2009 Hyundai Elantra - Rent vs. use one's own

Hello Ray,
Please settle an argument that my friend and I are having.
He likes to rent a car for driving to see his family 350 miles away. He claims that it reduces the wear on the automobile he already owns.
I say that the wear and tear are negligible since it is highway driving and the cost of renting the car costs more than the wear and tear on his car.
Since he already owns the car and pays the insurance and the gasoline use would be about the same, will the value of the wear and tear amount to more than the rental costs?
David Leonard Fairfax, Ca.

Ray is not here but I’ll answer. Others will likely follow.

Yes renting a car does reduce the wear and tear on the car but… You are correct, the amount is negligible and the cost is far more to rent than the wear and tear avoided.

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The only good reason to do it would be if you are afraid of the reliability of your car.


Um, you might want to edit out your name. At any rate renting will likely cost somewhere around 20-30 cents a mile plus gas. Putting an extra 700 miles on a used car is not likely to reduce its value by the same amount. You can do the calculation by putting it in the Blue Book site or similar and change the mileage to see the difference in value. But yeah the real value is in not having to be concerned with a reliability problem. Then the question is, why does this bother you?

If all your mileage is just around town then taking an extended highway trip is the best thing you can do for a car. Stick some Techron in the gas tank and go .

Vipergg , why give Mr. Mustangman advice ? He is one the very knowledgeable members here .
The question is about renting a vehicle instead of using your own to reduce wear and tear.

We’d have to know the rental rate to say for sure. In the absence of that information, I’d say that you’re likely correct. Your friend should keep in mind that in general the rental rate is going to be priced to cover not only the depreciation on that car but also all of the other business expenses of the rental car company, so that’s probably higher than the depreciation that he’d incur.

On the other hand, I’ll point out that your friend’s approach gives him a good chance to try out other cars so that he can be more informed when making his next car purchase. I know that I’ve formed some likes and dislikes based on the business rentals that I’ve had.

FYI, @vipergg If you hit “Reply” at the bottom of the page, you are replying to everyone. Clicking reply under my comment replies to me, but everyone can still see it. It can confuse who the comment is directed to.

350 miles aka one tank of gas? I’m using my own vehicle! Now since both of my vehicles are over 170K miles, if I was going on a trip that was approaching 750 miles or more I’d consider a rental with unlimited miles, especially since my newest car is 10 years old!

Think about it this way- don’t you think the rental company has already taken this into account? Since they also have to add PROFIT to the cost of renting in addition to the same costs you have on your car (maintenance, depreciation and wear and tear), how could it ever be cheaper to rent a car than use your own?

Like I said before, the rentals buy cars with such a discount that they end up selling them for about what they paid, so they got a free car. Then of course they are all under warranty so there are no repair costs. So really all they have is the maintenance and administrative costs to cover and the rest is gravy. A slump in the used car market, lots of cars coming off lease, and so on can have a big impact on their profitability though.