Imagine buying a used car that has been retired from a rental fleet. That might seem like an excellent choice, because you think it has been owned by a major company that kept up on its maintenance and care. There could be good deals available, but don’t count on rental fleet vehicles being perfect. There are all kinds of issues that can cause problems down the line. That’s why a vehicle’s past rental use must be disclosed by dealerships.
One of the major problems is that many of these companies don’t keep up on maintenance. Vehicles may go hundreds of miles past due for oil changes or end up broken down on the side of the road because someone who rented it didn’t put in the right fluids when a warning popped up.
There’s also the issue that every single driver has a different way of handling a rental vehicle. Some may push the vehicle harder because it’s not theirs. Others may go easy on the vehicle. This slowly wears down the vehicle’s parts, which means that a rental vehicle with 20,000 miles on it may actually have more damage than one that was owned by a single party.
Minor issues are more likely, too, such as interior spills, stains, bumps and scrapes. There’s also an increased risk that a rental vehicle may have been used to transport and transfer drugs, so residue may remain and cause problems down the line if you’re stopped for a traffic violation.
Fleet vehicles are more common than you think
Approximately one out of every five used vehicles sold in 2019 was a fleet vehicle (rental car). These vehicles have a hard stop-and-go lifestyle in urban areas and usually have over 100,000 miles before they’re retired, but not always. Buying this kind of vehicle is a big risk, because they may have a risk of major repairs in the future.
It’s important for any dealer selling used fleet vehicles to disclose that the vehicle was a rental. That way, consumers have the option to walk away from the purchase and find a different option or to bring in a mechanic to check over the vehicle’s stability and likelihood of needing repairs.