Should You Buy a Used Rental Car from Hertz Car Sales?

pros and cons of buying a rental car
Photo courtesy John Lloyd via Flickr. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

Ever think about buying a former rental car? I did a little research on the subject and found that there are many pros and cons of buying a rental car. Let’s delve into the idea of a considering a rental vehicle from Hertz car sales.

The basic premise behind buying a Hertz rental car is this: You purchase a late model vehicle, which is about 1 to 2 years old and averages about 30,000 miles on the odometer, for auction price.

Hertz sells their rental vehicles to the public at auction price to save them money. They don’t have to transport the car to the auction, nor do they have any auction fees to contend with.

This also serves as a branding tool for their business. They sell a reliable, used car that costs way less than the Kelley Blue Book value, and the customer will, more than likely, think of Hertz if they need a rental vehicle in the future.

This program has been around for awhile and went under the name Hertz Rent2Buy but is now under the name Hertz car sales program.

The program allows the potential car buyer to rent the vehicle for three days and inspect it, drive it, and determine to buy it. If you decide to buy it, the rental fees will be waived.

Hertz does offer no haggling so don’t expect to get negotiate on price, but you will find that Hertz car sales financing is available for almost every budget.

But don’t expect to drive into your a small Hertz rental store and expect to buy a car off the lot. Currently, there are 32 stores that offer Hertz used cars for sale.

Pros and cons of buying a rental car from Hertz

A purchase from Hertz means you are not buying a used rental car from a dealership.

The price of a rental, without a middleman, is substantial lower than what you would expect to pay for a used car off the dealer lot. Hertz marks them down thousands lower then the Kelley Blue Book price, which can make for a good deal on a newer car. You can also find Hertz car sales coupons online at Retailmenot and Fatwallet.

Vehicle selection, though, may be slim picking if you want a specific make, model, and color, with specific options. But most vehicles will have the amenities that you desire and will range in mileage from about 12,000 to 50,000 miles on the odometer.

Vehicles with 50K, especially one that is 1 year old, may have a lot of mileage for the year, but you do have the option of finding one that does have lower mileage and is in better overall shape.

The Hertz car sales warranty is 60 day or 2,000 mile limited warranty, but the original factory warranty will usually apply still, if you buy a car with low mileage.

One thing to keep in mind is that you get three days to test drive the car during the rental period. Use it wisely. Get groceries. Pick your kids up at school. Drive on the interstate. Put the vehicle through its paces and see how it performs in your daily life.

You will also want to take the vehicle to a trusted mechanic, who can tell you the condition of the

vehicles consumable parts — like the brakes and tires. Your mechanic will also be able to look at suspension components and tell you if there has been any structural damage to the vehicle.

Because not all car rental agencies report all minor accidents, a CARFAX report may not pull up if the vehicle was in a small fender bender. A mechanic will be able to tell by looking the vehicle over thoroughly.

Many people stereotype and think a rental vehicle is not a reliable car to buy used because a rental car is abused. That’s not always the case. Many people, especially company execs, rent a car and are very careful; their jobs could be at risk if they mistreat the vehicle and their company has to pay for it.

The only real issues are the cosmetics of the vehicle. There may be a few dings and scratches, but you will be looking the vehicle over and be able to see where they are before you purchase.

Buying a car from a rental company

You select the make, model, and color of car you are thinking purchasing through Hertz’s website and book a three day test rental.

You will receive a confirmation message from Hertz, which will provide the pick-up date, time and address — along with the current car mileage and minor scratches or dings on the car.

Once you pick up the vehicle, you’ll have a full three days to put it through its paces, without a salesperson in the backseat.

If you don’t decide to purchase, all you need to do is return the car to Hertz and pay the rental charges. But what if you are impressed and want to buy it?

You will want to visit Hertz’s website and select the purchase car feature. You will receive financing information and will be able to submit info online. You will also receive a call from Hertz who will explain the purchase process and financing options.

The fun of buying is now over and the paperwork will begin in earnest. Hertz will FedEx the paperwork and note for you what needs to be signed. Unlike buying at a dealership, you will have time to read the papers.

You will have to make a down payment on the vehicle, which is the easiest, or pay it off in full. Once the payment is received, your rental period stops and the fees are waived. About a month later you’ll have new license plates and be well acclimated to your new vehicle.