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Old 01-30-2014, 07:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm starting to look for a car to replace my 2003 Matrix.

¬*I usually like to buy new but budgetary constraints do not make that possible right now. Whenever I comb through the weekend ads looking for car specials, my local paper has an advertisement for Hertz used car sales. The pricing certainly looks attractive but are they really a good deal or a nightmare waiting to happen.

I've heard both sides of the argument and find validity in each.

1) Don't EVER buy a former rental because customers and lot attendants flog them like rented mules. They are a ticking time bomb waiting to explode huge repair bills upon you.

2) Buying a former rental is a GREAT IDEA because you get a good car at a very reasonable price. Your car will be in very good shape with relatively low miles because car rental agencies follow very strict upkeep, maintenance¬*and turnover schedules.

So, What say you, Best & Brightest?
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There are two schools of thought on this one:[*]A rental will be religiously maintaned, which is great.[*]Enough people seem to think when you have a rental or loaner car, you should beat the crap out of it, which is not.[/list]I feel like the latter isn't as big of a deal because rental cars tend to be sold off before too many miles are accumulated, and because National or Hertz wouldn't want to knowingly sell you a car that was messed up, less it reflect poorly on them. Also, rentals (in my experience) tend to be listed significantly less expensively than through a dealership. I'm going through a similar process, albeit with dealerships, and would say one option - if you know the make and model of the car you want - is to look at a CPO offering. Most manufacturers have a pretty neat CPO car finder tool that lets you find way more on a used make and model than you'd find by just going to one car conglomerate/dealership's website.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Some people hoon rental cars, yes. Some rental agencies aren't necessarily strict on maintenance, like the one that just yesterday sent my wife out for a week's rental in a Grand Caravan with the oil change light illuminated. She'll put close to another 1000 miles on it before they have a chance to take care of it.
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Given how I treat rental cars in general...and assuming others probably are similar. I'd say no.

I've had rental cars issued to me with warped rotors, squealing brakes, Christmas tree dashboards, change oil indicators, check airbag lights, burned out headlights (not after I left, when trying to drive out).

Rental agencies do "just" enough to meet the minimum requirements - at best.

The counter argument is that there are car owners out there that go, "what I was supposed to change the oil," while with a rental car you at least know the most basic of basic care was likely done.

One other thing - most rental cars are "self insured" so if a renter wraps one around a phone pole it is not likely to show up on a Carfax report.
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Old 01-30-2014, 04:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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APaGttH said One other thing - most rental cars are "self insured" so if a renter wraps one around a phone pole it is not likely to show up on a Carfax report. That's an important point. In these cases, anything short of irreparable damage will go to the in-house body shop for a patch-up. I once bought a 6-year-old, 100k-mile former rental as a beater for a 110-mile round-trip commute. I got another 80k relatively trouble free miles out of it until it bit the dust with engine failure and electrical gremlins. These days, I have a much shorter commute, work from home 3 days a week, and drive with my kids in the car much more frequently. As a result, I'd be reluctant unless I got a screaming deal.
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Old 01-31-2014, 04:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'd bet even money that somebody here owns a former rental and doesn't know it. Most Enterprise cars are sold directly to franchise dealers and sold as regular old used cars.¬*
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Bark M. said I'd bet even money that somebody here owns a former rental and doesn't know it. Most Enterprise cars are sold directly to franchise dealers and sold as regular old used cars.¬* A simple VIN check will tell you it was a rental. I can't imagine buying a used car without doing some sort of VIN check. It may not tell you everything, but it's better then nothing
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Old 02-07-2014, 04:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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How about this rental?¬* I'm sure you might more exotic cars like this, but I've never seen one.



2012 Mercedes C63 AMG



http://www.fidelitymotorgroup.com/web/used/Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-2012-Lake-Barrington-IL/9661001/
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If forced to choose, I would vote "nyet."¬* They've almost certainly been abused, and while they have been maintained by the book, it's the wrong book. (They get serviced on the "normal" schedule, but almost always belong on the "severe" schedule).

They're also often not particularly cheap, although that can vary.¬* At least in the old days, the domestics were often purchased with buyback programs -- essentially, they were leases disguised as sales -- so the major fleet operators had no reason to deeply discount them, as they were subject to repurchase.

But you may find a gem in the rough, so never say never.¬* Used cars should obviously be considered on a case-by-case basis, for obvious reasons.
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I would say it's about the same risk as any other used car. People seem to abuse their own cars as much as rentals. I think this is especially true for off-lease cars.
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