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Misconceptions About Retired Rental Vehicles and Reasons to Consider Buying One

Each year car rental companies turn over a portion of their fleet, selling retired vehicles to car dealerships and directly to consumers from their lots.
Hesitations people have about buying a retired rental car typically revolve around pervasive misconceptions. Here we dispel common misconceptions and offer compelling reasons why you should consider purchasing a retired rental car. 

High Mileage

Mention the phrase rental car and what likely comes to mind is a vehicle that has accumulated a lot of miles and will soon need major work, like a new transmission. The truth is most rental companies retire vehicles well before they accumulate excess miles. The average rental car has between 25,000 and 40,000 miles by the time it goes up for sale.

Poorly Maintained

It's reasonable to think that rental cars just go from one driver to the next without the proper maintenance in between. However, this couldn't be farther from the truth.
Rental companies must keep their fleet running well in order to profit. For this reason, rental cars are well-maintained and tend to follow strict, regular maintenance schedules. In fact, rental cars are often better maintained than the typical used car.

Damaged or Abused

People have a perception that rental cars have been beaten up and abused by an endless stream of drivers.
In reality, the average driver who rents a vehicle doesn't abuse it. When dents or other damage occurs, rental companies typically fix them right away because consumers aren't inclined to rent cars that are dented and scratched up.


Sure you could head to your local dealership and shop for a used car that isn't a former rental vehicle. However, retired rental cars have distinct advantages over the typical cars on the dealership lot.
  • Newer Vehicles: Because rental companies only keep their cars for a couple of years before selling them, their vehicles are usually newer than the typical used car on the dealership lot. The average retired rental car is about two years old.

  • Often Under Warranty: Vehicles that rental companies retire are often still covered under the original manufacturer warranty or an extended warranty. The same can't be said for the average used car at your local dealership. Purchasing a warrantied car provides some additional security, as you'll be covered for flaws, defects and certain repairs. 

  • Time to Decide: Unlike dealerships, many rental companies  give you a 3-day rental to decide whether the car is right for you to buy. If you determine it's not the right car for you, you can simply return the rental and are not obligated to buy the car.
Check with the rental company to find out the specific perks of purchasing one of their retired vehicles.

Tips for Purchasing a Rental Car

Buying a former rental car isn't without its risks. Here are some tips to guide you in the right direction.
  • Pre-purchase Inspection: To make sure you're making a sound purchase, request a pre-purchase inspection. If you're allowed a three-day grace period, take the car to your trusted mechanic to check for hidden problems.

  • Car Report: It's possible for any used car to have been in an accident. Vehicles that have been in a collision are riskier to purchase because they may have problems that aren't apparent. Request the vehicle's history and review it for previous collisions.

  • Test Drive: Ask to take the vehicle for a test drive and pay attention to signs of potential issues, such as noises, shaking, burning smells, leaks and anything out of the ordinary.
Whether you're looking to rent, or are interested in purchasing a retired vehicle, come check out what Guardian Rent-A-Car has to offer.


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