Should I Consider Buying a Fleet Vehicle?

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By

Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.


, - January 10, 2019

Fleet vehicles aren’t like generic used cars – these vehicles were used as rentals or for commercial or business purposes, probably have high miles, and may have been used by many drivers. Are these types of cars worth buying? It depends on what you’re looking for, and how well the vehicle was maintained.

What’s a Fleet Vehicle?

A fleet vehicle is a type of branded title. There are four different types of fleet vehicles: used rental vehicles, used government vehicles, used company vehicles, and used manufacturer and demonstrator vehicles. Just because a fleet vehicle has a branded title doesn’t mean it’s in bad shape or unreliable. But just like buying any used car, you should check the VIN number and go through CarsDirect’s used car buying checklist to make sure there aren’t any hidden issues.

Make sure you double check that you don’t get a used car that’s had its title washed, and once had a fleet title issued to it.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Fleet Vehicle

Because there are many types of fleet vehicles that were used for different purposes, they aren’t going to all be in the same condition. In fact, these cars come with both pros and cons you should consider if you’re looking into buying one:

Pros:

  • Former rentals are newer models – Rental companies constantly turn over older models for newer ones. The “older” vehicles these rental companies sell are typically only a few years old, so you can benefit from many of the latest features and technologies while still staying under budget.
  • The vehicle is maintained well – Commercial and rental vehicles are usually well maintained and follow a maintenance schedule to ensure their longevity.
  • Fleet vehicles are cheaper – Fleet vehicles are generally cheaper than similar privately-owned used cars.

Cons:

  • Fleet vehicles have higher mileage – Because many of these cars were used every day by multiple drivers, they tend to come with higher mileage. Many rental companies sell their vehicles with 25,000 to 40,000 miles after having them for a year or so.
  • Former rentals experience more wear and tear – No two driving styles are the same, and if a fleet vehicle was used by a number of aggressive drivers, it could have more wear and tear than a normal used car.
  • Lower resale value – If you want to sell or trade in a fleet vehicle, its resale value is going to be lower than a privately owned version of the same used model. Also, most lenders aren’t going to finance a fleet vehicle. If you have bad credit, you can’t finance a fleet vehicle, period.

The Bottom Line

Fleet vehicles can be a hit or miss – you don’t truly know what you’re getting into until you test drive it, check out its history, and have it inspected. You may find a fleet vehicle is better than its traditional used counterpart, but this isn’t a guarantee. If you find a fleet vehicle you’re interested in, you can dig deeper into its specifics by using our Used Cars Search section.

On the other hand, if you’re worried about your credit getting in the way of financing a used vehicle – fleet or not – let CarsDirect help. We match car buyers to local dealerships that know how to help people in unique credit situations. Start the process today by completing our car loan request form, and we'll get to work for you.

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.


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