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Buying Used Rental Cars: Is it a Good Idea?

» Posted June 20, 2018Resources | Share This Post

When you are buying a car, finding the right one can be a major challenge. Even when you buy a brand-new vehicle, you could still experience major unexpected defects and you may need to get help from a Sacramento lemon law firm to pursue an appropriate legal remedy.

Many motorists looking for a reasonably-priced vehicle may be reluctant to buy older or used cars because of the risks that the vehicle may have been maltreated or the risks that the vehicle may have serious and expensive problems. However, buying used cars can often get you a great vehicle at a bargain price if you are smart about the shopping process.

One type of vehicle that car shoppers may come across if they're looking at the used car market is a used rental car. If you are thinking about buying a used vehicle that was used as a rental, Consumer Reports provides some insight into whether this could be a good purchasing decision or a disaster.

Should You Buy a Used Rental Car?

According to Consumer Reports, rental car companies that are trying to offload their own inventory typically provide lower priced vehicles to car buyers than those buyers would pay for a similar make and model that wasn't used as a rental.

One big reason why car rental companies offer discounts is because these companies – and those motorists most likely to buy from them – know that rental cars usually aren't taken care of by drivers as well as cars that people own themselves. The fact that rentals may have been subject to harsher treatment turns some buyers off, as does the fact that rental cars typically have much heavier use than privately-owned vehicles so mileage is higher.

Rental car companies, in order to entice buyers to purchase despite these big downsides, are actually doing much more than just offering a reduced price. In fact, Consumer Reports indicates promotional offers are common, such as Enterprise promotions that give drivers a full seven days to try a car before buying; as well as no-haggle pricing and limited powertrain warranties offered by both Enterprise and Hertz.

Automotive analysts, however, question whether the promotions and protections that car rental companies tend to offer are really worth it.  The Consumer Reports' automotive analyst, for example, urged those considering the purchase of a used rental car to compare the warranty, price, and potential product condition with other new and used cars from manufacturers that are selling similar vehicles. The manufacturers may sometimes offer more competitive pricing for vehicles that are newer and that have less mileage on them.

Whether you buy an old car or a new one, you need to understand your rights as a consumer. A Sacramento lemon law firm can provide you with help if you buy a car that turns out to have problems, so contact an attorney as soon as possible if issues arise with a new vehicle you've bought.


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