Buying a rental car: What you need to know Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our aim is to assist you make better financial choices by offering interactive tools and financial calculators that provide original and independent content. We also allow you to conduct your own research and compare information at no cost – so you can make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers such as, but not restricted to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn Money The offers that appear on this website are provided by companies who pay us. This compensation can affect the way and where products appear on this website, for example, for example, the order in which they appear in the listing categories in the event that they are not permitted by law. Our mortgage or home equity products, as well as other products for home loans. However, this compensation will have no impact on the content we publish or the reviews that you see on this site. We do not include the entire universe of businesses or financial offerings that could be available to you. SHARE: BraunS/Getty Images
3 min read Published March 02, 2023.
Authored by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She is a specialist in helping readers in navigating the details of borrowing money to buy cars. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain confidence to control their finances through providing concise, well-researched and detailed facts that break down complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate promises
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We are compensated in exchange for the promotion of sponsored goods and services or by you clicking on specific links on our site. This compensation could affect the way, location and when products appear within listing categories, unless prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home loan products. Other elements, such as our own rules for our website and whether or not a product is available within the area you reside in or is within your own personal credit score could also affect how and where products appear on this website. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include details about each credit or financial product or service. A majority of people only use renting a car during holidays or when they are awayin some cases it is also the means of obtaining an automobile of their own. While rental cars go through a number of drivers, they also have extensive maintenance records and an affordable price. However, before you leave the lot in one of these cars there are some aspects to take into consideration. What is the best way to purchase a rental car Just as would you buy any other new or used car, renting a vehicle needs some preparation before the purchase date. Budget Know how much you can afford and what financing options work best for your budget. Because rental cars are considered used vehicles, there are plenty of financing options available. The rates averaged at 10.26 percent during the 4th quarter in 2022, according to figures from . However, keep in mind that the is much more than just the price that you see advertised online. Visit websites such as Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book (KBB). Both provide breakdowns of anticipated repairs and maintenance costs for a wide variety of vehicles. Compare cars The most reliable sources for looking into rental cars available for sale include Enterprise, Avis and Hertz. Visit their websites and see the available cars in your local area. Again, Edmunds and KBB can serve as a great guide. They will show you the average prices in your area for the vehicle you’re interested in. This way, you can be certain that the used car dealership is providing a fair price. And because rental cars have more damage, consider if you can go lower than the average to cover higher maintenance costs later on. Prequalify Once you have a vehicle in mind you can apply for pre-approved financing. While many rental firms will provide financing options of their own, it’s always smart to so you are sure you’re getting the best price. Being prequalified also lets you make better budgeting decisions. Once you know how much you’re able to spend — and also know the monthly cost of your purchase — you can shop for just the right fit for your finances. Check the car Take a test drive and see the car in person if you can find the vehicle history report. It will provide you with information about any damages that have occurred, previous ownership and some specifics about what’s underneath the engine. Because rental cars see lots of drivers, they rack up many miles. The odometer is likely to be high even with relatively new cars, so be sure to check when you purchase. In addition to the car’s history report, it will give you a full idea of the amount of time it was driven in the time it was rented. Also inquire if the car is covered by a warranty comes with the manufacturer’s warranty, and you may have the option of getting additional security from the rental company. An may be a good option even if your car is covered by a manufacturer warranty. Extended warranties are for more routine repairs and maintenance requirements. However, they come at a expense, so make sure you know what it covers and if it makes sense prior to signing up. Do rental cars make sense to purchase? Similar to the majority of things related to buying a car it is important to consider the financial consequences and fit for your lifestyle. While rental cars have somewhat of a bad name, there is no guarantee the car you purchase hasn’t been used similarly unless you know the history. The advantages of renting a car. Rental cars can be viewed as a negative, but there are some motives why they might be an ideal fit for you. Warranty: Most rental cars come with a warranty for a period of one yeareven those that no longer qualify for the original manufacturer’s warranty. Buy-back policies: Some rental car chains may offer the option of buying back your car if you change your mind immediately after you have purchased. Vehicles that are well-maintained: The rental car company must have ensured that the car is clean and maintained after each driver. This means that even with more wear and tear on the car you are considering, it has still been checked up on much more than the average used car. These options can give you additional peace of mind that might not be found in used vehicles elsewhere. Pros and cons of renting a car Despite having quite many advantages, there’s also disadvantages of the rental vehicle. The high mileage of frequent drivers and lengthy journeys could be more costly than regular maintenance. Sky-high mileage accrued by renters could potentially mean more problems or a shorter life span for your car. Limited options: Along with this, buying a rental will mean a smaller selection of vehicles available for purchase. If the rental car provider does not have the vehicle you’re looking for, you’re out of the woods. Basic specifications: The vehicles are not usually equipped with all of the features some drivers want. Many are basic models that do not come with the luxurious features other used vehicles might come with. The key point to consider is that if you choose to use a second hand rental car, do your homework on the typical prices, conduct a history report and look over the fine print at rental car websitesMany offer discounts or buy-back offers. And, as with any used car, getting the vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic will give you extra security. Learn more
This article is written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely taking out loans to purchase an automobile. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances with clear, well-researched details that cut complex topics into manageable bites.
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