Study Shows That Over a Third of Car Renters are Test Driving For Future Purchases

When renting a car, have you ever thought of purchasing it? Well, maybe not that exact car, but a similar new model? If so, you’re not alone. According to a study conducted by FinanceBuzz, over one-third of car rental customers said they have considered purchasing or leasing a specific car after the rental period. The study also found some other interesting facts when it comes to car renting.

Hertz rentals
A row of Hertz rental cars | Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty

Many car rental customers intentionally rent models that they are interested in

A pie chart showing the percentage of respondents that rent for future purchases.
A pie chart showing the percentage of respondents that rent for future purchases. | FinanceBuzz

Although you may associate rental cars with having well-used interiors and unknown mechanical repairs, plenty of customers perceive them as new cars and use them for research. According to FinanceBuzz’s study, about 23% of rental customers said they are “taking more of an active role in using rental cars to influence purchasing decisions by intentionally renting a model that they were already interested in.” As such, they use the rental period as an extended test drive.

To give themselves more freedom and variety, many renters have utilized Turo, which allows them to rent cars from individual owners. We have used this service before and can say that it allows renters to get into different types of cars at a lower rate than a traditional car rental agency. Although the concept isn’t new, less than a third (30%) of those surveyed said they would not be open to renting a car in such a manner, while many renters have done so in the past (26%).

The survey also revealed certain rental car confessions

A bar graph showing rental car confessions.
A bar graph showing rental car confessions. | FinanceBuzz

Let’s face it; not everyone adheres to the rules when renting a car. The study revealed 17% of respondents go over the mileage allotment when renting a car, while 13% let unauthorized drivers take the wheel. Fortunately, only 6% said they received a ticket without telling the rental car agency, and 5% said they were in an accident and didn’t notify the company either.

Other not-so-risqué rental confessions include respondents admitting to eating in the car (61%) and sleeping in the car (24%). Those two confessions may not be too surprising, considering eating and sleeping are normal human habits.

However, you may be alarmed to know that nearly 24% of car renters say they smoke cigarettes in rental cars, while 11% say they have smoked marijuana in them. Those are some pretty unsafe habits to do while driving, but what is even worse is that a whopping 20% of respondents said that they text while driving rental cars.

breaking rental car rules bar graph
A graph showing certain rules broken by rental car customers. | FinanceBuzz

Here are tips for saving money on your next rental car

Hertz
Hertz worker assists a customer at its rental car pickup area | Tim Boyle/Getty
Related

Check Out These Car Rental Hacks for Getting a Free Upgrade

If these survey results have somehow enticed you to rent a car for your next business trip, vacation, or new-car research, here are some tips for saving money:

  • Use a credit card: Some credit cards include rental car insurance, so it could be wise to use a credit card to book your next rental.
  • Check your personal car insurance: Since it’s a must to have rental car insurance, you should check to see if your personal car insurance policy already has it. If so, you won’t have to pay extra to be covered.
  • Plan ahead: Planning ahead by making an online reservation, sticking to one driver, and not renting at an airport location can save you money on your next rental experience.