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Want to Buy a Rental car – Are Used Rental Cars For Sale a Good Buy?

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/23/2019 Posted: 09/22/2017

Many people have been told that used rental cars for sale are a bad option when it comes to buy a used car. Individuals believe that drivers who are only using a car for a short time may treat the vehicle in a worse manner than they might a car they have for years. This leads to the assumption that purchasing a car that was formerly in rent is a poor plan financially.

The truth is that in some cases a former rental car can offer savings on top of peace of mind. However, getting there might take more research than buying a used car that has only had a single owner. We’ll go over the process of buying rental car, along with pros and cons, in the article below.

Pros & Cons of Purchasing a Used Rental Car

Pros:

  • Rental car companies stick to maintenance schedules, make repairs when needed, and are aware of where a car is at all times.
  • Companies that used rental cars often get a discount due to volume, which means they often sell for a lower price than a regular owner might.
  • In most cases, rental cars have only been used for a couple of years, which means warranties may still apply.
  • Sales can be less stressful as there may not be a negotiation process, as there would be at a dealership.
  • Rental companies will provide a third-party vehicle history report, typically for free.
  • Some rental companies have financing, fixed pricing, and an extensive inventory on their websites.
  • Only the best-maintained cars are resold to consumers, while the rest may be auctioned off.
  • Some companies allow you to drive a car for a few days as an extended test drive.

Cons:

  • You may not ever know the full history of the vehicle as you don’t know every driver who used it.
  • Former rental cars may have more dings and scratches than privately owned vehicles.
  • Rental companies may offer many options, but cars are typically base models and cannot be upgraded.

Saving Money with a Rental Car

Used rental cars are available at excellent prices, but they aren’t the bottom of the barrel prices. For instance, those who buy cars at auctions will get a better deal. However, the deals are out there, and prices tend to be competitive or better with dealer prices.

Some of the most common car rental companies that offer sales divisions are Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and Hertz. You can also find former rental cars on websites including Autotrader.com and CarMax. In research done by Edmunds.com, Hertz had the lowest prices available, but most cars showed some savings when bought from a rental company rather than a private owner or dealer.

How to Purchase a Used Rental Car

Shopping for a rental car is not that different from the process of shopping for any other used car. However, there are a few steps to take that might not be as necessary for other types of used car buying. These are certainly more essential when choosing a rental car if only to be certain you get exactly what you want.

  • Your first step should be determining the average market value of the carby make, model (Camry, Elantra, etc.), and year. After you have that information, you can compare it with the rental car company’s website.
  • Look over the car before seeking out a mechanic for an inspection. You should listen for strange noises, look for signs of body damage on the outside and inside of the vehicle, and take a test drive. You should also request a vehicle history report from the seller, or you can run one yourself at sites like Carfax, AutoCheck, or the federal National Motor Vehicle Title Information System.
  • Have a pre-inspection done by an independent mechanic to get an idea of any current or future issues. A good mechanic can also reassure you of any abnormal wear before you buy.

If you follow these steps and consider the information provided, there is no reason a rental car can’t make a great addition to your household. As always, do some comparison shopping and ensure you have everything checked out before you sign on the dotted line. Other than that, you may find a deal that you wouldn’t have if you only looked at privately owned used vehicles.

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