Under the Hood: Should I Buy a Rental Car?

Under the Hood: Should I Buy a Rental Car?

The “redneck” comedian Jeff Foxworthy used to joke about how safe of a driver his grandmother was, but as soon as she got behind the wheel of a rental car, all bets were off. It’s a commonly held belief that motorists abuse borrowed vehicles, taking out pent-up aggression on hired Impalas from Hertz. When it comes to buying a used car are second-hand rentals a smart choice, or something to be avoided like a holiday in North Korea?

Abraham, an employee at Fawzi’s Westgate Auto Repair in Southeastern Michigan said “I advise anybody that’s going to buy a used car to get an inspection,” something that typically costs around $50. “It’s going to save them a lot of money,” he said.

Pete DeMiglio, Manager of Tri-Action Auto Repair, another Michigan-based garage agrees. He said “It’s always a good idea to get a used-car inspection from an independent dealer.”

“The main thing is if they’re maintained properly,” said DeMiglio, adding that 100,000 miles is midlife for modern vehicles. Most can roll the odometer many times if they’re properly cared for. Additionally, “It’s always good to see any history records,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Chevrolet to Keep 2014 Impala Off Rental Lots

Despite the negative stigma of buying a used rental car, Enterprise, Hertz and others sell vehicles directly to consumers. To counteract any preconceived notions about these second-hand autos they both offer generous perks including extended warranties. Part of the reason they can do this is that they’re very fastidious about maintenance. Manufacturer-recommended service schedules are followed and warranty issues are addressed promptly.

Before any used vehicles go on sale, “We bring them through a very stringent mechanical and cosmetic inspection,” said Chris Kossmeyer, Vice President of Car sales for Enterprise Car Sales. That includes a 109-point certification. “We also provide a Carfax,” he said.


Enterprise’s rental fleet covers more than 350 makes and models, from basic economy cars to luxury vehicles, not to mention trucks and vans. Kossmeyer said, “People may have thought that they are generic and not well equipped,” but that’s not the case.

LogosThe company sells used cars from 135 dedicated locations across the U.S. The vehicles they offer are typically one to three years old and have low miles. Usually Enterprise has around 6,000 cars and trucks up for sale at any given time, so customers have plenty to choose from. They can shop locally or access a national listing.

“We’re really proud of the selection of vehicles we offer our customers,” said Kossmeyer. “One of the unique value propositions we bring to the table is how we sell cars.”

Aside from the product Enterprise is also focused on the buying experience. Taking some of the stress out of the process, vehicles are offered at very competitive prices that are non-negotiable.

Further sweetening the deal, cars are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile powertrain warranty. “We also provide with each vehicle one year of roadside assistance,” Kossmeyer said. But if that isn’t enough, “We have a seven-day return policy.” As long as they haven’t driven more than 1,000 miles, customers can return or exchange their vehicle for any reason; all they have to do is pay a $200 documentation and cleanup fee.

EnterpriseEnterprise has been selling used vehicles like this for 50 years – basically the whole time they’ve been in business. “Since we’ve been retailing cars, we’ve actually sold in excess of a million vehicles” said Kossmeyer.

And employees can be counted among the ranks of those used-car buyers, including Kossmeyer himself. He’s been with the company for 26 years and purchased so many Enterprise vehicles he’s lost track.

Enterprise may be the largest rental brand in North America but they’re not the only game in town. Hertz is a major player in the business with some 625,000 vehicles in its fleet. Not surprisingly, they also sell used vehicles.

“Our cars are looked at every time they’re returned,” said Paula Rivera, Manager of Public Affairs at The Hertz Corporation. She also said they’re “well maintained” and that “It just makes sense to go to a company that’s always on top of their cars.”

“All of our equipment, especially the diagnostics equipment is state of the art,” Rivera said, noting that all Hertz mechanics are SAE certified. “There really are quite a few advantages in regards to the cars and their maintenance.”

Hertz-Logo“Of course we pride ourselves on the cars we sell to consumers” she said. “We keep our cars in our fleet anywhere from eight to 12 months.”

Just like Enterprise, Hertz offers no-haggle pricing on all of its used vehicles. Rivera said “Oftentimes you’ll see when you look at Kelley Blue Book our prices tend to be lower.” This, she says, is a direct result of buying rental cars in bulk and then passing on the savings to the consumer.

One interesting program Hertz offers is called “Rent2Buy.” Potential customers can actually rent a used vehicle for up to three days. “You can really test out the car,” Rivera said.

This extended test drive gives buyers an opportunity to use the vehicle in their daily lives to see if it’s right for them. If they decide to purchase the car or truck any rental fees are deducted from the price.

Hertz has approximately 60 or 70 brick-and-mortar locations dedicated to selling used cars, but customers can purchase directly from local branch offices.

Daily rental companies offer some unique perks to customers, but when buying any used vehicle look for service records and try to get a third-party inspection. “If they follow the maintenance and they have documentation, yeah it’s a good car” Abraham said, “I would believe it’s a good way to go.”

  • truthseeker55

    Purchased a minivan from a dealer some years ago that was a rental… only had 23,000 miles and gave us a lot of service over a number of years. Price was very cheap.

  • Mr_Underhill

    How did it work out? I am thinking of getting a minivan.

  • Guest

    you might consider a toyota sienna which is what we now have… 26 mpg, sports car handling, incredible acceleration and it seats seven with room for luggage in the back

    also, i use mobil 1 oil extended life (15,000 miles between changes) and a mobil one filter

    better gas mileage, cooler engine, and very little wear on the internal parts

    hope this helps…

  • Guest

    btw, at 100,000 miles the factory replaced defective heads and the mechanic said no wear on the pistons or cam, 100% compression on all cylinders, and i was using only cheap synthetic oil and cheap filters

    synthetic oil is the way to go…

    take care

  • Bill

    Knowing what I do, and everyone else I know, does to rental cars, I’d never buy one. But that’s just me.

  • Rndm1

    Maybe you should expand your social circle to include people who don’t behave like adolescent dicks.

  • jen

    Give me a break….People urinate in these cars…

  • balcobomber25

    And they don’t urinate in normal used cars? No used car is safe from urination.

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked