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Buying cars from rental agencies

I stopped to avoid a red light photo and got rear ended. My beloved 05 Prius is totaled and I really need to get another car to continue my courier job.

Would it be prudent to buy from a rental company?

Do you want another Prius? I believe that some rental companies are renting them now. You might find one that they are selling now. You will find more non-hybrid cars on the lot, and they are typically the less popular cars, since the rental companies can get the best deals on them from the manufacturers. You will also get the best deal on that car. I think that the cars are maintained well if you buy from one of the major rental companies, and most business customers do not abuse the cars. I do know a couple of guys that are very (very) hard on rentals. But they are in the minority. See if they have maintenance and repair records for the cars.

It is worth a look. Some rental cars are fine, and others get run hard. If you find one you like, it is worth the money for a mechanic to do a pre-purchase inspection of the car. Rental companies do their own body work so “CarFax” other similar reports won’t show the true history of the car. That’s why an inspection by your mechanic is important.

Where ever you buy from, make sure you have the car thoroughly inspected by am independent mechanic before you buy. I am amazed by how many bring in cars where I work and say I just bought this car and I say, you need $1500 worth of work.

Today, most rentals are a safe bet. Just be sure you know what you are buying…Also be aware that when YOU sell it, and the buyer runs a carfax report on it, it will show it was a rental which may mean diminished value to you if you trade it in…Avoid performance cars that some companies rent. You KNOW these have had the snot run out of them…

I used to drive cars for a major rental company. I would never even consider buying one that they owned and rented out.

There have been several long threads on this topic. Many contributors replied with either their personal experience or their professional experience with rental cars.

While there are pitfalls with any buying experience, the prevailing thinking was that they are a safe bet. But that didn’t absolve the buyer from doing due-diligence (get the car inspected by an independent mechanic,…)

Can’t be that much more of a risk than buying an off-lease vehicle

I bought an 03 taurus from enterprise. It has been fine. 100k of my own miles on it and no surprise. A good eye can look over the body and undercarriage. Check the mechanicals and so forth. I did so on my own but I have worked my own cars for 30 years.
Carfax can help if it was a multicar accident but not a single non property damage issue. It also lets you know if the car was totaled at the scene but rebuilt in most states. Frankly most rental cars get driven pretty well by boring people who just want to get some where and back to the airport. And they don’t want to pay for any damage. Rental companies turn over their fleets for many reasons. One is cost. Often it can cost more to maintain a car than replace it with a new model under warranty. That way they do not need many mechanics waiting for work other than oil and tire changes.

My daily driver for the past close to 4 years and 50,000 miles has been a former rental from Enterprise. I think you’ll be fine, although, as jtsanders alludes to, it might not be easy finding the most desirable makes and models of cars, since rental companies get their cars cheap.

IMHO buying from a rental car agency is a far better bet than buying through any other used car venue. Used cars from other sources, including used car dealers, are too often for sale because there was some problem with them. It becomes your problem when you buy the car. Rental car agencies, on the other hand, generally get rid of their vehicles in order to keep their fleet current. They need new cars to stay competative. I have no data to back me, but I’ll bet that the overwhelming majority of cars being sold by rental companies have absolutely nothing wrong with them. That’s exactly the opposite scenerio of used cars from other sources.

Many dealers sell cars that came from rental fleets. I bought a 1988 Ford Taurus in the fall of 1988 from a local Ford dealer that came from a rental fleet. We had good experience with this car. I bought a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander from the Chevrolet dealer in 2006 that was called a ‘program’ car. I suppose it could have been a rental. It ran very well. I sold it to my son this past March and he really likes the Uplander.

I suppose that a rental car in its time of service may have had one driver that may have pushed the car a little hard. However, a one owner car may have had an owner that drove the car hard all the time.

Bought a 1 year old Olds Alero in 2000 from Enterprise. Still going great. They promised they made sure the car was good when they sold it to us and I guess that proves that their service on their cars is good. Just check the BBB web site for the company you are going to buy from.

Most sedans are rented to adults who use them for business or while their car is in the shop, etc. Certainly there is a chance that 4 boys from a frat house took any car out for a weekend of fun but a family owned sedan could have suffered the same abuse. Just look for Ferris Bueler(sp) on the Carfax.

I would rather have purchased a rental car than a one owner car from the parents of some of my teen age friends when I was in high school.

Did rental cars exist when you were in high school?

Oh,yes. You could rent a Brush, Maxwell, Baker Electric or if you really wanted luxury, you rented a Cole 8.

Just joking, Triedaq. I’m about your age, too. I remember “let Hertz put you in the driver’s seat” ads when I was a kid. I was surprised to see that Hertz has been in business since about 1918! That would be about right for the cars you mentioned.

1918 was just a little before my time. I do remember my mother talking about a wealthy family in the small Illinois town where she grew up having a Cole 8. My dad with three other musicians toured the country in a Graham-Paige that I think was made sometime in the 1920’s. I’ve only seen pictures of the car. I still think of a car as almost new as long as it was made after WW II.

Not if my husband has ever rented from them! He always says he’d never buy a rental because they’re often abused. I, on the other hand, see no purpose in jack-rabbit starts or squealing stops. So it seems to me that it depends upon who drove it, and of course you can’t know that. So play it safe and don’t buy a used rental. - Teresa in Oregon