Buying a rental car

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Updated: 3/28/2003 1:53 pm
Car rental companies generally maintain fleets of late-model vehicles for rent and sell their rental cars after one or two years of use, usually either by auction, through a dealer, or directly from the rental company. Reputable car rental companies generally conduct regular maintenance on their vehicles and keep them clean and in good mechanical condition. Many of these companies inspect and maintain their vehicles regularly and replace them after only eight to 12 months. You can generally find out about the car's history by checking the title. If you have time to do so, you can contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state and request a title report giving you a complete ownership history of the car from its initial purchase. Normal mileage for a rental vehicle can be around 20,000 (twenty thousand) to 30,000 (thirty thousand) miles. If the odometer shows higher mileage, this may be an indication that the vehicle was leased to a traveling salesperson or service engineer and has been subjected to heavy use. Check the underside of the vehicle, as this can give you a good indication of the amount of wear and tear the vehicle has been exposed to. Be sure to inspect the vehicle for any evidence of bodywork or other significant repairs, which may indicate that the vehicle was damaged in an accident. An unscrupulous dealer may try to disguise the true condition of a vehicle by tampering with the odometer or using other tricks. However, with common sense and caution, a pre-owned rental car can be a real bargain.

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