Every year, rental companies turn out used cars by the thousands. Most of these cars end up in used car dealers.
Most buyers are squeamish about buying a rental car, and dealerships know it. So, if you pull a car’s CARFAX report and find a car came from a rental company, you should be able to negotiate down the price and get an incredible deal. This is great because, if you do your due diligence, you are as likely to get a good car when buying a used rental than buying a regular used car.
Why do Companies Sell Rental Cars?
Rental companies rely on the “wow” factor. After all, who goes on vacation and wants to drive an older can than they have at home? As a result, they are constantly updating their fleets, turning perfectly good cars that are only a couple of years old to make room for newer and flashier models.
Occasionally, a company may also turf out a car if it’s been in a minor car accident. They don’t feel it has enough time on the lot left to make its repairs count, so they hand it over to a dealership.
What are the Downsides to Buying a Fleet Vehicle
There are a few other risks when buying a used rental. Always buy from a licensed dealer to avoid used car scams. They may have fewer kilometers than privately-owned cars, but those kilometers have had bigger impacts.
This is mainly because they’ve had so many different drivers. When a car has one primary driver, it will typically wear out in one or two areas. One driver might like to slam on the brakes at the last possible moment and mess up the brake-pads and the tire tread, while another driver might abuse the accelerator and damage the engine, while still another driver might ride the clutch. With a rental car, instead of a lot of wear in one specific area, you end up with moderate wear everywhere.
Also, people tend to be a little less careful with cars they don’t own. Rental cars have more small dings, interior spills, etc. After you buy a rental, you may want to disinfect it, we've created this guide for doing just that, but without damaging your car.
Are Rental Cars Well-Maintained?
On the other hand, rental companies have liabilities, and those liabilities mean they keep their fleet in good, safe, running order. Rental cars are regularly inspected, tuned, and given preventative maintenance. While they’re more likely to be a little worn, they’re also much less likely to have catastrophic breakdowns.
Rental car companies also do well at providing specialized maintenance. For example, until about 15 years ago, when rental companies kept right-hand-drive cars for British and Japanese tourists, they had separate maintenance routines to deal with the different ways that inverted parts wear.
Similarly, rental car companies do an excellent job buying replacement parts from the original manufacturer, instead of using generics. They study each car model that comes on the floor and make sure it gets the love it needs.
Getting a Deal on a Fleet Vehicle
Rental car prices get hit on both sides: supply and demand. On the supply side, rental companies trade out a fleet of hundreds of cars of the same make and model, driving down the price of each. On the demand side, buying used rental cars is still seen negatively by many.
This means you can get an excellent deal on fleet vehicles. Be sure to follow these three steps:
- Get the facts (or fax). Pull the Carfax report so you know exactly when it was a rental car and for how long.
- Know the blue book price. A rental car is not worth the blue book price, and dealerships know it, even if they pretend they don’t. If they offer anything close to the book price insist on going lower.
- Have a list of alternative sellers. Search carpages.ca for the same make and model to find the whole fleet that just got dumped on the market. Drive home that you know the car is in oversupply.
Buying a Rental Car in Canada
If you’re interested in buying used rental cars, you can search for the keyword “rental” right here on carpages.ca.
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