Don't Waste Your Money: Beware of high-mileage rental cars - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Don't Waste Your Money: Beware of high-mileage rental cars

(Toledo News Now) -

The next time you rent a car, you may need to watch for different problems for which you may not be ready.

Remember when renting a car meant getting a nice, clean car, sometimes with a new-car smell? It often would have 3,000 or 4,000 miles on it, and run like a champ. Those days are over.

For Joanie Flaig, her husband, and daughter, it was to be the trip of a lifetime to Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, and the Grand Canyon. They didn't expect they'd have to make the trip in a rental car from a major agency, with a sputtering engine and worn tires. 

They Start Noticing Problems 

During one of their first gas stops, Flaig's husband "noticed that the drivers' side rear tire was completely bald." 

Flaig says they were several hundred miles from the rental counter when their Chrysler 200, with more than 45,000 miles on the odometer, starting exhibiting what The Wall Street Journal calls "middle-aged rental car" problems. 

"We were somewhere between the Wyoming-Utah border, in the middle of the mountains, with no cell phone coverage," she said, "and the check engine light came on." 

It turns out it was leaking coolant. 

"We opened it up and noticed it had less than a cup of water in it, which was hardly any coolant whatsoever," Flaig said. 

Flaig and her family managed to make it to another rental office in Salt Lake City, where they traded the Chrysler 200 for another car. 

Story Becoming More Common 
The Wall Street Journal says this is becoming more common, as rental fleets get older. 

It says low-mileage rental cars are getting harder to find, with most rental firms holding on to cars for several years.
Flaig says next time, they'll be more careful.

"We will check the mileage and if it has more than 45,000 miles, I will probably go in and say I want a different car," said Flaig.

Bottom Line

If you are unhappy with the rental car the agent assigns you, wait for another car with lower mileage. You may be glad you did. 

As always, don't waste your money.

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