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Renting a car

I have never rented a car before and am thinking about it for a trip this summer where I will put on close to one thousand miles on a car. I have done this trip many times in my everyday car. Last summer, the car overheated due to the thermostat and a leaky cap on the container that holds the anti freeze. I was able to get home wit the car but since then my family keeps telling me that I am crazy to ever take the car on a long trip again. The car is a 1997 Ford Thunderbird with a V8 engine. It has almost 180,000 miles. Maintenance has been done regularly on this car. The body is not in perfect shape but the car runs good and I still love driving it. The car still also has original engine and transmission. What I am thinking about is if I should use my car or rent a car? Am I cheating on my car if I do not take it on long trip like I always do. Is the extra driving doing damage to the car that everyday driving would not do? I am not sure what best thing to do is? I believe that my car is still in good shape and I feel very comfortable driving it on this trip but I am not a mechanic, so I do not know what is best. Any thoughts that anyone on here has would be much welcomed

I would not let the age of the car scare me off. However, if you cannot get a mechanic to go over the car and prepare it for a 1000 miles trip, renting may be preferable.

Looking at it another way, renting a car for 2 weeks might cost you about $1000 or so.

Spending that money on your car to make it reliable might be a better investment.

I once took the family on a 7000 miles trip around North America in a 1966 Buick station wagon, 10 years old at that time. Only replaced one spark plug wire and the car behaved well while pulling a camper trailer.

It all comes back on what shape the car is really in based on past maintenance and your ability to cope with problems on the road.

We travel a lot but always with credit cards, AAA membership and working cell phones. Even a rental car can have breakdowns.

I Own 7 Cars. The Only Way I’d Take A driving Vacation Of A Round-Trip Distance Exceeding 500 Miles Is In A Rental Car.

I will be renting a car in a week and driving it 3,000 miles during a week long vacation. I’ve done this many times and have never regretted it. For whatever reason, break-down, accident, whatever, I don’t want to ruin my vacation screwing around with getting my car repaired and possibly going back to retrieve it. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage and go for it.


thank you both for your advice

“Looking at it another way, renting a car for 2 weeks might cost you about $1000 or so.”

$1,000? That’s Way Off! One Can Do A Lot Better Than That.

“Even a rental car can have breakdowns.”
Ask the rental car company about this. I did. “We’ll dispatch somebody to get you going. If that doesn’t work, we’ll send another car.”

You can spend whatever you’d like on an older car and you won’t make it new again.


I don’t hesitate to take my vehicles on road trips no matter the mileage. I keep up all the maintenance so I have confidence in them. I took my Saturn with 268k miles on it on a 7k road trip two years ago.

I had a breakdown in a rental car about 20 years ago. The rental company sent someone to pick me up and take me to the airport, the they took care of the broken down car after I left.

I drive my own cars, whenever possible

If I’m flying somewhere, then I’m obviously not driving my own car, when I arrive at my destination

While I will drive my own car instead of renting, they’re not nearly as old, and haven’t had an overheating problem. In your situation I would probably rent.

I say rent. I’ve almost always rented a car for long trips, especially vacation trips. Why put all those miles on my own car? And my own car is older than a rental – rentals are typically 0 to 3 years old – so I’m less likely to experience car trouble with a rental. And car trouble is exactly what I don’t want while on vacation, where time for fun and enjoyment is precious.

Over the years I’ve rented from various places and vendors, but seem to have settled based on price and convenience on Avis or Hertz, rented at a local Sears store in a suburban area, not the airport. I’ve rented by the week or month, and it’s always worked out well for me convenience and price-wise.

Edit: I’ve been able to save considerable $$$ by reserving my car well in advance, like 6-8 weeks.

"I’ve rented by the week or month, and it’s always worked out well for me convenience and price-wise. "

I believe my major car insurance company only covers rented cars for 2 weeks at a time, maximum. Also, I believe they only cover 50 miles into Canada and zero miles into Mexico. That is something to consider. I hate surprises, unless they’re pleasant ones.

Be careful who you rent from. Not all rental cars would be problem free for a long trip.

I rented a Budget car on a trip that failed a front wheel bearing while I was 3 hours from the airport. They promptly delivered another car that also had a bearing noise but from the rear. Both cars had nearly identical 32,000 miles since they likely were shuffled over from parent company, Avis’ fleet. The car was rented from Detroit Metro Airport so they likely led a hard life.

You have to use a credit card to rent a car, you might as well use one that gives you free rental car insurance.

Driving 3000 miles in a week seems more like work than a vacation to me.

I didn’t realize auto insurance companies have a limit on how long they’ll cover you when renting a car. That’s good to know, thanks.

Possibly useful info, from Budget Rent-A-Car site:

Can someone else drive a car that I rent?

Answer: Yes. An additional driver must be at least 25 years of age. Budget will check the additional drivers’ license to ensure that it is valid. Budget will be unable to allow an additional driver if the driving history reveals any of the following issues:

–invalid, suspended or revoked license
–one or more convictions for reckless driving within 36 months
–one DUI, DWI or DWAI conviction within 48 months
–failure to report an accident/leaving the scene of accident within 36 months
–possession of stolen vehicle or use of a vehicle in a crime
–expired license
–three or more convictions for moving violations within 24 months (including seatbelt violations)
–three or more accidents within 36 months
–other activities that suggest an unsatisfactory driving record.

Add drivers to your rental at the counter when you pick up your car. Drivers must be present with their required credentials to be added.

I frequently rent a car for a long mileage trip. I get them through the Costco website, which finds very good rates and has a standard deal with the rental companies that your “domestic partner” can be a second driver with no extra fees or fuss. One thing I have discovered is to rent the car 8 weeks early, and then check the rates every week or so. Often you will see the rate drop by 40% or more, and when they do just rent it again and then cancel the first reservation. Renting off airport can often be MUCH cheaper, depending on the airport’s fee structure.

“You have to use a credit card to rent a car, you might as well use one that gives you free rental car insurance.”
"Driving 3000 miles in a week seems more like work than a vacation to me. "

@oldtimer 11
I consider a “week” to be 2 weekends and (M-F) 5 week days in between. I have always found driving easy. Put me in a car and I can drive safely for a very long time. I tune into driving, but usually tune out of everything else, including navigation sometimes. My wife and daughter are good at riding and taking naps (not that great on navigation), so it works well for us. 3000 miles/2 = 1500 miles. I drive about 750 miles or more, we spend a short motel rest and drive 750 more miles or less. After a 5 day beach vacation the process repeats. I’ll get something roomy and comfortable to drive.

Thanks for reminding me. It’s on my to do list. I’m calling the major credit card company today to get details. I think we have one of the better ones for LDW coverage.

I disagree with renting a car. You already HAVE a car. Use it–that’s what it’s there for!

From the doom and gloom about breakdowns, you’d think he was planning “the Haul” to Point Barrow Alaska…or possibly re-tracing Lindbergh’s flight in a Cessna. An unplanned breakdown is really not a big deal: you pay the man and get it sorted, likely within a day. (I’ll gladly revise my opinion if he is, indeed, traveling somewhere desolate enough where a breakdown could be lethal.)

I Have Cars, But Not For Taking 1,500 Miles From Home. That’s What Rentals Are For. I Don’t Particularly Care Whether Others Agree With This Or Not. I Say Do What Floats Your Boat.

for A Couple Hundred Bucks, Keeping 3,000 Miles Off My Car, And Peace Of Mind Are A Good Deal To Me. I Have Never Regretted Renting A Car For A Vacation, Ever.
Besides, I’m Shopping For A New Car And I’ll Have A Chance To Check One Out.

When I travel I Rent Hotel Rooms, Too. I Could Take A Motor Home Or Camping Trailer, But Prefer To Rent Luxury Accommodations On The Beach And Have Some Amenities And Peace Of Mind. I Have Never Regretted That Decision. I’m Returning To The Same Hotel As Last Year.