A second act isn’t just for retirees and race horses. As it turns out, cars that were previously enlisted as rentals have a whole new career ahead of them in the hands of private owners. In fact, throughout the year car-rental companies offer up selections from their fleets for sale to the public. Buying a former rental car has several advantages. For starters, the buyer knows where the car come from. It’s more likely that the car has been adequately maintained. Maintenance records are more readily available. And, there’s a possibility that the manufacturer’s warranty period will still have some time remaining. Another attractive factor for buying a rental car is price. Car-rental companies procure their vehicles in volume at bare-minimum cost, which enables them to resell each vehicle at a very competitive price. Vehicles that Avis sells, for instance, are priced below market value — so much so, that customers can enjoy a great, no-haggle buying experience and get a great deal in the process. Overall, a rental car is a solid alternative to purchasing a used car from a private party or dealership. Consider buying a former rental car with these benefits in mind:
Rental companies understand that scrapes, scratches, dings and worn tires are a downside for most potential buyers. Before listing the car for sale, the company will give the car a good detailing, attend to its paint, ensure the interior is clean and fresh, and have mats and carpets professionally cleaned. Vehicles of less than a year old and having less than 20,000 miles are available from many rental car companies. Most of the retired vehicles that Avis sells, for instance, can be purchased with as few as 15,000 miles — and no more than 45,000 miles.
Usually the biggest concern for most car buyers when considering a former rental is how the car was driven. While there are details about a rental car’s past that go unbeknownst to car-rental companies, like how loud the last driver blasted AC/DC’s “Thunderstuck” over the stock speaker system, everything about the car is documented and maintained. In short, the cars are in top shape. Car-rental companies are diligent about tire rotations, oil changes, filter replacements and other basic services — with technology ensuring that critical maintenance and recall issues are addressed. Compared to private owners, car-rental companies are more consistent when it comes to maintaining their vehicles — having the work performed by an original equipment manufacturer dealership or their own team of in-house mechanics. After all, having poorly maintained vehicles on the road isn’t in their best interest as a business.
Even on former rental cars, the manufacturer’s original warranty and bumper-to-bumper warranties will likely carry over. It all depends upon a car’s age and mileage. Typical auto manufacturer warranties cover repairs and defects for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. If still in effect when you buy the car, the warranty will transfer to you. Companies such as Avis include additional protection. The company’s “Premium Assured Limited Warranty” comes with an Avis vehicle purchase and provides six months or 6,000 miles of mechanical breakdown coverage as well as a full year of 24-hour/365-day Emergency Roadside Assistance.
Because Car-rental companies offer a variety of vehicles, there’s lots of choices to be had in purchasing a former rental car. Whatever style of vehicle you seek — from SUV to compact — you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. Companies like Avis are stocked with a massive inventory of former rental cars. So not only will it be easy to find the make and model you’re looking for, but probably even the color and options you prefer. As with any used-car purchase, do your homework.