You Can Buy That Rental: Tip-of-the-Day #270

I remember someone telling me a few years back that I should explore rental car returns for my next auto purchase. I can't remember why I didn't end up doing it. Sheer laziness, most likely. Then, last night I saw an Enterprise commercial on TV that reminded me about this not-often-thought-about technique to getting into the car you want at a really great price.

So I started diggin around online, and sure enough there's been a bit of research that supports peoples general satisfaction around buying used rental cars. Obviously, like buying any used vehicle, if you find a car you're interested in buying, take it to a mechanic and have it inspected. It may look great, but you'll want to confirm there isn't anything wrong under the hood. Once you get a clean bill of health there, ask the rental car company if you can test drive it for the day (not just 20 mins). It's no skin off their back and it gives you the opportunity to give it a good drive and get a feel for it.

Some bennies of buying a rental car:
  1. They are well maintained. While in service they go through regular checkups and service maintenance, and in the case of Enterprise, vehicles move from the rental fleet to the sales lots when they are one- to two-years old and have between 15,000 and 30,000 miles. That's not much time on the road.
  2. Cars are inspected by an independent, certified tech before being put up for sale. 
  3. The price is right. These rental cars are often priced less than comparable models sold at a dealership or through a private party. That inventory is constantly accumulating and needs to move.
  4. You can find luxury cars among their fleet, not just the low-budge, run-of-the-mill rides you and I tend to rent when we go to Vegas for the weekend.
Just a reminder to do a little research when buying your next car because you may end up saving a lot of money and getting a great ride too.