Is Buying a Used Rental Car a Smart Decision?
Buying a used car is like a box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re gonna get.” Whether you go online to Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or an actual classifieds website, the truth of the matter is, the cars that you find could have hidden issues. Such is the case for buying a car from a rental car fleet, however, it might not be as bad as you think. Could buying a used rental car actually be a good idea?
Why is buying a rental car a good idea?
We can definitely understand any prospective buyer’s potential woes when it comes to buying a rental car. After all, there are many horror stories about renting a car, so actually buying one of those cars could mean that it’s plagued with issues and will be an absolute pain for years, right? Not really.
With Hertz recently declaring bankruptcy, which means that they won’t be restocking their rental car fleet this year and selling a lot of their retired models, there is going to be a huge influx of affordable cars on the Hertz Car Sales website. Other rental car agencies, like Enterprise, have a car sales division as well, however, we found that the cars on the Hertz site are priced lower than average. For example, a 2018 Nissan Sentra S on Enterprise’s site was listed at around $12,000, while a comparable Sentra S on Hertz’ site was listed for $10,000.
Before you get caught up in the bargain-priced sticker shock, just remember that these are former rental cars, which means that that most of them are base models, so if you’re expecting some of the luxurious amenities that you find in a higher trim level, you may have to stick to regularly used car lots. However, if you’re just in need of a set of wheels, or want a sports car that you couldn’t afford before, now is the time to search and possibly make a move.
Is the maintenance really an issue?
Technically, the maintenance history of any used car that you buy can be shady, at best. One nice part about buying a rental car is that they typically do inspections on all of their cars. However just note that the “115-point inspection” that Hertz or any rental agency does, for example, is typically a technician just giving all of the vital parts a quick look and then checking it off a list. We always recommend getting a pre-purchase inspection done on any used car as another mechanic’s opinion is a good idea.
Is the pricing really that great?
From what we have seen from both Hertz and Enterprise is that their pricing is below market value and even better is that they operate on a “no-haggle” policy, which means that the price you see on the website is the price you pay (sales tax, doc fees, and DMV fees are additional).
It looks like each agency can assist you in finding financing as well, however, we always recommend finding financing through a credit union or your own bank as they might have lower rates.
Are warranties included?
Both Enterprise and Hertz offer 12-month/12,000-mile powertrain warranties, and Hertz also offers “Technology Coverage,” which is a warranty on the electronics. And in case you’re wondering what happens if you don’t like the car, Enterprise allows you to bring that car back within seven days and Hertz has a “Rent 2 Buy” program that allows you to rent the car for three days so you can decide if you want to buy it.
Used rental cars can be a great way to go
If you happen to find a car that you like on a rental agency site, then remember to check out the car’s history report that they provide. As always, do as much research as possible before actually pulling the trigger and remember to get a pre-purchase inspection done (this is the second time we’ve mentioned that). After it’s all said and done, buying a former rental car might actually be one the best ways to buy a used car.