Whether you are renting a car for a business trip or taking a family road trip and need a little more space, your rental car needs to be safe and fit your needs. Having to rent a car is not the most enjoyable process, but you can make it smoother by knowing what to expect and being prepared.
The easiest tip is to plan ahead and have a rental car waiting for you when you arrive at your destination. This ensures that you will not have a long wait or get a car that does not work for you.
Here are nine things to check before renting a luxury car:
Date of Previous Maintenance:
Cars go through maintenance cycles, and a rental car company will have a record of when the last maintenance was performed. This is important to know to ensure the safety of the vehicle. If there has been no recent maintenance, you can request a different car, or ask what the process is for you to take the car for an inspection.
If you plan to take the car on a long trip, it is best to verify the maintenance has been done prior to leaving the rental car lot.
Check the fuel level in the vehicle. Most rental companies require the car to be returned with the same fuel level as when you picked it up. Rental cars will generally have half a tank of gas or more when you drive away.
You must check before you leave the lot to ensure you refill the tank to the proper amount and avoid the fees associated with returning it empty. If the rental company has to refuel the car, they will likely charge a higher rate than refilling the tank yourself.
Dents and Scratches:
Any car driven down the road or parked in a lot will have a few dents or scratches. Go around the vehicle and check for damage with the customer service agent to establish damage that has already been done.
Upon returning the vehicle, inspect the vehicle with the customer service agent to verify that no further damage has been done.
The same concept applies to the interior as the exterior of the car. Be sure there are no significant tears or stains inside the vehicle before you take possession. If you intend to take a dog or kids in the car with you, take preventative measures to avoid damage to the interior.
Also, make notes if things are missing from the car. Does the car have all the floor mats? Does it have seat covers? This gives you extra security on the condition of the car when you received it.
Many cars that are commonly rented have high mileage and will need oil changes more often. If you rent a small to a medium car that is popular for rentals, it is advised to check the oil level in the car. If you are unsure how to check it in the car, ask the customer service agent to check for you or show you how to check.
Other fluid levels are essential to check in addition to the oil, especially in certain climates. Coolant or radiator fluid and windshield washer fluid is vital for driving in snow or below-freezing temperatures.
The tires of a car are often neglected until they cause a problem. Rental car companies want to get the most out of their vehicles. The company will check the tires, but it is good to check when they were inspected last.
Tire pressure and tread are vital to the safe operation of the car. If you notice the tread or tire pressure is low, ask the agent for another vehicle or have the problem resolved before you leave.
Rental companies will offer extra insurance for drivers, and if you are under the age of 25, you may not be able to decline their insurance. If you have a good insurance policy already and have health coverage, it is not always recommended that you purchase the insurance.
Even if you have coverage, it can be useful to purchase the extra coverage for peace of mind as you drive. Dents and scratches are not usually covered by typical insurance. If you have concerns about scratches or dents, consider purchasing the extra coverage.
Renting a car locally will make it easy to stay within the mile limits for your rental period. There are cars that you can rent without a mile limit, but most will have a daily limit of miles you can drive.
Check with the company before you sign an agreement to ensure that the limits, or lack thereof, fit your needs. Calling the agency in advance will help you guarantee the car’s availability that best suits your needs. Rental cars are excellent for going on a camping trip if you do not have a car or need a vehicle better suited to mountain driving.
Ask for a Brief Overview of the Car’s Features:
All cars offer different features, and it can be frustrating not to know how to open the trunk or change the radio station while renting the car. Ask for a brief overview of the car’s most used features, such as how to open the fuel tank, how to reset the trip mileage, and how to operate the cruise control.
These features are present in most cars, but they are often located in different places. Asking for these explanations will save you the trouble of having to figure them out on your own.
Renting a car used to be a significant process, but it has been streamlined to make the customer experience more enjoyable. If you ever find yourself needing to rent a car, keep these tips in mind, and it will make the process even easier.
Everyone should do the basic maintenance on their vehicle on a regular schedule, and rental car agencies are no exception. Your safety is the priority, and you should feel safe while driving your rental vehicle.
By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your rental car experience will be the best possible. While it may seem excessive to check the oil and tires before you rent a car, this could save you from incurring fees for a dent that was not registered or a tear on the interior you did not see before you left the lot.