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Buying a used rental car

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Buying a former rental car can give a buyer a lot of savings over the listed or blue book value of a vehicle, but many people wonder about the potential risks. Rental cars are not known for their gentle treatment, but a lot of potential buyers look at the savings and wonder if these stories are overblown.
The main benefit to buying a former rental car is letting the rental company who bought the car new take the initial depreciation. A typical vehicle loses about twenty percent of its value the moment it is driven off the lot. By letting the rental car company buy the car new, a person could theoretically save thousands of dollars. Typically, rental car companies will try to sell their vehicles when they still have relatively low mileage. These cars are usually sold directly from the company, or through a dealership where they are clearly labeled as former rental agency cars.
Several people believe that rental cars are generally better maintained than privately owned vehicles. This is based on the idea that rental car companies have to take good care of their vehicle fleet in order to protect their business. These companies are also required by law to keep careful maintenance records, including records of safety inspections.
Because these cars have only had one prior owner, many dealerships or the rental company itself are willing to offer a warranty on the car. These warranties can cover a lot of the most common problems that these cars have.
Of course, there are several pitfalls to buying an old rental fleet vehicle. For starters, these vehicles are usually not as good of a deal as they are usually touted to be. Many people assume that rental companies will price these vehicles low because they are desperate to be rid of them. In reality, a rental car company looks at their fleet as an asset, and they are not willing to sell that asset for much less than it is worth. While a typical buyer can save some money by buying an old rental vehicle, it probably won’t be thousands of dollars. In fact, a buyer might do just as well buying any used car.
Furthermore, the quality of the cars offered for sale can be questionable. Most rental fleet vehicles do not have a lot of dealer options. These cars typically come with very minimal features. In addition, the cars for sale often have aesthetic blemishes. While things such as scratched paint, door dings, and upholstery stains are fairly common with used vehicles, some people believe that they are a little worse with rental fleet vehicles. Unlike privately owned cars, these cars rarely have any attention paid to the looks.
Of course, the main concern with rental fleet cars is that it is impossible to guess the temperament and driving styles of the hundreds of people who have driven them. There are plenty of rental car abuse stories, but the important thing to focus on is if these abuses could really cause long-term damage to the vehicle.
The best way to determine this is to have a professional mechanic check out the vehicle. Fortunately, a lot of rental agencies and dealerships let a potential buyer drive the car off the lot for a few days. Use this time to determine the condition of the vehicle. In particular, be sure to pay attention to expensive components such as the transmission and the air conditioner.
Buying an old rental fleet vehicle can save a buyer a lot of money, but it is important to take steps to make sure the vehicle is safe and in good mechanical condition. Treat this purchase just as you would the purchase of any used car, and you’ll at least get a fair deal.

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