Avoid These Life-Altering Mistakes I Made Renting My Car Out On Turo

If you’re not familiar with the phone app Turo, it’s an application that allows individual car owners to rent out their vehicles directly, similar to apps like Air BNB that let you rent out rooms in your house. As a renter, it’s got a lot of benefits, from getting to experience an exotic car you’re looking to buy, or just having a fun car to drive while you’re on vacation. As a car owner, you get to see the prices and availability dates, and it’s an interesting way to let your car be part of someone else’s life.

We had rented out our 2006 Dodge Viper on Turo for a little more than a year without any problems and got to meet a lot of interesting new people along the way. Everything went well until we made some mistakes that led to the worst-case scenario: picking our car up and realizing it had a blown engine.

What Turo does to protect all of the users

As much as we’d like to blame Turo, the mistakes were mostly due to our ignorance, and while Turo wasn’t able to help us fix the problem or financially compensate us for the blown engine, there is another side to the story.

Along with our standard car insurance, the app offers car owners the ability to get renters insurance through their app. The cost is well worth the risk mitigation and it’s more affordable than getting private renter insurance on your exotic car. We did have insurance through the Turo app, but we missed out on some key details that can be easily avoided.

Ralph Gilles, president, and CEO of SRT Brand and Motorsports Chrysler wears a Detroit t-shirt while introducing the new 2013 SRT Viper at the New York International Auto Show | Mario Tama/Getty Images

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On the Viper, we didn’t set up any type of system or monitoring the car, and we didn’t complete a full mechanical inspection with records, and these two things turned out to be crucial mistakes.

Because of this, the representatives at Turo were unable to verify what had caused the car’s engine to blow up and therefore was unable to hold the customer at fault. While it seemed unfair at the time, this procedure was put in place to protect the renter as well.

The major mistakes we made, and what they cost

As you could imagine, replacing the 8.3L V10 engine of our Dodge Viper was relatively expensive, but being handy we were able to complete the repairs ourselves. All in, we spent approximately $15,000 in materials and buying a new engine, but this could have been avoided with some simple precautions.

The first precaution that we didn’t take was that we didn’t follow our gut feeling. When we had dropped the car off to the renter, my fiance and I were uncomfortable with the transaction, but we had already agreed to the rental and as he was a businessman traveling from out of town, it seemed unfair to follow our gut and potentially leave him without a car. As we watched him drive away, we could smell the clutch burning, and with a side glance, I could see the look of dread on my fiance’s face.

2016 Dodge Viper is on display at the 108th Annual Chicago Auto Show | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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The second mistake that we made was that we did not take any pictures or statistical evidence in regard to the condition of the car and mechanical components before each rental.

If you can avoid these simple mistakes you can rest assured that the team at Turo can help resolves any issues you may have, and you can enjoy the extra cashflow of renting out your car.