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When you walk through a Car Dealership Sales Lot, you will often see “former daily rentals” advertised. These are the retired vehicles that rental agencies used to rent out to their customers for short periods of time. Like any vehicle purchase, there are pro’s and cons to consider. Here are some of the pitfalls to think about when researching a “former daily rental”:

  1. Don’t assume rental cars are cheaper than any other used vehicle. Comparison shop carefully. Keep in mind: advertised prices are usually “no-haggle” specials, meaning you pay the sticker price, take it or leave it.
  2. Model selection is somewhat limited and rental companies tend to feature two or three brands. While many firms favour domestic vehicles for their heavily discounted fleet pricing, it’s not hard to find some import brands for sale today.
  3. Most rental vehicles offer basic trim packages (sometimes unique to rental fleets), so if you’re looking for cars and trucks loaded with lots of options, you probably won’t find them here.
  4. Buyers have to put up with a fair amount of aesthetic blemishes, such as unsightly paint scratches, door dings and interior scuffs and scratches on plastic panels. Upholstery and carpets may have stubborn stains that may or may not come out during detailing or shampooing. It’s really no different than any other used vehicle, though an agency car may not get the same degree of reconditioning that a new-car dealer’s used inventory might get. Then again, buying a pre-dented car means no tears when you suffer your first parking lot ding.
  5. Finally, you have to deal with the disquieting reality that while a rental vehicle has had a single owner, the rental agency, it’s been driven by hundreds of motorists with all abilities and temperaments. Keep in mind new technologies such as GPS tracking and black-box data recorders have mitigated bad behaviours, so abusive renters are increasingly being made to pay for their discretions.

Treat a rental car like any other used-vehicle purchase by doing your homework, shopping for the best price, and getting a mechanical inspection done. You may very well end up with a great vehicle. Just resist the temptation to enter any demolition derbies.