Should You Consider Buying a Used Rental Car?

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


, - November 7, 2018

If you're looking for a good deal on a well-maintained used car, you might consider looking at used rental vehicles. If you're under the impression – as many people are – that these vehicles are in worse shape than a typical used car, you may be surprised.

Pros and Cons of Used Rental Cars: Are They Worth Buying?

Like any used car buying experience, used rentals vehicles have their pros and cons. Depending on where you buy your car – a big name rental company, a mom and pop shop, or anywhere in between – your experience can differ greatly.

For instance, many of the larger rental companies, like Hertz, Enterprise, and Avis, have sales divisions that offer financing. A privately-owned local rental company may still sell vehicles, but it typically won’t have financing options.

In general, you should consider these pros and cons before you decide to buy an ex-rental vehicle:

Pros

  • Typically Newer Models – Car rental companies generally turn their fleets over often, so customers can drive the latest vehicles, which means 12- to 18-month-old cars generally get sold to make room for new models.
  • Well Maintained – Rental car companies typically have rigorous service schedules, as well as policies to make sure their vehicles are serviced and cleaned before going out to renters.
  • Low Cost – Used fleet cars are typically more affordable, because rental companies buy their vehicles at a volume discount. No haggle pricing is often another benefit. These cars are priced low to sell fast, and the price you see is generally the price you pay.

Cons

  • High Mileage – Because rental cars get driven often, these vehicles typically rack up a lot of miles. You're most likely to see these cars selling with 25,000 to 40,000 miles on their odometers.
  • Wear and Tear – Not all drivers are gentle on rental vehicles, and the sheer number of people who've driven these cars may account for a bit more wear on some of their parts.
  • Less Bells and Whistles – Rental fleets typically consist of base model vehicles, so if you're looking for added features and higher trims, you generally won't find them here.

Buying a Used Rental Car

Purchasing a used rental car can be a fairly straightforward process, most of which can be complete online, over the phone, or in person. If you're not convinced about vehicle quality, most major rental companies allow you an extended test-drive period to make sure the car is a good fit for you. For example: Avis lets you test drive a vehicle for three days before finalizing your purchase, while Enterprise buys cars back for up to seven days if you're not satisfied.

This test-drive period can be a great time to take the vehicle to a trusted mechanic for a full inspection. Any time you buy a used car you should take extra care to make sure the vehicle is mechanically sound and get a vehicle history report. This is especially true if you're considering buying a used rental car. Some rental companies give you a free CarFax report up front, but if they don't, consider buying one yourself or using a free service like VinCheck.

Additionally, former rental cars typically come with a limited powertrain warranty that covers mechanical issues for a set period. Warranties do vary by company and vehicle, so be sure to check the details before you buy.

Find the Right Dealer Now

When you begin shopping for used car, even at a traditional car lot, you may be purchasing a used rental car without even realizing it. When vehicles are moved out of rental fleets, they're often sold to dealerships at auction. So, a used rental car can definitely be worth buying, just as long as you take all the steps to ensure you're getting the best vehicle possible.

If you need a vehicle, but aren't sure where to turn, let CarsDirect be your guide. We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealers that can help people in nearly every credit situation find the vehicle they need. Don't hesitate any longer – fill out our online auto loan request form today and we'll get to work matching you with a dealership in your area!

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


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