Buying Used Rental Cars: Pros and Cons

What to look for when you're thinking of buying a used rental car

Things to Consider When Buying Used Rental Vehicles

The Pros | The Cons | The Bottom Line | Used Rental Car Sales

Things to Consider:

Used Rental Cars For SaleThere are several things to consider if you're thinking of buying a used car versus a new one, especially a used rental car. For one, used cars aren't as expensive as new ones. Used cars don't depreciate in value at the same rate a new car does. Once you drive a brand new car off the lot the value decreases substantially and immediately.

Buying a Used Rental Car?

Buying Used Rental CarAs far as buying a used car rental, since the major national brand car rental companies usually replace their fleet every year, you're usually assured of getting a late model vehicle that is less than two years old, and with low mileage to boot. Lots of used rental vehicles have very low mileage, less than 10,000 miles, but some may have as much as 50,000 miles. Of course the sale price will reflect this.

The PROS - The Advantages of Buying a Used Rental Car:

Maintained and Certified:

Maintained and CertifiedThe major brand agencies will only sell certified second hand vehicles because they have a brand name to uphold in the process. The key to buying a used automobile is to make sure it's been well maintained and certified. A certified used car is guaranteed to be well maintained, inspected properly and repaired properly if and when it's necessary. Certified used cars are in the best possible condition before they are put up for sale. Rentals are mandated by company policy to be maintained on a regular basis. In a lot of cases, they are better maintained than if they were owned by a private party. If you want to make doubly sure the used automobile you're thinking of buying has been well maintained, insist on a copy of all the maintenance records. Oddly enough, some major brand companies will not provide the maintenance records to you.

The process of getting a used car certified is comprehensive. The inspection itself calls for 100 points or more in the process. This includes checking the steering, brakes, transmission, A/C and heating, any electrical parts and even the suspension to see if it's in tip top shape. It's always a good idea to take the vehicle you're thinking of buying to your own mechanic to check out.

Rental companies offer their rentals up for second hand buying but it doesn't mean these automobiles are being sold because they have problems. In fact the opposite is true. As you know, most vehicles have been driven by many drivers, but some have been leased and were only driven by one person. Many auto rental companies wholesale the bulk of their vehicles to dealerships or used car lots and keep only the best of the bunch to sell themselves. That way, they aren't selling problematic vehicles.


Repurchase Used Rental CarsUsed Rental Cars When you're looking for a second hand rental vehicle to purchase it's important to make sure there's at least a seven day repurchase agreement in case you change your mind or don't like how the automobile is handling. Most repurchase agreements require that customers do not go over 1,000 miles during these seven days.


It's a good idea to make sure the used automobile has some type of warranty before you purchase it. Most do. Some original factory warranties may still be in effect in vehicles. Extended warranties can be purchased on top of that as an option. Some resale dealers will throw in one-year roadside assistance in the sales package along with the free warranty. If you buy any used vehicle without a warranty and then experience a break down, of course you have no recourse but to pay for the repairs yourself.

Rent Before You Buy:

Some company programs allow you to rent before you buy the vehicle you have in mind. Of course you'll be charged a rental fee, but the good thing is, it will be refunded if you purchase the vehicle.


Car rental used car lots do offer financing so you can make monthly payments. When purchasing a used rental car, they companies do not accept credit cards or debit cards as a form of payment of the purchase price.


Many times rental companies will negotiate with buyers with their trade-ins for the purchase of a second hand vehicle. Other companies will not accept your used automobile as a trade-in. It's important to get the most out of your trade-in, so do your research. Check Kelley Blue Book and the NADA Official Used Car Guide to find not only what you're trade in is worth, but what the second hand vehicle you're looking at is worth.

It's also important to shop around with different rental companies and dealerships to find what the potential best deal will be and which company is willing to give you the most for your trade-in. This can make a big difference in how much you'll potentially have to pay for your purchase. Most company fleets are now smoke free, so you're assured of getting a vehicle that is clean and fresh smelling.

The CONS - The Disadvantages of Buying a Used Rental Car:

High Mileage:

Some rental cars may have as much as 40,000 or 50,000 miles on them. But if that's a turn off to you, buy a low mileage one.


You have no way of knowing how many people rented the automobile or how they treated it. After all, they probably didn't treat it the same was they would their own. Or is that just a myth?


Cold Weather - Take it from someone who is an accredited trade school and factory trained auto mechanic (that's me folks) who worked on cars for several years in Minnesota. Every year I lived there it got down to at least -40F (40 below zero). I saw and repaired many cold weather related problems. So something to consider is if the auto you're thinking of buying was fleeted in a very cold northern state (or parts of Canada), there could be issues pertaining to very cold temperature wear and tear. If sub zero temperatures are a factor, so is lubrication. After all, grease and heavy oil gets so stiff in sub zero temperatures, it is basically "frozen" and no longer lubricates until it warms up by either outside temperature or friction. In the meantime, there can be little to no lubrication. Some mechanical items that are at risk are wheel bearings, differential gears and bearings, alternator bearings and of course the engine. Also, because a very cold engine can be difficult to start sometimes, starter motors become overworked cranking for so long. This wears out the brushes as well as the bearings. Years down the line certain mechanical parts could fail due to lack of lubrication in the past. **As a point of interest - if any car has been parked for a while, of course it is totally normal in all temperatures for the tires be a little flat where they are touching the pavement because that is obviously a flat surface. But in extremely cold temperatures, an automobile has to be driven a little ways before the tires will become flexible and round again. In the meantime, it's bumpity bump until they have rounded themselves. This is not a problem, it's just one of the oddities of cold weather driving.

Hot Weather - Newer automobiles are so technologically superior to vehicles of the past, they don't usually have overheating problems like they used to. But in extremely hot weather states, particularly the desert southwest, hot weather can be a factor as far as prematurely aging the tires, vinyl, rubber, upholstery and paint.


Because they have a reputation to maintain and protect, you can probably trust that the major national brand companies have maintained their fleet of vehicles. But it's possibly a guess as to whether the small lesser known localized brands did. Always ask for the maintenance records. Some companies won't provide this to you, but in this age of computers, it's unimaginable these records cannot readily be accessed and given to you.

What's the Bottom Line? What's Our Opinion:

With all things considered, it is our opinion that purchasing a used rental car from one of the major nations brand agencies would be a good choice. But the thing is, very few people have purchased or will purchase a used rental. We think they're missing out because of those who have actually bought a used rental car, they were very pleased, thought they got a great deal, thought they got a very nice automobile and would certainly do it again.

Used Rental Car Sales

Avis Used Rental Cars
Avis Used Car Rental Car
Budget Used Cars
Budget Used Car Sales
Dollar Used Rental Car Sales
Dollar Used Rental Car Sales
Thrifty Used Rental Cars
Thrifty Used Rental Car Sales
Enterprise Used Cars
Enterprise Used Rental Car

Search Rental Car Rates

Pick Up Location

Return car to a different location

Pick Up Date & Time

Return Date & Time

Hawaii Car Rental Locations

Select an Airport Location:

Select a Non-Airport Location:

Hawaii Car Rental Locations

Select an Airport Location:

Select a Non-Airport Location:

Special Perks
  • Corporate Discount Rates
  • No Travel Agent Fees
  • No Pre-Payment
  • No Booking Fee
  • Cancel Anytime
  • No Obligation