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Rent A Car Before Buying

You've done your car-buying homework and created a short list of cars you like. But the test-drive lasts only 10 minutes, and that's just not enough time for you to choose a car. Depending on the cars you're considering, there's a better way to evaluate such a big-ticket purchase: Rent to know.

rent a car before buying


That's right. Rent the models you're seriously considering before you buy a new car, and put them through their paces in your everyday life. Do the carpool or the grocery run; commute in heavy traffic; parallel-park in a tight spot; estimate your real miles per gallon. If you ski, rent that AWD vehicle and see how it climbs the mountain; if you boat, see if that truck's tow rating really makes the grade.

It's money well spent. U.S. rental car companies charge $33-$60 per day for a midsize car depending on model and location; rent for multiple days and the price drops. If you were to rent three midsize cars for one day apiece, that's $96-$180 out of pocket. Even though rental car rates are expected to rise a bit, that's a whole lot cheaper than the cost of a bad decision. A rental allows you to better experience the car than a short test-drive with a talkative salesman.

Reed was considering buying a used Mazda 626 several years ago and decided to rent one first for an extended test-drive. "I can't say exactly what changed my mind," he said, "But I lost interest in the 626 and bought something else instead. But it took time before my true reaction to the car surfaced. I was glad I did it."

The major rental car companies have traditionally relied on domestic automakers to supply their fleets. But now, Detroit's Big Three are reducing their fleet sales because they're less profitable than retail sales. As a result Asian and European cars are now more common at your local rent-a-car.

Obviously, not every car on the market is available for rent, but a little digging can prove fruitful. It's actually quite easy to see which cars the rental companies have in their fleets by checking their Web sites.

Employees at rental car companies are trained to say that they cannot guarantee a specific model for your reservation, except for Hertz, which has special "collection" models that you can reserve. Finding, say, a Ford Mustang or a Chevy Malibu will likely never present a problem. To locate and reserve something less common, though, make sure to call the local office (not the national reservation number) and ask if the car you're interested in is available on their lot that day. If it is, you may want to jump on it right away. And if you can't get satisfaction from the first person who picks up the phone, ask to speak to the manager, who will consider it a customer satisfaction issue. If you use a particular company with some frequency, mention that.

Once you get your vehicle of choice, determine whether its trim level (the designation of a model that includes specific equipment) is the same as the exact vehicle you're considering buying. A difference in the trim level might be minor, such as chrome vs. aluminum wheels or leather vs. cloth seats, but it could also mean the difference between a four-cylinder and six-cylinder engine. Don't make color or specific features an issue; the goal is to see how the car functions and drives in a variety of day-to-day situations.

Listed below are the major U.S. rental car companies and the makes of cars featured on their Web sites as of March 2007. We mention models where appropriate. (All makes and models are subject to change; manufacturer concentrations are from company SEC filings.)

Is your family growing? Or has the last of your flock moved out? Changes in family size are often a reason for buying a new type of vehicle. If your family is growing, though, would a minivan suit your needs better? Or an SUV with a third row you can fold down when not in use? If the last of your children has just moved out, do you want a crossover vehicle? Or a small sedan?

Prices range widely. When I searched for a vehicle in my city, I could rent a 2019 Subaru Forester for $51/day, a 2013 Kia Sorento for $42/day, or a 2017 Ram 1500 for $126/day. (There were many other options, of course.)

Buying a rental car could be an excellent option for a used car buyer with a limited budget. The discounts attached to rental vehicles on the market can make owning your dream vehicle much more affordable. But as with any other pre-owned vehicle, you'll need to do your research to ensure you drive away with a good bargain.

Rental car companies often have a continuous supply of rental cars for sale. This is because they regularly upgrade their fleets by adding new vehicles. So, they need to sell off part of their existing fleet to make space for the new arrivals. This is how rental cars make their way to auctions and dealerships.

Most large-scale rental companies even have dedicated departments to sell their used cars since they have many vehicles to offer each year. And they may also have online sales platforms, so you can easily sift through their inventory based on your location and vehicle preferences.

Many of them also offer trade-in options to save you from the hassle of selling your car. Before you discuss your car's value with a rental company, though, assess the trade-in value of your vehicle with an independent party to ensure you are receiving a fair deal.

Buying a car from a rental company is not without risks. So, is it ok to buy a rental car? The answer depends on your specific needs. It's certainly possible to grab an excellent deal once you know how to assess the pros and cons. And if done right, you can drive off with a great deal.

These businesses upgrade their fleets regularly to offer their clients the latest vehicles to rent, so many of the cars that go on sale tend to be just a few years old. This could make rental cars an excellent option to grab a one- or two-year-old vehicle at a more affordable price.

Unlike some car dealers, many rental car companies have various programs in place so you can try out the vehicle before purchasing. These can range from two-hour test drives and return policies to renting options for a few days, where the rental cost is refunded when you purchase.

One important way rental cars can differ from the typical used cars on the market is their above-average mileage. This means a two-year-old rental car could have much more wear and tear compared to a normal car that shares the same manufactured year. And unlike private car owners, rental clients may not be so careful about how they use the vehicle. This means you might expect more repairs despite a solid maintenance history.

You might be able to use a portion of your home's value to spruce it up or pay other bills with a Home Equity Line of Credit. To find out if you may be eligible for a HELOC, use our HELOC calculator and other resources before you apply.

Try the Caddy California at 10 different locations: Manchester, Bristol, Colindale, Leicester, Liverpool, SMG Tonbridge, Sinclair Van Centre (Swansea), Volkswagen Van Centre Swindon, Breeze Van Centre Poole, Volkswagen Van Centre Lancashire, Volkswagen Van Centre Birmingham, Donnellys Volkswagen Van Centre, Clark Commercials Aberdeen & Eurovans Crawley.

Choose from the award-winning Volkswagen, ŠKODA, SEAT, and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle range for either short-term daily rental (1-28 days) or long-term rental (28+ days). Plus, the vehicle you book, is the vehicle you get. Unless you are on your own company fleet insurance, the minimum age for business rental is 25 and you must have held your licence for a minimum of 12 months.

Yes. Any kind of monthly debt, including a new lease payment, will affect mortgage eligibility. A lease may affect buying a house more than a car loan. Leasing or financing a car right after applying for a mortgage loan could change the conditions of your loan offer.

Purchasing a rental car used to be considered a bad idea because of the wear and tear renters may put on them. But over the years, people have realized that the benefits can far outweigh the downsides. Strict maintenance, lower prices, "no haggle" sales, rent-to-buy options, extended warranties, and seven-day return policies can help make buying a car from a rental company a good idea.

Used rental cars are often 1-2 years old, but they come with mileage that's more often double what an average car that age would have. If you're hoping to buy a car you can keep driving for as long as possible, you'll have to determine whether the benefits outweigh a car's potentially shorter lifespan. Learn more about mileage on used cars.

Being subjected to different driving styles may increase the wear and tear on a car. It's also a common belief that people treat rental cars rougher than their own cars. That belief may or may not be accurate, but the potential for more significant wear and tear should factor into your decision.

Because they're newer, another benefit of buying rental cars is that they're usually more up to date with the latest safety features. That said, you should check the vehicle history report, ask about recalls and get an inspection to help ensure that buying a rental fleet car is perfectly safe for you and your family.

Because of the potential for more significant wear and tear on the car's parts, you can have the used car inspected by a mechanic, before you buy. Since rental car companies often have seven-day return policies, you can buy it right away and then have it inspected. If the inspection shows something wrong, you can return the car for a full refund.

Please note: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of insurance. Read our editorial standards for Answers content. This information is not an insurance policy, does not refer to any specific insurance policy, and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions expressly stated in any insurance policy. Descriptions of all coverages and other features are necessarily brief; in order to fully understand the coverages and other features of a specific insurance policy, we encourage you to read the applicable policy and/or speak to an insurance representative. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. Whether an accident or other loss is covered is subject to the terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in the claim. References to average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, costs of coverages/repair, etc., are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. We are not responsible for the content of any third-party sites linked from this page. 041b061a72


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