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Do I Need to Check the Condition of the Vehicle When Renting a Car?

Published On March 12, 2015 | By Staff Writer | Travel Planning
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Why You Should Inspect Your Rental Every Time

When you first receive the keys to your rental car, it’s important to conduct a thorough inspection of the vehicle before you ever put them into the ignition. This allows you to assess and record the condition of the car when you received it so you can return it exactly the way you received it and more importantly, be able to prove that you did.

Damage

Most rental car agencies have a policy to evaluate their rental vehicles upon each return, but policy is not always reality. Minor defects such as fine scratches to the exterior or a small burn on the side of a seat can go undetected during many inspections, then suddenly discovered by a more meticulous eye. In this case, liability for the damage usually reverts to the last recorded rental customer.

For this reason, you should conduct your own inspection of the vehicle before taking it. Look closely at both the inside and outside of the vehicle, and be sure to take clear pictures of any damage you find. Report any damage you discover to the rental agency before you leave the lot, and ensure that the agency documents the damage to avoid any later misunderstandings. If you’re looking for car hire on the Gold Coast or any other major city, you’ll be able to perform the proper research online to find the best deal & the right car to suit your needs.

Fuel Check

Checking the fuel level when you receive the vehicle is another easy way to avoid major headaches in the future. Rental agencies keep thorough records of the fuel put into every car on the lot, and even use advanced devices to make precision measurements down to fractions of a gallon. This is because the rental agencies make a significant chunk of their revenue on fuel surcharges, which can amount to many times the current price of gasoline on the open market.

To avoid these unnecessary surcharges, be sure to record the fuel level before you take the vehicle, keep the tank filled as much as feasible during your rental period, and always put at least as much fuel as you had leaving the agency into the vehicle before returning it.

This is why fuel levels should also be carefully documented before, during and after your rental. Take a picture of the fuel gauge in the presence of an agency representative when you first receive the vehicle and maintain any fuel receipts you collect during your rental period. When you are ready to return the car, fill the car to the original fuel level or fill the tank entirely, then take a picture of the fuel gauge before you complete the return.

Damage to rental cars is often not detected until much later, and this can lead to a driver that did not cause the damage being pursued for payment by the rental agency. Documenting the condition of a vehicle before and after your rental creates indisputable proof of your responsible rental habits and helps protect you from unwarranted damage claims.

Failure to assess the condition of a rental car before driving it off the rental lot and as you return it could result in previously undetected damages being blamed on you when the car is finally inspected. An unscrupulous agency could even bill you for damage they caused because no records of your faultlessness exist. In the end, inspecting your vehicle before and after your rental period is the best way to ensure that you’re only responsible for your actions.

photo credit: Pontiac Solstice via photopin (license)

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