Purchasing a Former Rental Car

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by MICHAELSD, May 1, 2015.

  1. MICHAELSD, May 1, 2015
    Last edited: May 1, 2015

    MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #1
    Well, I just found out about one of the best-kept secrets in the auto industry: rental companies typically sell new cars after just 10-40,000 miles at a steep discount. How steep? The 2014 sports car I'm looking at buying has under 20k miles but I negotiated it down to $7k under private party KBB.

    Frankly, I'm torn. The best deal I could find from a dealer for a similar car is at least $5k more before fees. Unfortunately, since it is a sports car I'm worried that more than a few people drove it hard... but that could be the case with any previous owner. I don't expect to keep the car for more than three years, and I will be checking the warranty status since if warranty is still active I would be covered under a manufacturer's bumper-to-bumper warranty until the end of 2016, then a powertrain warranty for a few years following that. Assuming this particular manufacturer's warranty does carry over, my main concern is reselling the vehicle. Estimates I've heard are $2k-$3k under KBB for a former rental car but if it takes a larger hit than that, then it is pointless for me to save the money now. It is a popular car that typically sells quickly used on Craigslist so I would assume some people may not factor the rental status into their cost when resold.

    Interestingly enough, the same car purchased from Hertz vs the even bigger rental company this one was used for would cost roughly $5k more ("no-haggle") and include almost triple the miles. So at least if I do decide to be crazy enough to purchase a rental vehicle then I am getting a deal.

    Yes, rental cars are going to be abused in more than a few ways and frankly I would never consider any other type of rental (a car is just about the only used item I would purchase -- I am very OCD with everything else). Nonetheless, most are well-maintained and all the people that I found on forums who purchased this particular car as a former rental are running strong for years. Perhaps I can even extend the warranty to offset reliability concerns... extending the manufacturer warranty for much longer than I will even own the car would cost under $1,000 with a $50 deductible. If eligible for this (calling when they're open with the VIN), that definitely makes it more appealing. In fact, ~ $700 for a bumper-to-bumper manufacturer until 2020 makes this a great deal and would work very nicely when resold to get close to full value. This alone is making me consider going for it.

    Opinions? Have any risk-taking drivers here taken the plunge with a low-mileage rental car?
     
  2. fitshaced macrumors 68000

    fitshaced

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    #2
    Line up a buyer before you buy it explaining that it is an ex rental. Put a higher price on it and see if they bite. Then, buy it and sell it and then look for a non rental version with a better history with the profits as well as you original 7k. Just maybe don't scam a friend. Your boss perhaps.
     
  3. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #3
    Eh, in Jersey to do this (legally) I'd need to still register in my name and pay sales tax plus fees. Not really worth the hassle, along with selling my old car. Nice thinking though ;).

    Frankly if I have issues with it, although covered under bumper-to-bumper insurance, I could just sell it. Wouldn't be a scam since the warranty would cover everything, just depends on whether I want to deal with it :).
     
  4. richwoodrocket macrumors 68020

    richwoodrocket

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    #4
    Why not just take the car to a trusted mechanic and have them check it out? If the seller doesn't have anything to hide they should be fine with it...
     
  5. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #5
    He is fine with it; even suggested it. It's just the stigma of owning a rental car that gets me. I'd want that as disinfected as possible. Frankly if eligible for the original warranty and extended warranty, I am veering toward purchasing the vehicle. A bit over $16,000 with the added cost of extended warranty plus taxes and fees for a 2014 sports car with a bumper-to-bumper warranty until 2020 is too good of a deal to pass up.
     
  6. richwoodrocket macrumors 68020

    richwoodrocket

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    #6

    What car is it?
     
  7. MICHAELSD, May 1, 2015
    Last edited: May 1, 2015

    MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #7
    A 2014 Mustang. A few factory goodies as well. Very good deal, but unfortunately I would expect a decent number of drivers to have pushed the car. Not all that different from having a prior owner constantly floor it and brake.

    Have decided to take the two-hour trip to see the condition in person as well as have the vehicle inspected, and if all checks out with the warranty especially then I'll probably purchase it :cool:.

    Edit: Ford confirmed full manufacturer warranty till late 2016. Still worried about the condition but the car is covered from all but maintenance.
     
  8. puma1552 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    #8
    I'm assuming based on price it's a 6-banger Mustang?

    I wouldn't touch it. I wouldn't touch any rental car - especially a fun one, no way no how.

    You save money now, but you lose the same amount on the backend when you try to sell, with the added inconvenience of trying to unload a former rental car (rental history does show up on Carfax/Autocheck). And then while you may have warranty, you still have to potentially deal with issues (time = $$$) and downtime with the car in the shop since it almost certainly has been beat to hell.

    So basically, pay more now for a non-rental, get more later, have an easier time selling, and hopefully have less to worry about as far as how the car was treated, or pay less now, get less later, have a harder time selling, and probably have more to worry about knowing almost certainly the car was driven hard and put away wet, even if it's a base V6 car.

    Honestly I'd pony up more for a non-rental, single owner car that's been cared for.
     
  9. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #9
    I wouldn't touch a former rental sports car with a 10 foot pole. You just know half of those miles are from doing donuts in the airport Ramada Inn parking lot.

    I'm saying that because I know what I would be doing in a rental Mustang. Well, not quite. It would be the airport Holiday Inn parking lot, I have a little bit more class :p
     
  10. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #10
    I once bought a former rental, and it was in great shape and lasted a very, very long time. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

    Rental companies make sure the cars get regular maintenance, keep them clean, etc. They often take better care of the car than a private owner does.
     
  11. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    #11
    As long as it's accident free, I say go for it. I wonder if rental places keep cars after a accident, even if it's only just body damage?

    A rental car might be driven hard, but at least you'll know it was serviced. Buying from a regular used dealer, you have no idea if the previous owner bothered to service it in a timley manner.
     
  12. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #12
    Agreed. I wouldn't have a problem buying a used rental car.
     
  13. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #13
    On the other hand, the only person I know with a Mustang floors his every time he accelerates. The only issues I'd check are the suspension and having worn tires from all those donuts.

    ----------

    How'd it go when sold? Mustangs are easy cars to sell so hopefully that doesn't detract too many people.
     
  14. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #14
    Check the Edmunds price as well. I find KBB to tend to be over estimate values.

    I'd be cautious buying a used rental car, especially a Mustang. Although I'm sure the cars were maintained, we all know how people treat rental cars. You can check the maintenance and accident records, check the tires and suspension, but some things you can't simply inspect.

    Aggressive driving strains the drivetrain, many parts you cannot reasonably inspect. There might not be issues now, but it could be later down the road.

    How long are you planning on keeping the car for?
     
  15. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #15
    Most likely only three years. Will purchase the full extended warranty till 2020 though.
     
  16. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #16
    If you're keeping it for 3 years, extending the warranty, and not putting a million miles, it might not be a bad plan. Especially if you're saving $7,000. As I mentioned before check Edmunds as well. Obviously if you're car shopping though, you probably know fair prices for the car.

    Keeping it within the warranty period obviously offers security, but I'd make sure that you read the fine print to see what they actually will cover. Sometimes they don't cover seals and gaskets, but a very hard driven blow a head gasket prematurely. Make sure the seller has the documentation of maintenance to ensure the warranty is valid and also if the entire warranty is transferable.

    I think the most important thing to consider here is if you should really buy a Mustang :p
     
  17. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #17
    They'll repair even badly damaged cars. The issue is that most rental agencies self-insure and may not report accidents and repairs.
     
  18. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #18
    Thanks, didn't know that.
     
  19. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #19
    Mind you, I was just pricing out the cost of upgrading to a newer car when I came across this deal. Wasn't realistically planning to purchase a Mustang, although reliability and fuel economy are decent. But then again, it's not a GT so I'm fine :p.

    I did verify with Ford that the warranty is active and transferable. That is odd that they wouldn't revoke the warranty following rental car usage but I guess they have enough confidence in it being able to withstand the abuse.

    This is all premature though as I've yet to even sell my car and the rental may be purchased before I get to it.

    Not that I wouldn't consider purchasing a rental in the future, and I'd recommend other deal-savvy buyers to do the same based on what I've read.

    ---

    Fun fact: dealers in most states don't have to disclose that a vehicle was a former rental, leaving that up to you to figure out on the vehicle report. So many people buy rentals without realizing.
     
  20. Beachguy macrumors 6502a

    Beachguy

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    Nov 23, 2011
    #20
    I've had several such cars- rentals that were sold. (Disclaimer: I once worked for Enterprise Rent-A-Car at their corporate level.) I never experienced a difference in their reliability or performance. I have one now that was a rental unit and it has been remarkably reliable. I do not know who the rental agency was.

    While there are valid questions about what has happened while they were in the field, keep in mind the maintenance on these cars is excellent. Regular oil changes, immediate repair of anything wrong or damaged (broken knobs, etc.), and kept VERY clean. With the vehicles, it is good to keep in mind who would have rented it as a unit. For example, that Impala was likely a businessman or family. The more expensive cars likely were rented by more mature people because of cost- unless $ome rich $OB rented a $port$ car for hi$ $on.

    Have it inspected carefully, and if it passed the mechanic, go for it. Next car I buy will likely be a former rental car.

    ----------

    One more tip- if it says "fleet owned" or "fleet car", it was likely but not definitely a rental. If it is "fleet owned", check to find out who owned it previously. I would avoid fleet owned cars that were NOT rentals. Corporate and government owners don't tend to give the cars the maintenance rental does and they tend to be abused more.
     
  21. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    #21
    If you're looking to save money on a sports car, look for former demo cars.

    Stay away from Rentals.
     
  22. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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  23. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601

    AutoUnion39

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    #23
    I think the saying goes "the fastest car is always the rental," or something on the lines of that ;)

    On a serious note, I'd highly suggest OP to look closely for left-over last-gem Mustangs. Most dealers still have a few laying around and they are being let-go for steep discounts to clear room for the new Mustang.

    I'm sure Enterprise, etc are good at keeping up with maintenance on these cars, but break-in was probably not followed and none of us are ever gentle with rentals/loaners.

    Hell, I had a rental (ZipCar) BMW last week with 900 miles on it and let's just say... it wasn't treated the way my own car would be treated.
     
  24. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #24
    How did selling it go? I think that's my main consideration right now. If I'm going to have to sell it for as steep of a discount then it's pointless saving the money now. But if I buy it for $7k under KBB private and only have to sell it for $2k under KBB private I'll be a happy driver.
     
  25. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #25
    We paid 7500 Euro in 2006 for an '05 and we got 4200 Euro for it when we traded it in June of last year. Our current car was a BMW corporate car so it was about 9 months old and had never been titled nor was it particularly expensive.
     

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