You can buy a used rental car that was once a fleet vehicle for a car rental company. However, just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should. We cover the risks of taking on a vehicle that was once a rental.
Used Rental Cars
Yes, you can buy a used rental car that was once owned by a rental company. Vehicle rental agencies can sell their fleet of used rental cars directly to consumers or to dealers, usually through auctions. However, be advised that used rental vehicles have branded titles, labeled “fleet,” which can make finding a lender challenging.
A car with a branded title means that it isn’t clean, and the vehicles probably haven’t gone through major accidents, experienced flooding, or been rebuilt after an accident. While a branded title car can be less expensive on average than a similar clean-titled vehicle, their overall value is usually less because they carry more risks of problems down the line.
Where to Find and Finance a Fleet Vehicle
Franchised dealerships won’t typically buy or sell a car unless it has a clean title. To get your hands on a used rental vehicle, seek out a rental car company that’s selling them directly to consumers, visit an auction, or find a private seller with a listing. Some independent dealers with in-house financing buy fleet vehicles at auction, then list them on their lot, too.
As far as financing goes, some auto lenders may not care too much about the car being branded a fleet vehicle, since they may be more concerned about the car’s history and its market value.
They’re often hesitant to approve financing for a vehicle with a rebuilt or reconstructed title, but they may be OK with a fleet car. However, lenders vary, and many may be wary of financing a used rental vehicle – you may have to visit a few different lenders to get the financing you need.
If you’ve found a fleet car and you want to take it home, hold your horses, as it could be a risky endeavor.
Concerns and Precautions With Used Rentals
If you’re considering a branded title vehicle for the lower selling price, you may want to reconsider – there are risks involved with investing in a car that has some baggage.
A common concern with rental vehicles is that they’ve been misused or handled roughly. It could be true, but the car could be in good shape – it varies greatly. Many vehicle renting agencies have precautions in place to keep their rentals in good, working order. However, drivers behind a rental are likely to be rougher with the car, since it’s not their responsibility.
Before you sign the dotted line on that rental vehicle’s title, request a vehicle history report. Many rental cars can have comprehensive service records, too. You can also have the vehicle inspected by an independent certified mechanic. Most reputable dealerships are more than willing to allow you to get the car inspected, but if they’re reluctant to allow it, consider it a red flag.
When you’re thinking about purchasing a rental vehicle, don’t forget about the test drive. Touch and test everything, and keep the radio turned down so you can listen to the car run. Try taking it on roads that are similar to the ones you drive every day, and also make sure to get it up to speed on the highway. Check the tires, oil, and interior – you can’t be too thorough with a used vehicle.
Another thing to keep in mind with fleet cars is that some insurance companies can be hesitant to approve coverage for them. Those that can offer coverage may charge higher premiums, or refuse to cover the entire value of the vehicle in the event of an accident/collision.
A basic form of auto insurance is required in nearly every state for cars on the road, so be sure to talk to a few different insurance companies before you take delivery of a used rental vehicle.
If a Used Rental Car Sounds Too Risky …
If you’re worried about the possible complications that a rental car could bring on, then a regular used vehicle could be more in your wheelhouse.
If you purchase a car from a reputable dealer, chances are they’re only going to offer clean title vehicles. However, shopping with a reputable dealership may mean having to get auto financing from a traditional lender. If you have less than perfect credit, getting approved for a car loan can be difficult. However, you have more bad credit lending options than you’d expect.
There are dealers with special finance departments that specifically work with bad credit borrowers. You don’t have to settle for a clunker or take on a risky, used rental vehicle just because your credit score is suffering.
Here at The Car Connection, we’ve created a network of dealerships that spans the whole country, and we can look for one in your local area with the lending options you need for your next car. Get started right now by completing our free auto loan request form.