changing the oil won’t hurt a modern-era car in the least. Extra wear/tear on the other end, for the 2nd or 3rd+ owners to deal with. It certainly won’t matter in car that’s dumped long before 100,000 miles. If there’s engine damage on a well maintained rental car, the dealer may void the claim anyway. Did it run out of oil, etc. And do rental cars get the same warranty, or less?

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Would you marry a former prostitute?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      If the STD screen comes back clean, sure. The on-the-job training means he’ll be all kinds of fun in the sack.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Ha, I had a guy use the exact same line when I was selling a car that was a former rental. I reasoned that since it had regular checkups and all it’s shots, why wouldn’t he? He bought it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Would you marry a former prostitute”

      I think its the same as a car or anything else, it depends on cost to value and the my intentions for use of the wife.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        *my intentions

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I guess I never really thought about acquistion costs, maintinance costs, depreciation, or trade in value when I got married.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I like how we’re just assuming the prostitutes are actually attractive and not disgusting.

          The prostitutes I’ve seen on Cops (I guess) aren’t an indication of the type?

          And women who intentionally have sex for money are marriage material?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            There is someone for everyone I suppose.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            The best that money can buy, you get what you pay for, the list goes on…

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            If they clean up nice, they’re considered trophy wives.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            At least they’re up front about it.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The attractive hookers, you won’t see on COPS. They don’t get caught. And may not even be on meth either. You probably know some that are or have been.

            And all women have their price. When they’ll only date a man that’s not broke, that’s a price.

            But $10,000 hookers are always Hot. Most, beyond belief. But they’re not out on the street looking for Johns.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          @bball

          Those might be valid costs but I imagine given your intention they were worth it (the intention of creating a family).

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’m just glad she doesn’t push me down the stairs when she has the chance. I’m worth way more dead than alive. That’s love.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Make sure to celebrate that love during the upcoming fake holiday.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Pssh. February 14th is just a regular Saturday. I didn’t make a big deal about when we started dating 10 years ago, and I don’t make a big deal about it now. I can’t imagine going out to dinner or buying flowers on Valentines day. My wife and I would rather throw another $150 in the IRA.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            She sounds like a smart lady.

            MAkes me think of a woman I know who “needs” such expensive jewelry that she gets it on a payment plan from Zales.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      DM, a friend of mine married a former prostitute who used to work the canal boats of the red-light district in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He was stationed at Soesterberg RNLAFB at that time. That was in 1972.

      They’re still together today, well into their seventies.

      A case of two lonely people who needed each other to take care of each other.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Tim, well said.

    Just like purchasing any used vehicle, due diligence pays off.
    Some duds will still slip away.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Our last visit to Hertz at the ATL airport, one of the last flights in, found us tired, hungry, and just wanting to be on our way. We had a party of five, plus luggage, and a two-plus hour drive ahead of us. By the time we got on the highway, found some food, and got to our destination, 2:00 AM bedtime would be barely achievable. To say we just wanted our car and be gone is an understatement.

    Hertz sent us to the opposite side the the parking lot. The car was already running. How nice. We opened the rear hatch of the SUV, started throwing in our bags when the frightened woman in the driver’s seat asked our intentions. Hertz sent us to the same car.

    We schlepped back to the checkout stand. On the way, I said, “Let’s take this. Keys are in it.” So we piled our stuff into an Armada with only 4,000 on the clock. It coughed to life, barely. And stuttered to the checkout, where we were informed we couldn’t take the Armada. Something’s wrong with it.

    A porter ran to get us a different Armada. We switched out, loaded up, started it up, only to be told by the idiot lights that one or more of the tires were under inflated.

    Back in we went. We were then sent schlepping to another stall, in which was parked a Spark. For five and their luggage.

    To the counter again. C’mon, guys.

    By then, the renter of our party, a frequent business traveler with corporate connections to Hertz was calmly pissed. A brand new — I’m talking 40 miles — Escalade pulled up. We threw our stuff in, and hit the road. The battery idiot light came on a few miles away. Then the vehicle started smelling like something plastic or rubber was burning.

    But we drove it anyway. All the way to the boondocks. Unloading the car, a sleeping child was still inside. The doors shut. The car went dead. The fob would not lock, unlock the doors. The child was locked inside, it was freezing cold. Plans were being made to bust out a window when I remembered to see if the keyless fob had an emergency key — it did. We entered the brand new Escalade without having to break it.

    Rental cars do indeed suck. Hertz sucks. Five cars to get out of ATL. THree of which were broken.

  • avatar
    ItsMeMartin

    Just a quick related question:
    I know that renting a car is very popular in the US and seems to be so in Canada too, definitely not so where I live. Is it really popular anywhere else other than NA?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Why not actually state where you live, it will help comments be relative.

    • 0 avatar

      Most American insurance companies offer rental car coverage, plus if someone else hits your car the insurance company is on the hook for offering you a rental. So there is a huge market in insurance rentals.

      Plus most business and tourist destinations require a car – airports tend to be far from attractions and offices and public transport isn’t great in a lot of places.

    • 0 avatar
      ItsMeMartin

      I live in Poland and cars are rented here only in 3 instances: A) when your employer pays for it, B) When your insurance company provides it (they rarely do), and C) When the renting party is a wealthy foreigner. Other than that, no one does that.
      I can see that it’s very cheap over there in NA. I hear figures like 50$/day and I am just astounded that it’s so affordable. I am currently trying to sign up for an exchange program organized by my university in which I would spend one semester studying in Canada and if I get chosen then I will be sure to try out some rentals – even if my rates are going to be those of yours but tripled, it would still be cheaper than it is here.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        $50 a day is expensive. At the Dallas and Phoenix airports, I’ve had rentals that were well under $20 a day. I think $9 a day was the cheapest in DFW. Of course, fees and taxes add a few bucks. These are not typical prices either.

        However, the Enterprise, near my house, that I usually rent from, charges $25-$29 a day for pretty much everything. They don’t have a huge selection, so if you reserve a compact, you may get a RAM 1500, Mazda2, Fiat 500, or, my least favorite, Hyundai Sonata. Every Hyundai I ever get feels like it’s falling apart.

        • 0 avatar
          ItsMeMartin

          9 bucks?! And I thought 50 was reasonable already. Shows what I know. Even that 20 sounds like a bargain to me. Now I understand why rentals are so popular.

          By the way, since we’re talking numbers now, could anybody familiar with the Canadian rates tell me how much (on average) would the daily rate for a 24 year old foreigner be, and how much does the upgrade to a midsizer usually cost? Nothing specific, all I need is a ballpark figure to see what I’m dealing with. The websites somehow aren’t inclined to tell me.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yeah. 9 bucks is ridiculous. Prices for rentals in NA are good though. For $60+ a day, you can rent a Mustang or Camaro in many places. On our Honeymoon, my wife and I rented a Wrangler for $20 a day.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            Looks like a $15-25/day surcharge depending on the company, and depending on the day, demand, location, and possibly moon phases, rates tend to shift between about $20-50 per day. It’s usually only $5 or so extra for a midsizer, if you’re not automatically assigned that. Unfortunately, you don’t qualify for the really fun stuff, but often you can get away with just asking at the counter about the bigger car.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            You’re probably going to end up closer to $50 than $9 in your particular situation. I would do a search on a site like Orbitz or Kayak for the dates and city you’re interested in, and then go directly to the site of the cheapest company to figure out the details.

            The good: there’s really very little price difference between subcompact and full size (Fusion/Malibu/200, these days). Less than $10/day in most cases.

            The bad: most rental prices in the US (and from my limited looking, Canada works the same way) are for ages 25+. Not sure why; nothing else requires you to be 25. Doesn’t mean you can’t rent, but you’ll likely pay a surcharge of some sort.

            Another few things to keep in mind: quoted rates don’t include insurance. That’s largely because most US drivers already have their own cars, and that insurance covers you when you travel and rent a car. You’ll need insurance for liability (pays when you injure someone else or damage their car) and collision (pays when you damage the car you’re renting). Some credit cards will supply primary insurance; I don’t know how that would work with a card from Poland. Read the fine print.

            Also, some locations require a bona fide *credit* card to rent a car — Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover. Debit cards (anything that deducts from your bank account directly — Maestro, Electron, or anything with the word “Debit” on it) may not be accepted. That’s location-specific, though; do your research beforehand.

          • 0 avatar
            Bimmer

            Some rental companies won’t rent to anyone under 25 and require a major credit card. However, YMMV.

            If you’re not concerned with getting latest model, but concerned with a cost (in Canada everything more expensive that south of the border), you might wanna look at: http://www.rentawreck.ca

          • 0 avatar
            ItsMeMartin

            Thanks for all the responses, guys! I really appreciate it. It’s getting bookmarked for future reference.

            I knew about the credit card requirement but I didn’t know that the card can include any sort of insurance; in my case it probably wouldn’t anyway. I noticed that being 24 gives you higher rates than being 25 and older as well but the real killer is surely going to be the insurance. I thought that insurance was linked to the particular car and that rental companies included the most basic form of it in the price; I didn’t expect one’s private insurance to cover his rental car use. Well, that might push up the prices rather significantly since I obviously don’t have it.

            Anyway, I’ll make sure to remember your advice and the websites you provided. It sure is a lot clearer now; I appreciate your help.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            Big cities seem to have great deals for weekend rentals, when all the cars usually rented by business travelers languish on the lot.

            Twice in Washington (at Dulles) I rented two cars back to back for $9 and $12 for the day respectively. One was Advantage rental car and the other was Hertz, both rented through a third party site (like Hotwire or CarRentals.com)

            If you rent one-way it can be pricey though. Best I ever did was $65 one way from Cleveland to Pittsburgh(again through third party site). Plus tax and gas, still cheaper than a hotel for another night and I was home in two hours. But most of the time, it’s $125 one way and up.

            From Cleveland to Pittsburgh, it was a Chevy Sonic with 40k on the clock. A bit tired, with a blown speaker but otherwise it did the trip no issues. And over 30 mpg at 75+

      • 0 avatar
        econobiker

        In the USA some of us with older cars often rent cars for a long vacation drive as not to stress the older paid-off car with extra miles and ruin a vacation with a breakdown. Or we rent a larger car/suv/minivan than we typically drive for daily use for the longer trip. One can afford the $300 to $600 rental cost for 5-10 days when you are driving daily a 225,000 mile 14 year old car with used tires that has no payments other than yearly registration and insurance. In fact the rental cost may exceed the value of the owned car which makes it an easy trade off as to preserver the daily driver…

        And if you can rent in “off times” you often can get deals. Just don’t try renting around big events that people fly into areas for (like Spring Break time/Disney World in Florida, big sporting events in major cities like American Football, large business events like CES in Las Vegas, etc). Conversely you often can get deals during the rental car companies fallow times especially from Airport rentals. By all means join the rental car companies “frequent renter” programs to help qualify you for more than just a retail rate and help you be recognized by the business as someone more than a “walk up” customer.

        In the US and Canada, it also often helps to have membership in an “automobile club” to get better rental rates and other benefits. American Automobile Association (AAA) or Canadian Auto Association (CAA) are mostly just insurance organizations primarily for the towing and recovery of vehicles but often having regular insurance and other travel related discounts (reduced tourist attraction tickets, reduced cruise ship tickets, free passport photos, free maps when dead tree paper maps still ruled before GPS/smart phones, etc).

        And paying for the rental car company’s insurance can often double the cost of the rental price.

  • avatar

    A friend of mine bought an ex-Enterprise Pontiac Vibe. He’s got well over 100k on it and hasn’t had any problems with it that aren’t specifically related to the fact that it’s a Pontiac Vibe.

    Another former coworker of mine, who has an uncle who owns a used car dealership, got him to buy a year-old Mazda 3 from a dealer auction that turned out to be a former ZipCar. AFAIK, he hasn’t had any problems with it, and he got a really good deal on it.

    I’d have no problem buying a former rental. Personally, I’ve usually been extra-careful with them because I don’t spring for the insurance. Well, except for the one time I was driving a rented Accent around Red Rocks in Vegas and forgot that, unlike the daily driver Ranger I had at the time, they don’t do well on gravel. Luckily a couple guys helped us push it out after it got stuck, but the whole way back I could hear rocks pinging as they worked their way out of the undercarriage.

  • avatar
    bk_moto

    I recall back in the late 1990’s I had to fly out to Lawrence, Kansas, for a business trip. Rented some generic GM piece of crap from the era, I think a Grand Prix. You will recall those cars had a parking brake that was both applied and released via a pedal under the dashboard.

    As I pulled up to the historic Eldridge Hotel in downtown Lawrence, I set the parking brake as was my custom. As I was checking in, the valet went out to park the car.

    Suddenly I hear a loud screeching of tires that just keeps going on and on. I look outside to see the valet driving my rental around the corner dragging the locked rear wheels, tires howling in protest. Apparently this kid had never heard of a parking brake. I could do nothing but shake my head and chuckle.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Finding a post-2004 Panther that was never in a fleet can be tough.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      MGMs were sold retail till the end IIRC, CV went fleet only I think for MY06 and TC did retail a percentage also until the end. I say MGM is your best chance as fleet operators frequently purchased from the Ford dealer not the LM dealer (unless they wanted TCs).

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I had a MGM from Enterprise in 2012. I also had a TC from Avis for a week in 2011. It was cheaper than a Malibu.

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          Indeed, most of the rentals were MGMs. Don’t think Ford really made a “passenger spec” CV after they went fleet only.

          Hertz is actually selling a 2011 TC still:

          http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lincoln-Town-Car-Signature-Limited-HERTZ-CERTIFIED-2011-Signature-Limited-Used-4-6L-V8-16V-RWD-/131371960630

  • avatar
    319583076

    This story could be interpreted either way –

    After 3 deer bum-rushed my 1-month-old MS3 on a rural highway, I was saddled with an electric blue over beige Chrysler PT Cruiser as a rental for nearly a month while my car was in the shop.

    With only 15,000 or so miles on the Odometer the cloth interior exhibited various stains and blemishes. The most prominent being several large red stains all over the back seats, floor pan, and the rear of the front seats.

    It was actually a decent-enough driver although the 4 cylinder absolutely did not want to rev, so accelerating was an exercise in patience. Mash the accelerator, tranny kicks down, engine protests, keep your foot in the gas and the thrasing noise builds approximately twice as fast as your speed.

    The climax of my time with this PT came the weekend before I returned it. We planned a weekend trip to Chicago – just under a 500 mile drive one-way. Why not put the miles on the rental?

    Well, about 4 hours into the outward leg of the trip I was left alone with the PT during an extended rest stop. Being curious, I popped the hood to peek around the engine bay. We’ve been stopped about 10 minutes so I pull the dipstick. To my horror, the dipstick is clean. There is a suggestion of dark brown oil at the very end of the dipstick. Uh-oh.

    Do I buy some oil and fill the crankcase knowing there are 200 miles ahead of me today and another 480 miles ahead of me in two days or do I invoke Joel Goodson and surrender my future to the Fates?

    Of course I chose the latter and eventually returned the PT without any noticeable problem.

    I’m still undecided if this is a positive or negative story for the PT, but it’s not the first time I’ve been saddled with indifferently maintained or even casually neglected rentals. Caveat emptor!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Three deer? Were you ambushed?

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        My gf says I got gangbanged.

        It was pre-dawn, I was just across a river, so driving uphill on a section that gently sweeps first to the right, then to the left. I had my cruise control set at 60 mph. As the highway began to sweep left – three deer are on the right-hand shoulder. By the time I could begin to brake, one had crossed the road. I foolishly swerved left and caught the second deer’s head with the passenger headlight while the third deer slammed into the rear passenger side door head-on.

        The hood, headlight, front 1/4 panel, and both doors were damaged. I was lucky that none of the deep jumped. I was lucky that no one was coming in the other direction. This was the last time I used cruise control on a highway – I lost valuable time and space cruising along at 60 mph before I could react.

        Case in point – yesterday morning pre-dawn and overcast, so still dark. I came upon a large deer carcass in my lane but was able to immediately get off the gas and luckily, was on a divided 4-lane highway at that point and managed to switch lanes and avoid running over the thing.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    I’ve bought some ex-rentals for the dealership. I *love* buying ex-corporate fleet cars (repairs all done on time, paid by the fleet management company), but the ex-rentals were a little rougher. The interiors usually had cigarette burns (mfffrgggghhh) and you’d always have to buff or paint the rear bumper. Otherwise they were relatively low mileage and fine, except for one: it had been accident-repaired in the front and they’d left the radiator bracket shattered and loose. Fun times!

    I’d totally buy an ex-rental for my own personal use if I got it up on a lift first. If not, nope.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The door line at the A-pillar on that Merc E-Cabrio looks very poor and uneven. Either the camera is doing something or it’s had a prior wreck.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Maybe a better quandary might be:

    Rental car vs. rebuilt title vehicle.

  • avatar
    kmoney

    Depends on the individual car. I have friends who bought ex-rentals from the Budget lot here and they all seem to have worked out fine.

    I think the to big things in the yea column would be.

    1. Fleets here seem to retire their vehicles at ridiculously low mileage — like 1 year and 10,000km’s low depending on the vehicle.

    2. Most vehicles I have seen still have the manufacturers warranty, so if something brakes it’s covered and if something is close (e.g., occasionally slipping trans) you could find a dealer willing to condemn it, or just finish it off yourself before the warranty runs out and get it replaced.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    It would depend on the agency, price, and the car, I see rental cars as being little different than getting something off craigslist.

    I would certainly consider a rental before any ex-cop cars, I’m not interested in having holes everywhere in my interior, dealing with the usual shady sellers that have them, cleaning up criminal remnants, buying tires out of the box, and unlike the cops I don’t have a tax-paid garage to keep it going.

    • 0 avatar

      If I was in the market for an ex-cop car, I’d go straight to the source – govdeals.com or a GSA auction. I’d also look for a detective’s car rather than an ex-cruiser.

      Here in Baltimore, cabbies love ex-police crown vics, so they go for more than they should.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I’d rather buy a car that needs tires than one that someone just put bargain basement tires on it. I’m picky about the tires on my vehicle and would prefer to pick them myself.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        It’s also important that looking at worn tires will tell you everything about the car’s alignment and suspension condition. Throwing new tires on a used car is a great way to hide issues.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Same here. “But it’s got new tires”, which to most people is fine.

        The Ling-Long’s, you mean? Or Sunny? That are copies of the 20 year old Sears Weathermaster? That will turn into an out of balance,noisy mess in 5k and be shot in 10k?

        Best “deal” tire-wise I ever got was my 04 Jetta 1.8T wagon. It was sitting on a Ford dealer lot with Blizzaks on steelies and cheap wheel covers in the summer. I initially bypassed the car, dismissing it as a 2.0 car until I saw the 1.8 badge and leather. Bought the car, bought a 16″ tire and wheel package from Tire Rack that was close in style to the mid-level wheels of that year ( not the 17’s the car should have had)

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Having worked for Enterprise, I’d say no with a but

    The cars they put on their sale lot are generally the best survivors of rental torture. They’ve had better maintenance (solely by chance) and only a minor accident (fender bender) or no damage at all. And cars are so well made, that I wouldn’t worry about much if it had a lot of warranty left. I’d still be cautious though, especially anything that has a medium amount of performance. Even being a car jockey/washer who loved cars didn’t stop me from the occasional “well, what if I do this”? Nothing awful, but I was gentle. Some people are not.

    I remember someone telling me that only 2% of the fleet is “good enough” to go on Enterprises lot, the rest to the auction. So maybe from Enterprise, Hertz etc. But my information and experience are over 15 years old, so it might be different now.

    If I see an ex-rental on a local lot or an auto dealers inventory, no way.

    In the same vain, has anyone here ever bought an ex- Uhaul or Ryder or know someone who did? That is a vehicle I can’t imagine buying: ” I’ve never driven anything larger than an Accord, yet here’s a giant vehicle with a box on it for $20 +miles. Should be OK”. I know Uhaul tends to keep their stuff until the wheels fall off or eleventy billion miles.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Your Uhaul/Ryder thing is the precise reason I did not rent from either of them when I needed a truck for a day (moving into my house). I drove further away from where we were starting out, in order to rent a truck from Penske.

      It was nearly new and very clean.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Penske rental trucks are SO MUCH BETTER than Ryder or U-Haul. Usually the price is the same or better.

        Also, here’s a pro tip: Home Depot doesn’t charge mileage for their van or truck rentals. For moving stuff that doesn’t need a moving van, Home Depot is usually the cheapest. I used them a couple weeks ago when I bought some furniture. My total cost for the van (E350)$19. That does not include gas though.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The only real problem I’ve had with a Ryder truck was on the one I got with 700 miles on it. Got to Portland and the fan for the HVAC quit working. I called the number on the window and they told me to take it to the nearest service center that turned out to be near by. It was the motor controller and of course they don’t stock parts like that. Thankfully they had a wrecked truck that was due to head to the body shop the following week and he pulled it out of that one. A couple of weeks ago I got one with only 3000 miles on it.

          One of the ones I rented they had actually been de-stickered and was to go up for sale. It only had about 150K on it and was in good condition overall. They did that to make sure I had a truck with a rail gate because the tuck under gates don’t really work for the loads I haul. Turns out Costco had rented trucks “for a week” for the Christmas rush and then decided to not return any of them and one of those was they one that had been earmarked for me.

          Now the one I had this weekend did not have a radio. Normally I would have been very unhappy but in this case my total time in the truck was maybe 20 minutes tops.

          For us one of the reasons we choose Ryder was that they are only 2mi from our warehouse, but the girls at the counter always do their best to make us happy so we will continue to use them unless something changes. Admittedly I’d rather not have a Freightshaker which makes up the bulk of their current fleet in the size of trucks I normally need.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Uhaul pickups and cargo vans are generally less than a couple years old because they are leased by Uhaul. The cube vans however they own and run into the ground as you said.

        I rented an E-series van last spring, it had 104 kms on it when I picked it up. Drove it to Winnipeg and actually really enjoyed it. I rented a 20′ cube van a couple of summers ago, I think it was about a 95 F-series cab, and the mirrors were quite literally falling off. Happily, I only put about 20kms on it.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Their box trucks are atrocious. I remember helping a friend move in the mid-00s. The truck was a first generation Kodiak/Topkick. We drove it from Camp Pendleton to Eugene, OR. Terrible.

  • avatar
    TrenchFoot

    Anyone who’s rented a Uhaul knows that they are all clapped out hulks. No way would I ever buy or rent one of those. Penske is the only truck I’ll rent. It’s like their bean counters figured out that they make more off reselling 3 year old trucks than keeping them and running them into the ground.

    Maybe it’s because they have a focus on renting and leasing to businesses too? One business model for both personal and commercial fleets (yellow vs white trucks).

  • avatar
    don1967

    Low-mileage rentals found on new-car dealer lots are generally straight cars in my experience. I saw some very clean Chrysler 300s, and one CPO Volvo S80 which I bought. The Volvo CPO program was particularly attractive because the cars go through Volvo Canada as opposed to a public auction. And then there’s the obvious question of how many people rent an S80 to abuse it?

    Higher-mileage rental units found on used lots are another story. These are the auction cars, with resprays and rough interiors and many blank lines in the maintenance log. No thanks.

  • avatar

    Nope. I bought one rental in the mid 90’s. Enterprise it was. Mazda 323 and it was terribad. Plus I have made it my life’s work to invent autocross/curb jumping/e-brake-pulling-at-any-and-every-speed with rental cars I pick up for work. Bored business travelers make for some motivated car hooligans.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      I’ve never met a business traveler who made it their ‘life’s work’ to vandalize others’ property. The business travelers I know are successful, well-adjusted people.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    In my younger days my good friends father sold cars and we would end up driving all sorts of used metal around which we usually beat on pretty hard being young and stupid. So one day we get this 3.8 Taurus and after a couple of days of flogging it to include getting it airborne several times on “thrill hill” his saint of a mother ends up buying the thing. It served her reliably but putting a face to the person who ends up with the car kind of made me rethink those shenanigans.

  • avatar
    C. Alan

    Ex-rental sports car? No.

    Ex-rental minivan? Yes. I have bought one of these over the years, and it worked out fine. Most mini-vans are rented by families, and they don’t tend to abuse them, unless you count the dents in the rear bumper from dragging luggage over it.

  • avatar
    dtremit

    Just budget for some serious steam cleaning:

    http://www.today.com/news/rossen-reports-rental-cars-found-teeming-bacteria-1D79841756

    Junior may have done a biohazard number on the back seat.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil200

    Better a car that abused occasionally, like a rental, then a car that’s abused every day by its full time owner.

  • avatar

    I think it all depends on location, here in the US, I don’t remember renting a car with more than 7 or 8k on it so I don’t think I would have a problem buying an ex rental.
    I do travel to Israel twice a year, and always rent a car from Avis, what can I tell you, in Israel, it does not matter how many miles you have on the car, they all dented and they all drive like crap, the amount of abuse these cars take really prove that a car will not hold forever if you abuse it, this last November, at the Avis counter, I was offered 3 choices, a 2011 Mazda 3, 2012 Focus or 2013 Elantra with 29k miles on it, I took the Elantra for two reasons, one, it had the least amount of miles and it had a panoramic roof.
    The car drove and felt as if it was at least 10 years old, I know it’s an Elantra but I don’t think anybody would even look at this car if it was for sale.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    We have an ’09 Saturn Aura XR that we bought in Spring of ’10 with about 34k on it. I was a little apprehensive at first, but we took it home for $13.5K–a car that listed for over $26k new. 50% off sale!Crazy.

    It looked like new, drove like new, had a clean history report, and still had a bit left on its factory waranty. It now has about 107k on it. Would I do it again? Yes!

    Despite the beating that it probably took prior to us buying it, we’ve only had a few little things go wrong here and there; a bad TPS sensor, a little rattle from the dashboard under certain road conditions, and an occasionally faulty seatbelt light that just started lighting up and chimming last month. Oh yeah, there’s a spot on the drivers fender where the clearcoat is starting to flake, but it appears to be the result of a cheap repair (fender bender?).

    All that said, it’s still been infinently better than the lightly used Civic (a non-rental) that we had before the Saturn–and that cost the same amount while having more problems.

  • avatar
    orange260z

    I rent cars regularly for business travel. I recently purchased an ex-rental Chrysler 300S from a Chrysler dealer.

    I noticed that (at least here in Canada) they are priced as a “luxury” car, and have a rack rate of $70/day or higher. The typical renter is either a business person looking to ferry clients around, or older, mature frequent renters like myself who are given the upgrade as a perk.

    The “luxury” cars seem to usually be kept in the fleet for a shorter period of time (mine came off with 17,000 kms (11,000 miles) and was in pretty much perfect condition except for some minor curb rash on the 20″ rims and luggage scratches on the plastic inside the trunk.

    For this wear, and one year of factory warranty used up, I bought the car for almost half the original price. I’ve now had the car for 6 months and couldn’t be happier with my purchase (other than for Jaguar’s crazy lease deal on XF 3.0AWD last month, $600/month all in no down!).

    That said, I would likely never buy a “midsize” or “fullsize” class ex-rental, as these are the bread-and-butter of the fleet and get rented to anyone with a driver’s license. Anytime I’ve ended up in one of those, they are beat to sh!t, used & abused.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • ajla: No one is expecting AMG performance, but compared to their cars (and a good chunk of the competition) Hyundai...
  • FormerFF: “Neither of the two were willing to move on price” I’ve bought a couple of used cars in...
  • WildcatMatt: I saw one of these yesterday and thought it looks quite like a 3/5 scale Chrysler Pacifica (the old one,...
  • Secret Hi5: Base SE trim Konas are available on rental lots. I drove one about 200 miles last month. Can’t...
  • ToolGuy: Unless someone has been carefully and systematically painting on a salt solution in little circular patterns...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States