Buying a Certified car that was a rental?



We are thinking of buying a Certified used car that was a rental. There are several HHR’s available at a great price with under 20K miles. Should we still have it inspected even though it is certified? Any suggestions?


Yup. It’s cheap insurance against the unforeseeable.

By the way, we’ve had long threads debating the wisdom of purchasing former lease and rental cars. We don’t all agree, but I personally think they’re a far better risk than a typical used car. Rental and lease vehicles are replaced routinely in order to keep the fleet current rather than because there’s a problem with them. I’d wager that the large majority of them on the market have absolutely nothing wrong with them.


Lots of former rental cars make their way to dealership lots, and some probably aren’t even told they were former rentals.


As we don’t have a regular mechanic, any suggestions on how to find one to do an inspection?


My current ride is a rental. My understanding is, the rental companies sell their best cars themselves, and send the rest to the dealerships or auction, so you might buy directly from a rental car company. Enterprise, for example, has a one year warranty on all the cars it sells.



Some rental cars are abused, but most are not. I’ve rarely had one that was the worse for wear.


“Certified”, when applied to used cars, means NOTHING…But the Chevy HHR is a pretty cool vehicle and at under 20K miles, you can’t go too far wrong. Take an auto-savy friend to the lot and have them look it over for you.


Your dilluting the meaning of certified. A rental car would never be a candidate for a true Certified Pre-Owned program, they are excluded. You are dealing with a Dealer who is preying upon the Publics misinformation regarding what a CPO car is.

This is just a local Dealer making use of the word certified and hoping that the Public’s just “so so” knowledge about CPO cars works in his favor.

Or you can explain what this Dealer means when he says "Certified"Does it meet these qualifications?


Talk is cheap, and “Certified” is just talk. It means what ever the dealer wants it to mean…It’s like “Tune-Up”…It’s means it’s “certified” to be a used car…


It it is part of the GM Certified Used program, you probably are OK. Here are some details about the program:

If it is not part of this program, I would not pay more than for any equivalent car on a dealer’s used car lot. And I would have it checked by a competent mechanic.


Don’t know whether certified means much, check the fine print. Each company makes their own rules, and changes them from time to time. I currently have a former rental 03 taurus. I checked the carfax on the car and there were no unusual title changes and it was not a salvage. It had never been titled out side the state it was sold new(conn.). Be wary of cars titled through some states like KY. Some states create a new car title for a salvage car. For me, 78K later my car is still a good car. Just normal maintiance. I would buy another car from enterprise car rental.
I did my own preinspection but you should have someone you trust look at it. Look at other cars at other lots as well. DO NOT BUY the extended warranty. It is not worth it.


I tend to agree with others that “cerified” can mean nothing but hype, however it depends on the place. We have a lot in Manchester that’s affiliated with the new car dealership chain (multifranchise) that sold only the prime tradeins. Before even entering into an agreement they would (upon request) provide a commplete printout of everything that was checked, what the findings were (right down to tread measurements), everything that was fixed, and averything that was done. Then they’d provide a bumper to bumper warranty. I assisted a friend in buying a car there and it was quite impressive. I don’t know if it’s still this way…the entire set of franchises with which it’s affiliated has changed hands a few times since then.


In many CPO programs the manufacture is involved in setting standards as to which cars are allowed in the program, CPO programs are not Dealer regulated.

We have bounced this issue around more than once if I recall correctly.

I notice only two (2) reads of my download, information is a cure for ignorance.


Check out mechanics files on car talk home page bottom right. Put in your zip code and you should get some results. Asking friends and family can also work.

This may be time to start cultivating a relationship with a good independent mechanic, particularly if you are staying in one area for a long period of time. Once you become a regular customer, they will generally take good care of you and when you have a minor problem that is easily diagnosed or fixed, many will not charge for their time while chain shops and dealers will charge you for abot every minute they use to do the same diagnosis.


When I said certified I was refering to a GM Certified vehicle. The certification adds a 12 month/12000 warranty onto the car and service is available at any GM dealer. I realize that a dealer just calling a vehicle certified means nothing. There are cars listed by GM website as certified that state they were rental cars on the Carfax report.


I read your additional post the this is a GM Certified car. It seems OK to me, if you feel the price is a good deal.

I think most folks who rent a car like the HHR aren’t likely to take it to the drag strip or race around town. Most rental agencies follow at least the mfg recommended maintenance. If you can confirm the car was maintained properly, sometimes the seller has records since it is not likely posted to the carfax report, then it should be fine for you.

I recommend an independent mechanic inspection. Rental companies do their own accident repair bodywork and don’t report such to carfax. Make sure the inspector is on the look out for signs of accident repair.


They do their own repair true, but if they ding my insurance for a few grand it will show up on carfax(in theory). They cant really hide a major rebuild or a totaled car in most states unless the renter paid cash to fix the car. The dings and scratches dont count.


I bought and still have a previous rental car; an '04 T’bird purchased in Oct. of '05 with just under 24K miles. I got a good price from dealer (about $23K) and I’m happy with the car and the deal. There was evidence of some accident repair on my T’bird; overspray in the front passenger wheel well. Bought it anyway as the price reflected the true condition of the car.


Now that I know that it is a GM Certified Used car, no, I would not have anyone else look it over. You are paying extra for certification already, and you get 12,000 miles to find any gremlins.


It says on the title who the former owner was Enterprise/Hertz, etc.