Buying a rental car: What you need to know Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our mission is to help you make better financial choices by offering interactive financial calculators and tools that provide original and independent content. This allows you to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has agreements with issuers including, but not restricted to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The deals that are advertised on this site come from companies that compensate us. This compensation can affect the way and when products are featured on this website, for example for instance, the order in which they may appear in the listing categories in the event that they are not permitted by law. This applies to our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other products for home loans. However, this compensation will have no impact on the content we publish or the reviews that you read on this site. We do not cover the universe of companies or financial offerings that could be available to you. SHARE: BraunS/Getty Images

3 minutes read Read Published March 02, 2023

Authored by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in helping readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to buy a car. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances with concise, well-researched and detailed facts that break down complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate promises

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Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and when the products are listed within categories, unless the law prohibits it for our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other home lending products. Other elements, such as our own website rules and whether or not a product is available in your region or within your self-selected credit score range could also affect the manner in which products are featured on this site. While we strive to provide an array of offers, Bankrate does not include the details of each credit or financial item or product. A majority of people only use the rental car for vacations or time away -and for a lot of people, they can also be an option to acquire the vehicle of their choice. Although rental vehicles are used by a number of drivers, they also typically come with extensive maintenance records and a low price tag. However, before you leave the lot in one of these cars there are some factors to account for. What is the best way to purchase a rental car Just as if you were purchasing any other used or new vehicle, buying a rental will require some research ahead of time. Budget Know how much you can afford and what financing options are most suitable for your budget. Since rental cars are used vehicles, there are plenty of financing options. The rates averaged 10.26 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022. 10.26 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 according to data from . However, keep in mind that this is more than the amount you see advertised online. Visit websites such as Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book (KBB). Both offer breakdowns of the expected repair and maintenance costs for a wide variety of vehicles. Compare cars The best resources for looking into rental cars available for sale can be found at Enterprise, Avis and Hertz. Simply go to their websites to see what is available in your local area. Also, Edmunds and KBB can serve as a great guide. They will show you the the average cost in your region for the cars you’re looking at. This way, you can ensure that the used car dealership is offering a good deal. And because rental cars have greater use and wear, check to see the possibility of a lower price than the average to cover more costly maintenance expenses later on. When you’ve got an automobile in mind Apply for pre-approved financing. While many rental firms will provide financing options on their own, it is important to know you’re getting the best price. Being prequalified also lets you make better budgeting decisions. Once you know how much you’re able to spend — and know your monthly payment — you can shop for just the right fit to your budget. Inspect the vehicle Try a test drive, and see the car in person if you can find the car’s history report. This report will give you an information about any damages that have occurred, previous ownership and some details about what’s under the engine. Since rental vehicles are used by many drivers, they accumulate quite a few miles. It is normal for the odometer to be very high, even in new cars, so be sure to check prior to buying. Along with the vehicle history report, this gives you a full idea of the intensity with which the vehicle was driven during its time as a rental. Make sure to check the warranty. Finally make sure you inquire about the warranty is covered with a manufacturer’s warranty and you may be able to get additional assurances from the rental firm. It could be a good option even if the vehicle is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Extended warranties cover more frequent repairs and maintenance needs. However, they come at a cost, so ensure you know what it covers and whether it’s worth it prior to signing up. Are rental cars good to buy? Like many things related to purchasing a car it is important to consider the financial implications and appropriateness for your needs. Although rental cars are a bit of a bad rap however, it is not a guarantee that the car you purchase hasn’t been abused in the same way unless you personally know its history. The advantages of renting a car. Rental cars can have a bad reputation however, there are several reasons they may be the right choice for you. Warranty: Most rental cars come with a warranty of about one year -including cars that are no longer covered by the manufacturer’s original warranty. Buy-back policy: Rental car chains may offer a buy-back policy when you make a change of mind shortly after the sale. Vehicles that are well-maintained The company that rents the car should have kept the vehicle maintained and cleaned after every driver. Even with more wear and tear present on the car you are considering it’s been examined higher than the typical used vehicle. These kinds of features could provide extra peace of mind that might not be found in used vehicles elsewhere. Cons of buying a rental car Although there are quite some positives, there are disadvantages of a rental car. The high mileage of frequent drivers and lengthy journeys could be more costly than regular maintenance. The high mileage incurred by renters could potentially mean more problems or a shorter life span for your vehicle. There are fewer options available: In addition to this, purchasing a rental means a much more limited inventory available to shop. If the rental car company doesn’t have the car you’re looking for, you’re out of the woods. Basic features: The cars are not usually equipped with of the features that drivers want. Many are basic models that will not have the luxury features other used vehicles might include. The main thing to remember is that if you choose to use a second hand rental car, do your homework on the typical prices, conduct a history report and check out the fine print at rental car websitesMany offer discounts or buy-back alternatives. As with any other used vehicle, having the vehicle inspected with an expert mechanic will give you extra assurance. Find out more


The article was written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers with the details of borrowing money to buy a car. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances through providing clear, well-researched details that cut otherwise complex topics into manageable bites.

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