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Buying a rental car: What you need to know Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make better financial choices by offering interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content. This allows you to conduct research and analyze information without cost, so that you can make your financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers, including but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The offers that appear on this site come from companies who pay us. This compensation can affect the way and when products are featured on the site, such as such things as the order in which they may appear within the listing categories in the event that they are not permitted by law. This applies to our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other home lending products. But this compensation does have no impact on the information we provide, or the reviews appear on this website. We do not contain the vast array of companies or financial offerings that could be open to you. Share: BraunS/Getty Images

3 min read . Published March 02, 2023.

Authored by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers with the ways and pitfalls of borrowing money to purchase cars. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances through providing concise, well-researched and detailed information that breaks down otherwise complicated subjects into digestible pieces. The Bankrate guarantee

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There are money-related questions. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your finances for more than four decades. We are constantly striving to give our customers the right advice and tools needed to succeed throughout life’s financial journey. Bankrate adheres to a strict code of conduct , so you can trust that our content is honest and precise. Our award-winning editors and journalists create honest and accurate content to help you make the best financial decisions. Our content produced by our editorial team is factual, accurate and uninfluenced through our sponsors. We’re open about the ways we’re in a position to provide quality information, competitive rates and helpful tools to you by explaining how we earn money. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for the placement of sponsored products and services, or when you click on specific links on our website. So, this compensation can influence the manner, place and in what order the products are listed within categories, except where it is prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home loan products. Other factors, like our own rules for our website and whether a product is available in your region or within your personal credit score can also impact the way and place products are listed on this website. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit products or services. A majority of people only use renting a car during trips or vacations -and for a lot of people it is also an option to acquire a vehicle of their own. While rental cars go through several drivers, they typically come with extensive maintenance records and an affordable price. However, before you leave the lot in one of these vehicles there are a few aspects to take into consideration. How to buy a rental car Just as would you buy any other used or new vehicle, buying a rental needs some preparation ahead of time. Budget Know how much you can afford and the financing options that will best suit your budget. Since rental cars are used vehicles, there are plenty of financing options available. Rates averaged a rate at 10.26 percent during the 4th quarter in 2022 according to data from . However, keep in mind that the is much more than just the price that you see advertised online. Check websites like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book (KBB). Both offer breakdowns of the expected repairs and maintenance costs for a wide variety of vehicles. Find a car to compare The best sources to research rental cars for sale include Enterprise, Avis and Hertz. Simply go to their websites and check out the available cars in your local area. Also, Edmunds and KBB can be useful guides. They will show you the an average price in your area for the vehicles you’re looking at. This way, you’ll ensure that the used car dealer offers a great deal. And because rental cars have greater wear and tear, see whether you can get a price lower than the norm to offset higher maintenance costs down the road. Prequalify Once you have an idea of a car Apply for pre-approved financing. Although many rental companies will provide financing options of their own, it’s always smart to so you are sure you’re getting the best price. Being prequalified also lets you plan your budget more precisely. Once you have a clear idea of what you are able to afford to purchase — and also know your monthly budget will be, you are able to shop for just the right fit for your budget. Inspect the vehicle Try a test drive, and see the car in person if possible and then look up the car’s history report. This report will give you an insight into any damage incurred in the past, and previous ownership as well as information about the car’s hood. Because rental cars see lots of drivers, they rack up some miles. It is normal for the odometer to be high even with relatively new vehicles, so when you purchase. Along with the vehicle history report, this will give you an accurate picture of the amount of time it was driven during its rental period. Also inquire if the car is covered by a warranty comes with a manufacturer’s guarantee, and you might be able to get additional protections from the rental company. It could be a good option even if the vehicle is still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Extended warranties cover more common maintenance and repairs. But they are an extra cost, so ensure you know what it covers and if it makes sense prior to signing up. Are rental cars a good thing to purchase? Similar to most things when it comes to purchasing a car, you should fully consider the financial impact and the fit for your lifestyle. Although rental cars are a bit of a bad name but there’s no guarantee the car you purchase isn’t abused in the same way unless you personally know its past. Benefits of purchasing a rental car Rental cars may be viewed as a negative however, there are some reasons why they could be a good fit for you. Warranty: Most rental cars come with a warranty that lasts for about a yearincluding cars that no longer qualify for the original manufacturer’s warranty. Buy-back policies: Rental car chains may offer an option to buy back the car when you make a change of mind immediately after you have purchased. Vehicles that are well-maintained The company that rents the car should have had the car well-maintained and cleaned after every driver. Even with the more wear and tear on your potential car it’s been checked up on much higher than the typical used car. These features can provide some extra security that may not be found in used vehicles elsewhere. Pros and cons of renting a car Despite having quite a few benefits, there’s also negatives associated with using renting a car. A high mileage: Drivers who are frequent and long trips may outweigh frequent maintenance. Renters who have a high mileage could mean more trouble or a shorter lifespan for your car. Limited options: Along with this, renting a car is a lot more restricted in stock available to choose from. If the rental car provider does not have the vehicle you want in stock You’re out of luck. Basic specifications: The vehicles that are available don’t come with all of the features that drivers want. A lot of them are basic and will not have the luxury features other used vehicles might include. The bottom line If you choose to use a second hand rental car, you should do your research on typical vehicle costs, check a car history report and look over the fine print at rental vehicle websites -Many offer discounts or buy-back offers. Also, like any used car, getting the car inspected through an experienced mechanic will provide you with security. Find out more


Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She is a specialist in helping readers to navigate the ways and pitfalls of borrowing money to buy cars. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain confidence to manage their finances by providing clear, well-researched facts that break down otherwise complex topics into manageable bites.

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