Have you ever wondered if buying a former rental car was a good idea? Pondered the advantages and drawbacks of buying a used rental car? If you’ve ever gone shopping for a used car, you’re in better shape than you think. Used car lots have plenty and after all, a used rental car is just that —a used car. Chances are that you may have even taken a former rental for a spin around the block of the dealership before.
Lower Price Points
One major attraction of rental cars is their low price relative to other used cars of the same year and model. The revolving door/marathon life of a rental car adds up to higher mileage and extensive wear and tear giving potential buyers the leverage to drive prices down during negotiations.
Another major advantage to buying former rental cars is that the rental agencies usually keep servicing and maintenance up to date. According to an article by Nicole Arata for Nerd Wallet, “the three big players (Hertz, Enterprise and Avis Budget Group) all follow strict service schedules. They use certified technicians and conduct their own multipoint inspections before putting their vehicles on the market.” So even though these cars have driven rough miles, they can still be mechanically healthy thanks to the diligent servicing and care of the parent companies. In many cases, rental cars are better-maintained than their private counterparts.
As mentioned above, rental companies want to keep their fleet in tip-top shape. Oil changes and regular service can only keep a car pristine for so long. Eventually the traffic inside the car begins to take its toll. This is one reason rental agencies retire cars for resale despite being a handful of years old. In some cases, the car is so new that the factory warranty may still be valid!
One of the drawbacks of rental vehicles is their high mileage. They may be retired from the fleet before they are five years old, but those miles on the odometer can be on par with an engine two or three times its age. The routine maintenance performed by the rental agencies helps to combat the effect of the mileage.
One constant for rental cars is change. Each day or week, a new customer gets behind the wheel, and the car is subjected to their driving style. Some punch the gas and slam on the brakes while others accelerate and decelerate with nimble grace. Renowned automotive journalist Doug DeMuro highlights another key aspect: “rental customers may fail to take excellent care of a car. While most drivers might think twice about squeezing their own car into a tight spot, rental customers may be a little more aggressive. The result is that rental cars may have a few more bumps or scrapes – or interior stains from spills – than a typical car.”
With all of these factors in consideration, the playbook for buying a rental car isn’t drastically different than any other used car. Just ensure that you do your homework and decide which benefits are most important to you.
Ready to start shopping for a rental car? Browse the inventory of Copart’s weekly rental only sale!