Let’s face it, buying a car can be pretty painful.
Buying new means getting a car in pristine condition — at a pretty steep price. According to Kelley Blue Book, new cars can depreciate as much as 73 percent in the first three years. After that, depreciation moderates. New cars also come with higher registration and license fees.
Buying a used car raises the question of “has anything happened to this car in the time it’s been driven by somebody else that will make me regret buying it?” This is especially true if you’re thinking of buying from a private owner. You could try to find a quality pre-owned car from a dealership, but you’ll pay more and you’ll have to deal with the haggling process.
Another option to consider is buying a rental car from an agency. Once rental cars have a certain amount of miles on them, the companies put them up for sale. And if you look in the right place, you can get a great deal on a car in solid condition.
You should perform the same due diligence when buying a rental car as you would from a dealership or private seller. That means comparing the list price with the market value of the car for sale, inspecting the vehicle for its condition and obtaining a vehicle history report. Other considerations when buying a rental car from a rental agency include:
No price haggling!
You won’t be negotiating over price. Rental car companies have other options beside selling to you, namely back to the dealer they bought they car from. Also, because they are looking to refresh their inventory, they want to sell old stock as quickly as possible and have priced it accordingly.
Rental cars can be financed!
Financing and trade-ins may be available. Despite what you may have read elsewhere, you can obtain financing from a rental agency to purchase a vehicle. And you may also be able to trade in your current vehicle to go toward the cost of your new one. Research where financing is available and the possible terms.
Warranties are available!
Take advantage of what’s left on vehicle warranty. Rental agencies limit the use of vehicles to 18 to 24 months or 20,000 to 30,000 miles. That means when your buying a rental car that the original manufacturers’ warranties are often still valid. Ask the rental agency salesperson for the applicable warranty on the car you’re interested in buying. Some agencies also provide a limited powertrain warranty.
And maybe even additional incentives!
Look for additional incentives. Rental car sales divisions sometimes offer buyers added services like repurchase agreements if they decide they don’t want the car. You might also get the benefit of roadside assistance agreements and/or vehicle service contracts.
Used rental cars represent the “cream of the crop” and are often considered some of the best used autos on the market. While they are driven by multiple motorists, they receive much more care than the average consumer-owned used car.