Surprising Reasons to Buy a Used Rental Car

Deals on former rentals are tempting if you can get past the stigma.

What if we told you that you could buy a meticulously maintained, late-model used car for less than you'd pay at a dealership? Just one catch: You'll be buying a vehicle that has spent its previous life as a rental car.

Some see that as a deal-breaker. Who knows how many people drove it? And how they drove it? Did it ever get airborne? But if you can get past the stigma, buying a used vehicle from a rental fleet could translate into savings. Here are three reasons why:

First of all, the cars are well taken care of, maybe better than most. Think about it: If the check-engine light is on, that car can't go out for a rental and is costing the company money. So rental companies are motivated not just to follow the service schedule, but to nip problems in the bud. Those rental agencies that sell to the public also say the ones available to us are carefully inspected and the cream of their crop.

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Secondly, while abuse does happen, the potential for your purchase to be actually damaged isn't that high. Hertz, Avis, Budget and Enterprise all offer third-party reports on their cars’ histories. And cars these days are tough. A few tire-smoking launches won't kill them.

Finally, several of these companies offer an interesting twist: You can rent the car you might want to own for a few days as an extended test drive. Make sure the car fits in the garage. Make sure you rear end fits the seat. If you buy, the cost of the rental is deducted from your purchases price.

Intrigued? Read more about buying a used rental cars.

David Muhlbaum
Former Senior Online Editor

In his former role as Senior Online Editor, David edited and wrote a wide range of content for With more than 20 years of experience with Kiplinger, David worked on numerous Kiplinger publications, including The Kiplinger Letter and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. He co-hosted  Your Money's Worth, Kiplinger's podcast and helped develop the Economic Forecasts feature.