The Pros and Cons of Buying a Rental Car

Cars are necessary and essential for most people. Getting to and from work, buying groceries, and running other errands requires transportation, and the easiest way to do that is by driving your own vehicle. A quality car can be expensive, especially when new. Even a pre-owned vehicle can be costly. There are other ways to get a car at a lower price, such as police auctions.

Many people have purchased a good car for a low price by buying cars from the fleets of rental companies. This source has its pros and cons, which we’ll cover below.

Pros of Buying From a Rental Fleet

Before searching for a new car rental for sale, it’s important to know the benefits and potential downsides. The pros include:

  • Saving money—This is the first and most obvious. Rental companies buy many cars at once to fill out their fleets and so enjoy a generous volume discount. This allows them to sell these vehicles at much lower prices than typical pre-owned cars.
  • Well-maintained cars—Rental companies generally maintain their vehicles meticulously. A fleet car will have had regular oil changes, tune-ups, and all scheduled maintenance in a proper and timely fashion.
  • Late-model vehicles—Rental companies update their fleets frequently, so the used vehicles they offer for sale are often just a year or two old. This means those cars will have the last safety and fuel-saving features.
  • Warranties—Many rental companies offer a limited 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty on the powertrain of the vehicles sold. This is generally better than the warranties offered by independent used car dealers who usually sell as-is.
  • Lengthy test drives—Some rental companies will offer a 2- to 3-day test drive period. They charge a discounted daily rental rate which is refunded if the vehicle is purchased. This is a good way to really get a feel for the car and if it’s worth buying.

The upsides of buying a rental car make it a good option for many drivers.

Cons of Buying From a Rental Fleet

Despite the savings and other benefits, buying a rental car does have its downsides. Some of these are:

  • Higher mileage—The average vehicle in the US is driven about 12 to 14K miles per year. Rental cars generally acquire two to three times that many miles each year.
  • Warranty may be voided—If the car has time left on its original warranty, you inherit that. However, the mileage may be high enough to void the warranty.
  • History is unclear—Maintenance records from the rental company are available but there is no way to know how the many drivers who rented the car treated it. It may have been abused many times.
  • Fewer options—Rental cars are usually the basic models and don’t include the premium options that many buyers desire.

These cons should be considered before buying a rental car.

Is Buying a Rental Car the Right Choice for You?

With the price of even used cars, buying from a rental fleet can save money and has other advantages. There are also downsides, so it’s important to consider everything carefully before you decide if buying a rental car is right for you.