Should you buy a used rental car?

Buying a used car is often a great way to get the best value for your money. While in the market for a new vehicle, you may gravitate toward your local used car dealership. However, you may want to consider other options, such as a used rental car.

Consumers across Pennsylvania can come across great deals when considering purchasing a used rental car. Whether buying direct from a company like Enterprise, Hertz or Avis or buying from a used car lot, you may become mesmerized by low prices, newer models and the promise of a well-maintained vehicle. However, when are used rental cars as great a deal as they seem?

The disadvantages of buying used rental cars

Rental car companies often advertise low prices. While the price and look of the car may seem right, there are often several disadvantages to purchasing a rental car.

Cars may come with considerable mileage racked up. While it is not impossible to find a rental car with 10,000 miles, many can come with more than 50,000 miles. Additionally, despite many of these vehicles being relatively new, the cars may have had many drivers throughout a short lifespan. Drivers of rental cars may not exercise the same caution they do with their own vehicles. According to Consumer Reports, drivers may rent a single rental car between 55 to 65 times a year on average.

What you should look for as a consumer

While the substantial mileage and revolving door of previous drivers may give you pause, doing your research can help you make the right decision. Steps to take before purchasing a vehicle include:

  • Inquiring about the rental company’s policy for regularly inspecting and maintaining vehicles
  • Looking up the history of the vehicle to review its history, including whether it has been involved in an accident
  • Getting the opinion of a trusted mechanic to inspect the vehicle and determine its reliability
  • Asking about the warranty on the vehicle, including that from both the manufacturer and potentially the rental company

Purchasing a used rental vehicle can leave you with a reliable and relatively new car for a fraction of the cost of a brand-new car. However, doing your research is important to avoid purchasing a lemon. Take your time, get an independent opinion and do your homework to make an informed decision.

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