It’s convenient to rent a car yet it’s not a touch-and-go process. If you want to be safe on the road and ensure there are no surprises regarding the bill, there are a few things to consider before leaving the lot. Make a list and check off the boxes before settling in the seat and taking off from the lot.

Potential Damage

Rental agents account for every scratch and ding. It’s their job to thoroughly check each vehicle for damage when it leaves and returns to the lot. However, it’s in your best interest to meet and exceed the diligence of the representative. If you leave the lot with a car that has damage that went unnoticed, you may be responsible for paying for it upon your return. Go around the inside and outside of the car with the dealer, and record any damage by taking pictures or video with your smartphone.

Rental car

Driving Issues

The outside aesthetic of the car is your concern, yet a number of renters don’t think about starting the car and allowing it to ‘warm up’ in the presence of the representative. There may be an issue related to a noise or how the car rides and performs. You don’t want a fault with the vehicle to be a catalyst for an accident. If you’re hurt or injured due to rental agent or another driver’s negligence, contact an Aurora car accident and personal injury lawyer. Go to for additional information. Again, if you leave the lot without the rep’s awareness of the problem, you may be responsible for having the car repaired. Turn on the heater and air conditioner; check the function of the wiper blades and defrost; and, see if the lights and signals are working correctly.

Spare Parts

It’s easy to forget the emergency essentials when renting. For example, blown tires rarely happen yet you don’t want to be the exception in this case, especially if you’re heading to a special event such as a wedding or business meeting. Check the trunk for the spare tire and make sure it’s in good shape. Next, ensure that the essential tools for changing the tire are present; sometimes these tools mysteriously disappear from rental cars.

Test Drive

Take the car for a quick spin around the rental lot. Firstly, it will provide you opportunity to detect any issues with the tires, handling, engine, etc. Secondly, it will make you more familiar with how the car drives, turns, accelerates, brakes, etc. You don’t want to wait until you pull out onto the highway to get used to the nuances. Lastly, remember to adjust the mirrors. It seems obvious, yet never needing to do it in your own vehicle makes it more likely you’ll forget upon hopping in a rental car.

Oil and Odometer Check

Check to see when the last time the oil was changed on the vehicle. While a related mishap may not be your responsibility, the inconvenience of dealing with a stalled vehicle will be entirely yours. Moreover, notice the odometer. Vehicles that have more than 30,000 miles are considered ‘used’ when it comes to rentals. Be skeptical of vehicles with a lot of miles and opt for one with fewer miles.

Jade Perkins is a stay at home Mom who enjoys sharing her thoughts online in discussion groups and through article writing. Having recently had a lot of experience dealing with car hire companies she is concentrating on sharing her practical pointers to help other drivers get a good deal whether at home or abroad.


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