You might be interested in buying a car from a rental company like Hertz, Avis or Enterprise. With the car market and car prices on the rise with inflation you may be tempted to explore all options.
I'll share the ins and outs of the car buying process from Hertz. What to expect and what you need to know before you sign and drive away with your next car.
Hertz Financial Future
In 2020, Hertz was in financial woes with the global pandemic hitting many industries. In this case, Hertz filed for Chapter 11 NOT Chapter 7. Chapter 11 provided protection for the company as they worked to restructure their organization to come out stronger in the future. The good news in 2021, Hertz emerged from the bankruptcy protection and had reported excellent gains for the first quarter of 2022.
Good Reputation for Solid Cars
So with that chapter behind them, is buying a used car from their fleet a good idea?
Simply put, yes. Based on the survey, many customers who have purchased from Hertz report a positive experience. However, there are some caveats to consider when buying a used car from a rental company like Hertz.
Is Buying a Used Car From Hertz a Good Idea?
As mentioned earlier, yes. You can find a good deal from Hertz's car sales division, but you need to know a few things.
Most rentals are basic models with a few upgrades. So a fully decked out car with all the options will be a rare find. This is a good benefit since costs will be lower AND there are less things to break. While there have been some debates online on the habits of rental drivers, it seems like it is split 70/30 with the latter being the drivers that beat the crap out of rentals.
Also, you need to consider the make and model of the car you are looking at. For example, a minivan or SUV rental driver has a different perspective and goal in mind compared to a sports car or luxury vehicle.
True be told, sports cars are meant to be driven hard and fast so take that into consideration before your next purchase.
In my buying guide, I typically steer my readers from fleet sales but if you are a driver that is on a budget and enjoys the middle of the road vehicle. Hertz car sales might be a good option.
On the vehicle history report, these cars will be listed as fleet. I shy away but there are some advantages and myths that I will clear up later in the blog.
Advantage #1: Maintenance History
As a car guy, I am big on maintenance history. Hertz typically keeps a detailed record of the maintenance done on the car. Their fleet consists of newer models and come into service fresh off the assembly line. You can request a copy of the maintenance record from the Sales Team in addition to what is available on the Carfax.
Advantage #2: Highway Miles
Since these are rentals, you can see higher miles on the odometer. However, that can be a good thing especially since these miles are easy, cruising miles on the highway. Stop and go traffic wears out components faster so higher miles can help discount the price further. I personally love commuter cars since I know highways are usually easy on the suspension.
However, I'm in the NYC metropolitan area and the roads put any suspension through the gauntlet. So be aware of the location of the vehicle as a factor.
Advantage #3: Warranty
Most of the Hertz Car Sales are pulled out of the rental fleet as soon as they hit between 25,000 40,000 miles. With factory warranties still in effect until 50,000 mile or 75,000, you can still be covered by the manufacturer.
Plus, with Hertz Certified Car sales you are covered for 12 months or 12,000 miles. This does not apply to Rent2Buy, since these cars have less miles on them, which would be covered by the factory warranty.
Hertz offers a wide range of makes and models that compete directly with used car dealerships. In fact, it is said that many used car dealers get their inventory from places like Hertz. Hertz Certified Car Sales has been very popular among buyers. This means that you can expect low mileage, less overall wear and tear and often find newer features.
Hertz's fleet carries most of the major brands that individuals and families might be looking for, such as Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC. In addition, they also have Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Toyota as well.
For those in the luxury market, Hertz also carries, Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Land Rover, Jaguar and Lexus.
Why Rental Companies Sell Cars
Rental companies need to maintain a reliable, fresh inventory to ensure a great experience with customers. In addition, their bean counters need to ensure that the residual value of the cars makes sense for the business.
Having super high miles on a relatively new vehicle will tank the resale value.
So having a good balance of used car miles and fresh inventory keeps the business model running smoothly.
Are Prices Negotiable?
Hertz's prices are not negotiable. They provide competitive clear pricing on their website and do not hike up prices with dealer prep fees that the used car industry has been plagued with.
What is Hertz Car Sales?
Hertz Car Sales is a separate division under Hertz that handles their vehicle sale. It is not the same as the Rental Division but they work hand in hand with each other.
You do get a 2 hour window to test drive the car and get it looked at an independent shop. This allows you to fully test drive and examine the car you are going to buy.
There are two types of sales from Hertz Car Sales. The first is Certified Hertz and the other is Rent2Buy program, where you rent the car for 3 days then at the end of the rental you can decide to purchase the vehicle. If you do decide to purchase then the rental fee will be refunded.
Pros and Cons of Hertz Car Sales
Things to Avoid
Smoker's Car - As with any used car, I am very particular on smoke. A smoker's car can be very difficult to get all of the smoke smell out of the interior. Yes, you can get it detailed and ozoned out but sometimes the smoke and nicotine are deeply embedded in the fibers of the seats, carpet and most importantly the headliner and HVAC.
With plenty of options on the market, despite what others might say, if you are a non-smoker, be sure to check thoroughly. Heavy air fresheners or fragrances might smell ok but the smoke smell can come back in the hot sun baking the interior of the car.
Heavy Wear - Heavy wear on buttons, dash and steering wheel are a no-no to me. I personally enjoy driving a car with a fresh look. Heavy damage or scratches will not buff out. If there are wear items, I would look elsewhere since this is the best possible condition of the car, unless you wanted to invest a little money and time to replace parts. But if these are rentals that are relatively new, then it should not have any heavy wear or stains.
When it comes to buying from Hertz, you will still need to conduct your test drive and research accordingly. You can grab a free car buyers guide to get the quick tips of what to look for in your next car.
While there are camps on boths sides of the fence if car rentals or fleet cars make good used cars, it all comes down to the condition and price of the car. You now have some insights on the experience and things to look out for.