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Why Not to Buy a Rental Car

Why Not to Buy a Rental Car

rev up your engines Juan says Scotty I’m looking to buy a used car but it’s from a rental company hurts to be exact, what do you think about that Thanks, okay put on your thinking cap I rent cars all the time I travel all over the world checking out cars and making videos and stuff, so I rent a lot of cars when I rent a car what do I do I beat the heck out of it cuz it’s a rental car you know sometimes you hit curbs, all kinds of things can happen with a rental car do you really want to buy a car a bunch of people like me drove all over the place not that smart of an idea I really wouldn’t wanna buy one and you don’t get that great of a deal either because they just say, oh it’s a two-year-old car here’s what it’s worth and when they sell them used, you can’t say I’ll pay you less they’ll say, no this is the price that we give, take it or leave it I personally would not buy one especially when you consider how are they maintained, generally they’re like pimply-faced teenager kids that might change the oil a little once in a while the back room but they really don’t do that much to them I’m not personally a fan and I’ve had customers buy them and some of that okay luck but some of them had really bad luck too, so I’d pass on buying a rental car myself, Karishma 1997 says Scotty I’m thinking about buying 2016-18 Ford Focus rs later as a weekend driver are they well-built any problems to look for other than head gasket failures, okay those are pretty well built cars just realize don’t pay that much for it because they’re not gonna be making them anymore so when they stop making cars the value goes down unless they’re collectors items and those aren’t by any stretch collectors items like a Mercedes that’s going to be worth millions one day they’re never gonna be collectors items so if you can get one cheap enough hey ride nice and you want a weekend car they do ride quite well that’s when you know Ford took a lot of when they owned part of Volvo they took a lot of that technology from Volvo so they ride really well you know there’s nothing wrong with that just don’t pay too much for it, Martin the Panda says hey Scotty what do you think of Opel, you might know what I said about German cars but Opel was the first car I owned as a kid, I paid 550 bucks and I drive the heck out of that thing for six years and I sold it for five hundred when I was done Opels kind of like Ford model-t they made some of the early cars in Germany they made cars in Germany, v8’s stuff that they never sold over here, I personally wouldn’t buy one at least here in United States since it’s hard to get parts for them, guys don’t know how to work on so, but they got some interesting technology with them and if you live in Europe or someplace yeah they sell a lot of them there’s a lot of parts available for them, Adam Liquor says Scotty in your professional opinion should I put a two and half inch leveling kit on a Ford f-150 or should keep it factory I don’t haul anything ever keep, it factory it was designed that way, a leveling kit, yeah that’s just for show it’s stupid on a truck, a truck is designed the way that it is, leave it alone once you start messing with that suspension, it messes with the drive train, it messes with the handling, that truck for what it is, is pretty well designed and if you’re not hauling a bunch of stuff around leave it the way it is, it’s gonna run the best it possibly can the way that it’s set up and you don’t want to start messing with the geometric angles and the way this thing is designed it would be kind of foolhardy to do something like that, McGee says is a 1994 Chevy g20 van a good conversion van well back in 94 Chevy was making better vehicles yes I’m not a fan of GM these days but back then those are decent vans I got customers with them that especially if they got the v8 350 s in them they could run a really long time now their gas hogs there’s no if ands or are buts about it, but they’re well made and they can last a long time, it’s a 94 so what are we talking 25-year old vehicle, it’s old so you want it checked out before you bought it or if you get it for practically nothing fix it up and drive it around I mean they were much better made in those days than they are today there’s no arguing that, Kenneth Meyer says, Scotty what’s your take on the Nissan Versa note, well it’s interesting technology there’s no arguing that, I am NOT a fan of Nissan and Nissan has been on the verge of bankruptcy for ages, Ford was gonna buy them but then when their stock went down ages ago they gave up with the idea of buying Nissan, it doesn’t hold up over time, they put some technology into them yes, but their automatic transmissions they’ve had problems with, air conditioning systems, engines blowing head gaskets I am NOT a fan of any of their products i person you would not buy any now I’ve rented them to see how they drove when I go places and they can be okay to drive around, I’ve driven notes when I rented cars and they were okay but uh you know their kind of clunky little cars that don’t ride all that well, I’m not a fan of them, so if you never want to miss another one of my new car repair videos, remember to ring that Bell!

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100 thoughts on “Why Not to Buy a Rental Car

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    This was an excerpt from one of my Live Car Talk shows where I answer your car questions Live. If you enjoyed it, every Thursday at 1 pm CST and Saturday 10 am CST I live stream and answer your questions!

  2. Just a few notes: Opel was a subsidiary of GM until a few months. It has been sold to PSA group (Peugeout, Citroen). In fact Chevrolet and Opel shared a lot of models and components (Chevy Volt vs Opel Ampera, Chevy Cruze vs Opel Astra). I think Chevrolet closed their operation in Europe because it was canibalizing the Opel market. Chevy had the very same product cheaper than Opel.
    Nissan: Is owned by Renault. For the good and the bad, they share parts and technology. The most comented failure about Renault / Nissan engines is the failure of the connecting rods in the diesel 1.5 liters. I don't belive that those are used in US, but are widely used in Europe.

  3. I bought a rental car that came from a company that rented out luxury sports cars and It has been amazing. The dealership even certified it and extended the warranty beyond the factory. It depends where you get the rental car from.

  4. Scotty, please help, I have a 04 Impala LS, with 217,000 miles on it. With what I believe to be the transmission slipping when I take off like normal shifting from first to second gear, it does that when its cold. But when I take off when its hot it doesn’t do it at all whether I take of like normal or aggressively. Is my Transmission going out?

  5. I bought a rental car (15 Buick Lacrosse) through a dealership. It had 26K on it, and now over two years later I have 73K of mileage, and it's still driving like a champ.

  6. i just bought a note and am glad he takrd a lil bout. i wonder what he thinks of the honda fit.since that a direct competator.

  7. I bought my car off carvana a 2016 ford focus base hatchback auto white $12k it was a prior rental. Perfect body, interior had some wear in terms of stains. Only had 38k miles on it. I went to every dealer in my area that claims to approve bad credit they did but with an outrageous down payment. Went on carvana no down payment required for 72 months at 255 dollars a month and insurance at 89 dollars. It took 10 minutes to get in and drive the car no dealing with a dealer. I'll never buy a car at a dealership. I'll have to disagree on this one. Best car I've ever owned. I just think you are biased to Toyotas and only Toyotas. I think you are the only car guy I have heard not say Honda is the best and longest lasting. I did have a 1997 Corolla and was going through 5 qts of oil every 2weeks didn't leak it just ate oil. While it was dependable i don't view the quality the same as you do Scotty. I'll never buy a Toyota or Honda all their designs look the same and are over priced. I'll stick with other brands gas mileage and boring designs are not what most people look for unless it's a commuter.

  8. Scotty, I have a 2005 Honda CR-V AWD with 16 inch wheels from factory , do you think upgrading to 17 inch wheels is going to mess with the AWD system?

  9. I know your not a fan of Nissan, and the way they are poorly built and don't even stand behind their warranty I can't blame you.
    That said, what do you think about the gen 1 2000 Nissan Frontier with the 5 sp manual 2.4 liter engine with 200k miles.. They are the resheetmetaled hardbody truck.

  10. Good to know, I’ll never get a Nissan now, how about ford? You think they improved since the early 2000’s? Last one I had treated me well, just had a bad license plate light for some reason

  11. Bought a used 2000 Toyota 4Runner in 2002 at Enterprise. The damn truck is still on the road today 2018. It refuses to die 🤣🤣🤣

  12. Hey Scotty i have an 03 Malibu with the 4t45E trans it has 179000 miles on it during the summer around 80 degrees after i got off the highway it started shifting very hard. now the trans has a whining sound when in RD321. if i install a trans oil cooler will that help it last longer til i replace it or get a new car?

  13. My suv was a rental and it's a Ford lol. I bought it 6 years old too. 12 years later and I just now have start having problems with it. I think the reason it's held up so well is because of when it was a rental back then the gas prices were sky high and no one was renting that car much. It only had 30 thousand miles on it when I bought it. It now is at 159 thousand miles on it. I'm gonna get a few things checked out and see if I can put another 100 thousand miles on it. Hopefully I can.

  14. My friend lifted his 2013 Silverado and it is one of the nicest driving trucks I've ever been in, on and off road. Suspension is tight, corners well and tracks straight. Probably lift kits were more detrimental to older trucks but the new ones seem to handle it fine.

  15. I have to disagree with you about buying rental cars . The car are taken out of service at so many miles . Oil is changed at 3k . What's the difference between rental and cars on the used car lots . Which more buy then new cars 4-1

  16. My last 3 cars have been ex rentals with under 14k on the clock and up to 1 year old. They have all been half price of new or less and have lasted and performed well. I have kept them on average upto 150k miles.

  17. Rental fleet is full of 20,000 miles interval oil, filter changes. They just top it off.
    Sludge, wear is passed on to the buyer

  18. I'd buy a rental before I bought a used car from a private party. At least rentals have been maintained somewhat and have service records.

  19. I bought an e rental car for my kid in 2008. A 2005 Chevy Cavalier. This was the most reliable car that has ever been my family. They drove it nearly 100,000 miles trading it in on a new car in 2015. It had a small water pump leak and needed a new fuel pump. Nothing else than regular wear stuff in that entire time.

    My point is that I have never abused rental cars nor has anyone else I know. We just want transportation and we do not want the hassle that comes if we break it.

  20. Questionable advice about the Focus RS. They stopped making Honda S2000s and those have held their value extremely well, in fact they're going up. Out of production high performance halo models are an exception Scotty.

  21. Hey Scotty,
    I'm assuming you heard about the oil dilution problems with some of the new Honda CRVs. Since that 1.5-liter turbo engine is used in a number of other Honda Products (Accord, Civic, etc) what are the chances that these models will experience the same problem?

  22. I didn't not drive rentals any different that I normally drive. Only a disturbed person would abuse something just because it will hurt somebody else and not themselves. Must be sadistic.

  23. If you are in a Northern State. The first part I would change when you get a rental car is the battery. Often the major rental places set them up to run in warmer clients. I would put a good winter battery.

  24. I bought my wife a Chrysler sebring convertible x rental 180000 miles has been flawless other than a water pump at 145k

  25. Scotty your really down on Nissan man. They are great cars. Speaking of which I have a 2005 Maxima I want to sell and I'm willing to make a deal on it. Not going to lie it needs a few things. The trans slips, two of the converters are clogged, but it only has 150K on it. Oh yeah it uses a bit of oil say a quart every couple weeks but no oil leaks. The body is great and paint is nice and the leather interior great. AC works just fine after I recharged it. Heated seats and the radio cassette / cd player works great. I only want $400 for it.

  26. Rental cars are some of the best maintained cars out there, WHY, they don't want them breaking down while rented out. Many Rental companies will keep a car less than a year and sale with low miles. Big chain rental companies clean and inspect cars after each rental. We just purchased our second rental car. First ran and looked great and traded for a new car. Just purchased another rental, a 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier with 22000 miles on it. Clean Carfax and runs and looks like it just came off the showroom.  Then again only time will tell.

  27. My parents bought two beautiful rental cars, had them for years. I try to treat rentals like eggs because I don't want to be charged for damage.

  28. As with everything, there are exceptions. We bought an 84 Corolla with 40,000 km in 85 and parked it with 320,000km, still using no oil & getting FORTY TWO mpg! Road salt ate the body

  29. Scotty , it is a little different when you buy one and you work at that company for year & you see how the cars are maintained .

  30. My local toyota dealership said about their old rentals "most people who drive these are business people, who flew in for a few days, and do a lot of highway driving." Yeah right!!

  31. In my own expirence, Ive had great luck with buying low milage rental cars, now I can see how it can be a gamble however I at least I know it has been maintained. Also not every renter will abuse the car, though some may, but hey for low milage, the time spent doing damage with those one or two crazy drivers may be very minimal if at all worrisome for the cars longevity so if the price is right and it looks good why not. At least you dont get that new car blues when you start to get scrates and dings, there always very clean inside and are basicly new cars at 50 or below so you know whats to be matained from there in out. Just my opinon.

  32. I have bought 2 ex rental Toyota only one1year old they worked out fine.
    One took 15 yrs and was written cause an accident. Second one am driving now my mechanic checked it out and it's rare piece. ABJ. Always buy Japanese. On a rental nothing over 40k cause they r hard miles.

  33. I'm looking to buy a 2014 Sienna. Looks clean but maybe if I can get it down in price I'd say it may be a good deal

  34. Enterprise appears to have a good program. Unfortunately they have vehicles in their fleet
    such as the Dodge Journey, previous generation Jeep Compass, the Patriot and such
    stellar vehicles as the Versa . Now I am fairly certain that Enterprise maintains all of their vehicles but car companies sell the "unpopular " slow sellers to rental car companies.
    If you want a mini van Enterprise does have a ton of Caravans for sale. Of course any
    used vehicle should be checked out. Enterprise does offer a limited one year warranty
    and includes the documentation fee of $ 199 in the price. Many dealers charge some
    outrageous amounts for the documentation fee. So it is good that Enterprise states
    what the fee will be so there will be no surprises. Enterprise could be a better bet than
    a dealer. I doubt that they would want to sell a lemon to a customer. A big corporation
    such as Enterprise does not want the publicity of being known for sticking customers with
    bad cars. I would though stay away from the many Ford Focus cars they seem to have
    plus the Versas. There are also a lot of Nissan Rogues for sale. Also looking through
    the offerings and the car faxes Enterprise does purchase vehicles that were previous
    non rental personal off lease cars and offers them for sale at their "stores".

  35. bruh, you're the most interesting dude on youtube. you're like that awesome neighbor across the fence that has all the inside scoop and connections. Thanks for your info man.

  36. They're maintained by unions here, and actually well maintained. But when they go up for sale, they're not any cheaper than any other car – so why bother buying one vs. buying a car that had one owner who actually had some skin in the game as far as their maintenance goes.

    Plus, it seems like 75% of the cars they sell are things like white pontiac G6 or some other failure vehicle that GM was making (HHR, etc). No thanks!

  37. My 2 cents…I bought a one-year old 2010 Mercedes GLK350 from Hertz Rent2Buy, had absolutely zero issues with it but I found a Browning Kodiac knife under the back seat, cuz you can't take knifes on planes, and some errant french fries were under the driver seat. Last year bought a one-year VW Tiguan from them, only thing I found was they replaced the battery but dropped the battery hold-down bolt so they stuck the bracket in the glove box, but no issues so far. Almost every one of their SUV's I have looked at is missing the cargo cover, but they will usually give you one from another rental if they have one.

  38. And somehow, they always have low mileage. They roll back their mileage all the time. Once i bought one with 50k miles but in reality it had over 200k miles. Dont ever f buy a rental car!!! Save your f money!!!

  39. I have a old lady near me that still drives a opel and it runs like a new car every time i see her. ps.. i had a older van that ran great but i didnt know when i bought it that i couldnt get a replacement window for the back glass that was broke. I was told it was a specialty window now so needless to say i sold it. ( kind of sucked though since it ran great )

  40. What about car dealers that buy rental cars in bulk for cheap..then sell them back to the general public without telling the public?

  41. Ur wrong buddy. A regular car its not used on the wrong way. People take care on rentals. Because they dont want to pay extra in case something happens. I every time have extra care with a rental.

  42. Scotty have to disagree with you. I bought a Enterprise rental 21000 miles Ford F-150 V8 4×4 Crew Cab with Coyote engine. Came with remaining 2 years or 15000 miles remaining warranty. Paid 29k from Ford dealer. Kbb private party 32k. Nada 34k. 45k if bought new. Well worth it and 20,000 miles later no issues and perfect. When buying looked it over real good and all paint and interior was still like new. Plus being a rental they do not have tow hitches so no towing by renters. Added a tow hitch for $300 myself from Etrailer parts and With the remaining factory warranty, I could not loose. Saved 5k. Win win win.

  43. I loved the Versa Note when they were brand new. I rented 2011-2014 ish models. Yes, they are clunky. The bluetooth doesn't work right with the voice name recognition. Overall, I thought they were very comfortable and I enjoyed the handling. I think if ppl get one used, it might not be a good thing, but they are fun to drive and whip around the city in.

  44. As a general rule of thumb, I agree. However, many rental companies take care of the cars pretty well and many cars are typically rented to business travelers who just drive it to a meeting or job site and park it all day. If you can look over the car in detail, and review the maintenance records, then buying a former rental car can be one of the best car buying deals around. I would certainly not buy a rental mustang or something like that, but a regular business car… sure.

    Our primary family vehicle is a 2012 Town and Country that began life as a rental car. When we bought it in 2014, it was one of the cleanest and most well maintained vehicles I had ever seen. It was practically brand new. In the years since, we've kept up with all regular maintenance and replaced a few worn out parts here and there (as expected with a car of it's age), but it has been very reliable and wonderful for our family.

    I would not hesitate to buy another rental car, as long as I could review the records and give the car a thorough inspection.

  45. Ford Focus RS? Horrible!!! Stay away. Far far away. They used the wrong head gasket. Ford used regular eco boost head gasket. They look the same, but some of the water ports are blocked with the wrong gasket. The engines overheat and valves get ruined. The best part? Ford has no way to know which gaskets went in which car!!!! And as of yet, as far as I know, Ford has not recalled them! Check YouTube for Focus RS problems. There is so many cars with the same issue. Ford is hoping the warranty expires before the problem becomes evident. Ford cars suck and always have. Ford is a truck company. That's what they do well. That's also why they are stopping making cars. Don't do It!!! Stay far far far away!!!!!!!

  46. I purchased a Hertz two yrs old Hertz rental car with 25K miles 8 years ago and it was $2000 cheaper than carmax or any other place that sold use cars….One advantage is that Hertz rental cars each have a maintenance log book, and I pick the car that had no repairs, just normal maintenance. The car ran with no problems, until it was totaled by my daughter…. This was the 2nd Hertz car that I purchased and each provided trouble free service….

  47. AGREES!!!! i worked for enterprise rent a car , they don't cae and oil not changed on time. wrong oil weight … alot of things, abuse too

  48. My main problem with buying rental cars is that accident or flood damage etc might not show on the carfax because they can repair in house and not report to insurance company or dmv.

  49. Is it just me that treats rental cars like your own? It must be the way I am brought up but if I borrow something then I return it back in perfect condition.

  50. I've got 1999 Accord which is a former Rental and a Kia Sedona that is also a Rental.. saved a lot of cash for a House which I have 18yrs left to be paid off.

  51. I bought a 2005 Ford F150 flare side that had a leveling kit already installed. It looked really nice, but I took it off when I was going to tow a camper on vacation. I was worried that the extra weight on the back would point the headlights too high at night if I was starting out level.  Turned out, it would have been fine and I put the leveling kit back on because I couldn't stand the look of the rake of the truck without the leveling kit.  I had no problems with drivetrain or suspension. The leveling kit only raises the front of the truck by an inch or inch and a half.   Just make sure that you have the truck re aligned if you do put a leveling kit on by an experienced tech. Scotty is right though, the engineers at Ford are usually a lot smarter than us and altering the original design is usually not the best idea if you want your vehicle to operate as intended and last the longest.  On the other hand, we've seen some pretty shoddy design work too!

  52. Additionally…when I rented BMW…i filled it up with the cheapest gasoline like all other renters…however, BMW requires premium gasoline for the engine to keep up working without problems…so, no rental buy for me.

  53. He, a Hero of the peopel, while alive. What is not an eazy thing to do.
    And even now, sadly.
    Take of your cap for a sec, for one of the best.

    Rest in Peace Mr. Kilmer


  54. everything ive seen and heard about used rentals boils down to just checking out the cars before getting them. also, having a good idea what you are getting. its going to be a pretty new car, but there will likely be a decent amount of minor cosmetic dings and the like on them from just careless people. the ones you really have to take a deep examination of, are the nicer or more powerful cars. people who rent those, rent them to abuse them. a charger or mustang will likely have the snot beaten out of it, and no amount of upkeep will save it from the abuse.

    also, obviously, if you are going to be getting a car with a decent amount of miles on it, make sure you trust the reliability of the make and model. Stay away from CVTs for the time being before all the major manufacturers figure out how to not make terrible ones… All non-hybrid Toyota CVT cars have a "stealth recall" as of last year (2018) for transmission issues, they say a software update will fix it… but from what it seems, the problem is more likely a hardware one. Check the vehicle history, either Carfax or some other equivalent… physically check the car, etc. This will give you an idea of any issues that may require fixing… and everyone knows that fixing = more money out of your pocket in the long run.

    also, the amount of maintenance depends on the company who rents the cars, I hear Hertz and Enterprise are usually pretty good on keeping up with maintenance, smaller companies tend to be less on top of maintenance.

  55. Scotty is entitled to his opinion, but buying directly a used car from the rental company vs buying a rental car from a used car dealer is not the same. Rental cars are well maintained and the premium cars generally are driven long distances by responsible people. The car sales units sell the cars that meet a higher standard.

  56. I’ve owned 4 former rental cars and every one turned out to be a good car.
    None were fancy but they turned out to be dependable

  57. Got an amazing deal at Enterprise and it came with a 12000 miles or one-year extended warranty! I couldn't be happier! Oh yeah, and my credit union gave my 0.75 lower interest rate for buying from Enterprise!!

  58. Actually, my car came from an AVIS and was later sold to CARMAX (which I bought later) They took VERY good care of their fleet and I got a honey of a used car. Just sayin'

  59. I've had pretty good luck with buying former rent a cars. My mom got one in the 80s that she kept for about 10 years no real problems. I bought my daughter a used Hyundai that was a rent a car for the first 2 years of its life and its also been a good car.

  60. The salesman from Enterprise was trying to sell me a used Prius or some old shitty Ford hybrid after my insurance rental. I think leasing a new Corolla hybrid or Prius is best for my lifestyle and goals. Still miss my 2017 Corolla…

  61. It’s true, they don’t haggle. Neither do real men. Haggling is for women in an Asian food market. Men just say what they’ll pay and let it go at that. Take it or leave it.

  62. Buying a rental car is like going to a house of ill repute and trying to find a wife. Been driven way too hard by way too many people.

  63. Rent it , but never buy it cuz the mileage might be a bit high and a lot of people were driving it

  64. If you brought your car from car max of off lease or even major dealerships chances are it was once a rental car lol just remember that. What do you think rental companies do with the rental cars when they no longer need them.

  65. can someone tell me their thoughts on the 2017 Nissan Rogue? Most importantly, is it reliable? And if I do purchase at a HERTZ car sales is there a way they would provide things like all their oil changes and maintenance records?

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