Author Topic: Specific - Buying a used rental car  (Read 4736 times)

OSUBearCub

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Specific - Buying a used rental car
« on: October 17, 2014, 09:10:43 AM »
Question: Has anyone had any luck buying former rental cars from companies like Hertz or Avis? If you have indeed made such a purchase, what should I be aware of beforehand?    

Context: All previous cars have been bought from my Dad who babies his cars and sells them to me for half the blue-book value, no interest.  The transmission on my 2004 Chrysler Pacifica is going out and dad is in no hurry to rid himself of his current wheels.

Long story short, I can't go after a mid-nineties beater and let my mustachian freak flag fly.  I wont defend this position, it is what it is. I'm thinking buying a used rental might be the Middle Path between a need for a respectable car that I can drive to work functions and an affordable car that won't significantly extend my FIRE goals.

tvan

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 02:09:00 PM »
Bumping for the same question.  They seem discounted pretty heavily...probably because people drove the shit out of them, but if they are still in good order, are they worth it?

Spork

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 02:20:07 PM »

I've never done it... but really thought about it with last purchase.  The reason I chickened out was because people really are harsh on them.  Really harsh.  Like... Let's jump the snake river canyon harsh.

I went the craigslist route.   But good luck either way.

klystomane

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 02:37:00 PM »
Rentals are often only a few years old, correct?

How about buying certified used? They're usually 3-4 year old cars that have just come off leases. Leased cars are usually in pretty good shape since there are strict requirements for the care of the car.

Granted, this would be a more expensive route.

myrax

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2015, 03:06:01 PM »
My husband bought a used rental car a few years before we met. It's still in good shape and running, while it is a base model without electric windows and locks. Rental cars might have higher mileage, but the standard line to justify buying them is they supposedly also get more regular tune-ups and maintenance. Overall, it seems like it was a frugal purchase.

Disclaimer: I never owned a car before I married into owning half of this one, and I hope it will be our last car, so my opinion might not be very informed.

lbmustache

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2015, 04:37:51 PM »
My husband bought a used rental car a few years before we met. It's still in good shape and running, while it is a base model without electric windows and locks. Rental cars might have higher mileage, but the standard line to justify buying them is they supposedly also get more regular tune-ups and maintenance. Overall, it seems like it was a frugal purchase.

Disclaimer: I never owned a car before I married into owning half of this one, and I hope it will be our last car, so my opinion might not be very informed.

There was an article awhile ago which mentioned some rental agencies SKIMP (!) on maintenance because they don't want to lose money while the car is out. They push oil changes back a bit, tires etc. Nothing extreme - they don't want a lawsuit. But they cut a few corners here and there. They were also slow on TSB (tech service bulletins for car companies) and recall repairs. I don't know how true it is but I also don't trust rental agencies so YMMV.

I would buy one only if I were allowed to have it inspected by a mechanic of my choice.

Dicey

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2015, 06:28:33 PM »
My dad bought one and it turned out it had been in an accident. The repair was not readily apparent initially, but the frame wasn't 100% true, so ir burned through tires at a higher than normal rate.

In my working career and in my personal travels, I have rented a lot of cars. I would still not buy one from the rental fleet because I know how I drove them. I wasn't a crazy driver, but I was far less careful in a rental than I was in my own car.

See if there's a beepi in your area. All cars are inspected and certified before they add them to their website.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2015, 10:10:48 AM »
I seriously thought about it, but decided the price difference really wasn't that much. We ended up buying off a buy here, pay here lot, which is the third car we have done that way. My husband is mechanically inclined and does all our car work himself.

cripzychiken

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2015, 11:28:12 AM »
Something to understand with rental cars - the CarFax is complete crap.  All the work that has been performed was completed by the rental company and is not reported to CarFax.  So don't use "it has a clean CarFax" as a reason to buy a rental.  They don't report that a car is in a wreck b/c then it won't sell as well.  they have no reason to report it to CarFax.

A good friend of mine is a sales guy at Enterprise, from him: the best rental cars (no wrecks, lower miles, upgrades) are sold by the company.  The next tier are usually sold by dealers (high miles, minor damage, standard used car issues).  The bottom tier (could be a wreck, tons of miles, no options, older, etc) are sold by used car places since the carfax is clean they can usually sell it for more than it should be worth with a true history report.  For Enterprise, what they don't choose to sell, they auction off the rest and that's how they tend to fall out, but sometimes used car places will buy a 2nd tier car if they want to pay for it.

I've bought 2 used rentals in my life and both were good cars.  One from a dealer and 1 from a rental company.  Just make sure - like you should for all car purchases - that you inspect that car (either yourself if you know how or pay a mechanic to).  Also, understand that maintenance will likely be do sooner than normal (30k miles a year rather than the normal 10-15k for regular drivers) so even if the car is only 1 year old, it has 2-3years of it's life taken from it.

Last tip - check the tires.  A lot of places will use 40-50k mile tires and sell the car at 30k miles.  So the tires might be almost gone already.  Just make sure to note that in the price/use it to negotiate.

Benefits: newer model, should have been kept up to date on maintenance
cons: Unknown history, maybe from a different state (so issues like rust from snow people in FL aren't used to looking for)

notredame232

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2015, 01:21:06 PM »
Have you ever driven a rental car?

That is reason enough for me to never buy one. I know how I treat them. They might be newer in model year, but not in true condition. Plus most have little to no options.

FLBiker

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2015, 01:58:36 PM »
We bought a 3 year-old corolla from Enterprise 3 years ago and have had no problems.  They even fixed the mp3 audio jack which I didn't have a cable to test when we bought it.

That said, I probably wouldn't do it again.  3 years was the "oldest" car we could get from them.  Next time, I want something older.

tweezers

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2015, 02:14:31 PM »
In my days as a field biologist when evaluating whether we should attempt to traverse the stream/unmaintained forest road/gully, 90% of the time we proceeded with a shrug and the statement "its a rental".

I would never purchase a rental car.  YMMV.

Pigeon

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2015, 02:29:49 PM »
I thought about it for my last car purchase, but the price differential wasn't worth it to me.  One I learned in doing some research was that in most cases, the rentals only come with one key fob, if that matters to you.

bord

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2015, 03:06:54 PM »
I bought a former lease vehicle in 2008. The Corolla is still going strong in 2015 with nothing but routine maintenance. Just get it checked out by a mechanic you trust before you purchase. Walk away from any seller that won't allow it.

abiteveryday

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Re: Specific - Buying a used rental car
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2015, 04:50:35 PM »
I got a Focus that was a former rental about 5 years ago.  It has been every bit the low maintenance appliance of a car that I hoped it would be.    Everyone says people treat rentals harshly, but is it really true?   I mean, I just drive them like normal cars that I happen to pick up from a faraway airport instead of my own home.