Is it Safe to Buy a Rental Car?

By: Paige Filler

When you are considering buying a used vehicle, it is important to cover all of your bases and take all options into consideration. Most people don't even think about the buy a rental car option. It is an option with many pros and cons and it is worth it to factor them into your used car purchase decision.

Rental Car Purchase Pros

First things first, as a used buyer you know where this car is coming from. Chances are the car has been kept clean and well maintained during its life as a rental. Any rental service that sells their cars should be able to offer you maintenance records to back that up. In fact it should be insisted upon to ensure that the car has been properly cared for.

Pricing is another attractive factor if you want to purchase a rental car. Many of the cars rental agencies will offer for sale are less than a year old and have less than 25,000 miles on them. Do not be suspect when you see a newer model for sale, it does not necessarily indicate that the vehicle is problematic. Rental companies are able to purchase their vehicle at the bare minimum fleet pricing, enabling them to re-sell at very competitive prices.

Another pro is the possibility of a warranty still intact with a purchase through a rental car company. Because they generally sell them within a year of purchase and at a reasonable mileage, there is a good chance that there will still be some time left on the manufacturers warranty. Giving the new owner a little peace of mind, especially when you consider the cons of purchasing a rental car.

Rental Car Purchase Cons

Anyone who has rented a car has probably heard this joke, "What's the difference between a rental car and a 4X4? A rental car can go anywhere!" It's funny when you rent a car, but when you are looking to buy a rental car suddenly it's not so funny anymore. This being the biggest con of them all, people are hard on rental cars. The rental companies have no idea what the car actually endures while in the care of the individuals it rents to. Of course they will assure you that the car was not mistreated, but again, anyone who has rented a car knows the kind of abuse they can take.

Generally the rental agencies will inspect the car upon its return to their lot to ensure that there has been no damage. However what is reported at that point is largely cosmetic, and while aesthetics are important, it's what's inside that really counts. If you are considering purchasing a rental car, be sure to take it to an outside, unaffiliated mechanic for a through inspection to ensure that the vehicle has not suffered mechanically at the hands of an thoughtless renter.

As far as cons go, the vast unknown is really the one to worry about. While cosmetic issues are important, mechanical soundness is truly the bottom line with any used car purchase.

Bottom Line A Good Option

When purchasing a used vehicle, the rental agencies offer a viable option for purchase. Contrary to popular belief previous rental cars can be a great investment for anyone looking for a suitable used vehicle. Having access to maintenance records is a huge plus, and all things considered every vehicle they buy is the rental companies bread and butter. It is good business sense for them to keep them in tip top working order.

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