The rental car business is a big, profitable sector in the auto market. It readily meets the needs of tourists, travelers, and regular people who need a quick ride to get around a particular city or state. The rental car companies are also in charge of making sure the renters get optimum satisfaction.
Given the nature of the business, most rental companies lease their cars for a specific period.
In this article, we will explore how often rental companies replace their cars, which often depends on the length of the lease agreement. Let’s get into it.
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Here’s the Short Answer to How Often Rental Cars Get Replaced?
Generally, rental companies are inclined to hold on to their cars for anywhere between two to four years. This is a way of keeping the cars fresh while ensuring every vehicle put up for rent has no more than 36,000 to 40,000 miles. Note that different car rental companies have varying car replacement periods.
What Is the Average Lifespan of a Rental Car?
The average lifespan of a rental car is about 25,000 to 40,000 miles. The rental companies get rid of these cars to add newer ones to their fleet. Rental cars also deal with lots of wear and tear due to time spent on the road, so companies just try to offload them after some time (2-4 years).
Why Do Rental Companies Replace Cars So Often?
For the regular person, it is normal to cop a car and keep it for years on end. That explains why reliable cars with a reputation of longevity are amongst the most sought-after kinds in the automotive market.
However, it is a completely different story for rental companies. They are usually looking to offload their cars often because it is important that cars put up for rentals are “fresh” and in optimal condition.
You may want to ask, “Can’t they just maintain the cars and save cost?” Well, the truth is rental cars go through an intense level of wear and tear. So much so that selling or auctioning them off is a much better business decision than routine maintenance.
Some big rental companies also have an ongoing deal with certain manufacturers in which the carmakers re-buy the vehicles. It’s considered a great deal for the companies and ultimately a win-win for the parties.
Basically, rental companies replace the cars often to keep the cars fresh, attractive, and low-mileage. After all, no renter wants a smoky, high-mileage jalopy for a rental car-especially not when you have company or family with you.
Do Car Rental Companies Buy Cars Cheaper?
Rental companies often buy cars at a huge volume, usually because of their customer base. It’s why they often have an entire fleet at their lots available to rent. Some even have different classes and categories of vehicles to satisfy the needs of their customers.
As one would expect, buying several cars at once means getting them at a discounted rate. So, yes, rental companies do get their cars cheaper than regular buyers do. That explains why they get to sell them at even lower prices when it’s time to offload.
At What Mileage Do Rental Companies Sell Their Cars?
Rental companies often sell their cars when they cross 25,000 to 40,000 miles. It’s unlikely a reputable rental company like Hertz will put up a 50k mile car for rent. However, budget rental companies can have as much as 70,000 miles on some of their cars.
The simple reason rental cars have little mileages on them is to keep the cars fresh and attractive to renters.
Do All Rental Companies Replace Cars Every 2-4 Years?
As we have mentioned before, most rental companies replace their cars every 2-4 years. The key word is “Most,” which means we cannot categorically state that this is true of every single car rental company.
There are some car rental companies that allegedly have as much as 5-6-year-old cars with over 50,000 miles on them. However, such rental companies are very few, by our estimations, and do not enjoy a lot of patronage. The lack of patronage also explains why they can keep old rental cars for that long.
Most experts advise to steer clear of rental cars with over 35,000-40,000 miles on them. That’s because one cannot count on the efficiency of cars that are that old and have gone that far.
Is It a Good Idea to Buy a Retired Rental Car?
Car rental companies often put out their rental cars for sale or auction after two to four years and a few thousand miles. These deals are often considered steals because the companies sell them at prices you won’t get anywhere else.
However, meticulous minds often question whether it’s a good idea to buy a rental car. After all, who knows where it has been and what has been done to it?
While we can’t speak for every rental car deal, below is a short list of things about such deals that will ease your mind:
1. Maintenance and Care
Rental cars face a lot more wear and tear than regular cars, which is understandable. Renters take these cars on different trips to different places for days and weeks on end, which beats the vehicles up. And they could not care less about maintaining the car even though they avoid visible damage.
However, while this might appear a turnoff, rental companies tackle the situation by doubling up on maintenance. From thorough inspection to strict maintenance schedules and timely repairs, reputable rental companies take maintenance seriously.
So, while it’s fair to worry about wear and tear, whatever rental car you are buying is probably well-maintained depending on the rental company.
2. Great Mileages
If you are in the market for a used car, the chances of getting a low-mileage vehicle at a competitive cost are pretty low. However, that’s exactly what you get when you buy a rental car.
Like we said before, rental car companies don’t keep the cars on their fleet beyond 2-4 years or 30,000-40,000 miles. So, when you opt to buy a rental car, you get the rare chance of buying a sub-50,000 mile car at an extremely reasonable cost. Talk about a steal.
Some companies like Hertz and Enterprise sometimes sell recent cars with as little as 12,000 miles on them. If you get that lucky, you might even get to enjoy the existing powertrain warranties on such cars.
3. Ease of Purchase
While the inventory is very much limited, and you may not see the exact vehicle you want, there are some goodies if you do find one. Some rental companies like Avis and Hertz allow you to take the cars for a spin, and they call that extended test drives.
This affords you the chance to inspect the car’s efficiency and drivability and determine whether you want to buy. Fair enough, isn’t it?
Besides those, we have also put together some steps to take before settling for a rental car:
- Request a vehicle history report
- Get a trusted and certified auto expert to inspect the car on your behalf
- Ask for detailed maintenance records