Buying a used rental car?

Hello dopers! I am in the market for a pre-owned vehicle and was looking at 2016’s when I found a similar 2018, same price and mileage. The carfax says it’s been in a minor accident with cosmetic damage only.
Does anyone have experience or knowledge they can share as to whether to consider a previously rented car? I’d think it would have been kept in pretty good shape for the 18 months it was in service. No?

Probably but it depends on the company who owned it and the locations it passed through. Enterprise used to be fantastic in service and normal care for their fleet but they had one or two problem locations who just passed problems along to where-ever the car ended up next. Rent-A-Wreck was also good. But some stories I’ve heard about Avis --------- them I would be a little more serious to examine and have someone else check over as well.

Our 2 current cars are ex-rentals, which we got for the same reason that you’re considering, excellent pricing for a comparatively new car.
One of them (Toyota Sienna) we got through the Toyota dealership and have had no problems with it. It’s 10 years old now and is up to 115,000 miles. The other one, Kia Soul, we got in 2016 through Hertz, a 2016 model, and again have had no problems.
A friend who’s a service manager at a car dealership told us not to buy ex-rentals because according to him rental drivers abuse the vehicles. But if the cars we bought were abused, it wasn’t bad enough to have a lasting effect.

My recently dear departed 2007 Mustang (it got totaled earlier this year) was a formal rental, however, there were no accidents on its CarFax - or the equivalent (I bought it in 2008). It was the best car I ever owned and I miss it terribly. If I hadn’t been cracked into, I could have kept that car going another few years at least.

I would have immediately asked if, when he had a rental car, he abused it.

I know that I don’t abuse my rental cars. Why would I? I’m either on vacation or on business and either way, I don’t need the hassle of dealing with a car I wrecked.

My buddy just bought an ex-Hertz vehicle 2 days ago. His mechanic said it was in great shape. So far, he’s happy with it and with the price he paid.

It may or may not be an issue for you but the rental companies typically buy the very base trim level so make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

I bought a used Ford Expedition from Enterprise. No complaints and we saved a ton of money.

I’ve have a used rental vehicle that I bought almost 2 years ago, and I’ve had absolutely no trouble with it.

This wasn’t the case for the vehicles we bought. For the Sienna, base trim model is CX and the car we bought is an LX, one step above base. Same for the Kia Soul, we bought a Soul ! which isn’t the base trim. Also, the year before we bought the Sienna, we rented one from Hertz which was the LXE, deluxe model with automatic doors and leather seats.

Got my 2018 Rogue LV from Hertz for under $16,000, no problems, great warrantee, and wonderful service.

This one has a higher trim level than most, but we just realized, unfortunately, it doesn’t have a sunroof. The panoramic roof is kind of a big deal for us, now that we’ve had one already.
I’m seriously considering it but I don’t think I can convince my hubby to go along with it.
He’s also concerned about the “small collision” with “minimal damage.”

We’ve always been really nice to our rental cars out of fear, but they just ain’t raising kids like us anymore.

I know two people who worked for rental companies and both of them have given me the same advice. DON’T:eek::eek::eek:

I’ve known a couple of drivers who did abuse their rental cars, and I did once rent a car that was not one, but two quarts low on oil. But given the millions of former rental cars, I can’t really believe the odds are much worse than with any other used car.

OK, time to fess up. I am the American Jeremy Clarkson when it comes to rental cars. My family would claim that the fastest car EVER in the Wyoming Valley was the Toyota with paddle-shifters I had when I came in for Aunt Sheb’s funeral. Would you like full mechanical and collision coverage with that? Yes; yes I would.

But how long am I going to have a particular car? A couple days? And how much is my gear-heading going to do to it in those few days? I would more worry about some lease vehicles than I would the average rental. Personally I would have no issues with buying a rental. I would check it over and have it checked as well but going back to what I said before, especially from most major companies, I think it would be a fine choice.

This story from 1978(?) made 16 year old me laugh like hell .

How to Drive Fast on Drugs
While Getting Your
Wing-Wang Squeezed
Not Spill Your Drink

Relevant quote. " You have to get a car that handles really well. This is extremely important, and there’s a lot of debate on this subject – about what kind of car handles best. Some say a front-engined car; some say a rear-engined car. I say a rented car. Nothing handles better than a rented car. You can go faster, turn corners sharper, and put the transmission into reverse while going forward at a higher rate of speed in a rented car than in any other kind."

I admit I drive the fuck out of rental cars and probably abuse them, that said I’m hard on the cars I’ve owned as well, if there is a problem I’ll probably bring it to the surface mighty quick.

That said when I have a rental car I guess I drive it hard cause I like seeing what different cars are capable of, and I usually don’t have them that long.

I bought (many years ago, now) what turned out to be an ex-rental Ford that had been in an accident and repaired. It was the only way I could have afforded a car that new. It served me well, though the geometry was off somewhat and caused uneven tyre wear throughout its life.

On a motorcycle trip with my cousin, he crashed. While his bike was being repaired, we parked my bike and continued the trip in a rental car. One day, something happened. Not really an accident, more of an incident. Afterwards, we checked the car out. It looked and drove flawlessly, so we decided it was undamaged. We decided not to report the incident when we returned the car, but that we would honestly answer if the rental agent happened to ask, “Was the car flown at any time?” They didn’t ask.

It really varies. Some are plums and some are lemons. You really have to thoroughly get them checked.

One car I hope no one gets stuck with: we rode around a bit last month in a rental from Budget. There were stickers spanning all the doors warning that the side impact air bags were not functional. So presumably an accident. But the stickers had been cut through so the car could be rented. The transmission was having obvious problems. Then a tire went flat. The company’s “help” line was crazy. They wanted to know the zip code the car was in. How are you supposed to know that??? They were told the intersection and city, but the CSR couldn’t look up the zip from that and so the call couldn’t proceed. Like I said, crazy.

Then there was the Alamo I rented decades ago. The right rear door would sometimes fling open during a left turn. :eek: That whole experience put me off Alamo for life.

But then there are ones I’ve driven where I could tell that all was a-okay and would make a great used car for someone to buy.

Do you remember which company you rented it from?

My last car before my present one was a Mazda 626 that I bought from, IIRC, Enterprise with ~10,000 miles on it. We kept that car for 12 years and, IIRC, ~165,000 miles. We traded it for our present ride because the POS FORD transmission* went belly up. We got it repaired and traded it.

*At that time ford had a financial interest in Mazda.