If you want to buy a used car, you generally have two choices: either buy from an individual, or subject yourself to the pressure tactics of a used car dealership. Either way, it can be tough to know if the car you’re buying will be reliable, or even if you’ll get a good deal and save money.
But there is a third way to buy a used car that few people know much about. You can buy a used car from a car rental company, with all of the benefits of buying through a car dealer, but at a lower price and far less of the hassle.
Here are some of the advantages to buying a used car from a car rental company:
Lower Prices Than Car Dealers
Probably the main reason this is true is because car rental companies are not car dealers. That means they don’t have an army of commissioned sales people, they don’t have multimillion dollar advertising budgets to sell the cars, and they don’t have to be open seven days a week to accommodate retail customers. It’s more of a backend operation – a secondary part of the car rental business.
That lack of dealership overhead is why they can sell their cars for less money. Also, since car rental companies buy fleets of cars at the time, they typically get volume discounts. This enables them to sell the car to you for less money than a dealer could.
In addition, the rental companies have to replace the car fleet a regular basis. Once a car reaches about two years old, it has to go and be replaced by a new vehicle. Car rental companies also sell their cars in fleets. That means they will have cars to sell, and a whole bunch at a time.
Their purpose in selling cars is not to make a huge profit, but rather to recoup at least some of the money paid for the vehicles, so that they’ll have the capital to buy new ones to rent out – which is their primary business.
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More Cars and More Options
One of the disadvantages of buying a used car is that you are often buying a one-of-kind vehicle. This is especially true if you are buying from an individual. If you don’t like the color of a vehicle, or it doesn’t have power windows, you won’t be able to look at another model that has the options you want. This is even true with car dealers who sell used cars. Though they may have a lot of cars, it’s unlikely that they have a whole fleet of cars of the same make, model and price range you’re looking for.
Once again, car rental companies buy cars in fleets, which is to say that once they sell them, they will likely have them available with various options. Sometimes, you may decide to buy one car over another simply because you prefer the way it feels and drives – even if it’s essentially the same car as another you test driven. You may have that option with the car rental company.
A Reliable Vehicle Maintenance History
Car rental companies have vehicle maintenance protocols. They need to have them in good working order. Since each car represents a cash flow, an impaired car will represent lost revenue to the company.
Whenever you buy a used car, one of the biggest issues is how well the vehicle has been maintained by the previous owner. This is true whether you buy directly from an individual, or if you buy the car off a dealer lot.
You may even have the benefit of an extended test drive period by buying a car from a car rental company. Hertz has an interesting program in this regard, called the Rent2Buy program. Under the program, you can test drive the car for three days in order to help you decide whether or not to buy the car. They will charge you a rental fee for the three days, but if you buy the car, they’ll waive the rental fee.
Three days will give you enough time to test out the car, to determine if it’s a good fit for you, and even have it checked out by your mechanic. That will remove much of the doubt that often accompanies buying a used car.
“Dealer Financing” and Even Extended Warranties
Another of the disadvantages in buying a used car from an individual is that you are solely responsible for getting your own financing. The car seller is not a dealer, and therefore has no tie-ins to lenders who might offer advantageous programs.
Car rental companies typically have financing sources available. While they don’t guarantee that you can get a loan, they will use their connections to get you the best auto financing possible.
Another car dealer-like benefit are extended warranties. Cars typically come with whatever time is remaining on the original purchase warranty, but the company will often add additional coverage.
Oh, and one more thing car rental companies offer that individual car sellers can’t: accepting your car as a trade-in. At least some of the car rental companies offer this benefit.
A User-Friendly Sales Process
This might be the best part of buying a car from a rental company. You simply have to go to the company’s website, and look for car sales. Since virtually every car rental company has to get rid of the cars sooner or later, they typically have a dedicated webpage for car sales. Everything you need to know will be on that page.
There are no commissioned salespeople to deal with, no prices to negotiate, and no high pressure sales shops. You can arrange the details on the website, and then complete the transaction at their car sales sites.
If you don’t feel like paying the high cost of new cars, but you’re unsure about the reliability of buying a used car, be sure to check out car rental companies and see what they have available. Since there are several car rental companies, you should be able get a wide variety of vehicles to purchase by checking them all out.
Have you ever bought a car from a car rental company?