Without a doubt, rental cars make touring and traveling a lot easier for non-locals in a city or state. To make renters comfortable, rental companies take some strong measures against certain habits within the car.
One of such measures is the ban on smoking and vaping within rental cars. Almost all rental cars have adopted this ban, and it is for no other reason than the strong and uncomfortable odor they leave in a vehicle.
While that’s an understandable move, does this mean rental cars have smoke and vape detectors? We believe this article will answer the above question and others you might have about these measures sufficiently.
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Here’s the Short Answer to Whether Rental Cars Gave Smoke and Vape Detectors:
Rental cars do not have smoke or vape detectors, and quite frankly, they have no need for them. Every non-smoker who has been around smoke can tell if renters have smoked in a car or not. There is almost always a stench in the air, which is easily detectable by a working human nose.
How Do Rental Car Companies Detect Smoke?
When you smoke or vape, there is always an accompanying smell, and this smell could linger for days on end. So, to detect smoke, all a rental company needs to do is get an attendant to check the car out and smell the insides. They don’t need any special or fancy detector machines for that.
Car rental companies can also detect smoke by looking out for the whitish ashes that linger when you smoke. Other cars with less conscientious renters make this process even easier when they leave an ashtray lying around in the car.
What Rental Cars Can You Smoke in?
In the United States, virtually all car rental companies have a smoke-free policy with hefty fines once customers breach the rule. This is because smoke ultimately gives the car a bad smell/look, which scares off some prospective renters.
Our research revealed that the story is the same across all of North America and Europe, which is understandable.
If you are going to take the risk and smoke in a rental car, get ready for huge penalties which may, in some cases, exceed your actual rental bill.
How Much Does It Cost if You Smoke in a Rental Car?
If you smoke in a rental car and you get caught, it’s no news that you are going to get slammed with some hefty penalties. While these costs vary across companies, you can expect a bill in the range of 300 bucks or more.
Smoking penalties from Budget total up to $450, and Budget says it is the cleaning fee. Hertz charges no less than $400, and so does Dollar. Avis also charges up to $450 in smoking fines. Enterprise charges $50 plus costs incurred, which ends up at about $250-$450 depending on the gravity of the situation.
Can I Know if There Is a Smoke Detector in My Rental Car?
As we mentioned before, rental companies do not go through the trouble of installing smoke detectors in their cars. That’s simply an extra, needless cost that would serve no real purpose.
Instead, they prefer the zero-cost method of sending experienced representatives to the car for sniffing and detection. These representatives will also look around the car for ashes and ashtrays and other smoke or vape leftovers.
However, if you do have a smoke detector in your rental car, you’d know. Smoke detectors for cars look very much the same, and one can spot them quite easily.
How Do Rental Companies Know if I Smoke?
Rental companies do not need to do anything out of the ordinary to determine whether you have smoked in the car. All they need to do is do a little sweep and sniffing around, after which they’ll come to a conclusion.
It’s actually very hard to get rid of smoking odor, which in turn makes it easy for these rental companies to detect. They also look around the car for any smoke ashes and ashtrays.
How Much Does It Cost if You Smoke IN a Rental Car?
Smoking penalties from Budget total up to $450, and Budget says it is the cleaning fee. Hertz charges no less than $400, and so does Dollar. Avis also charges up to $450 in smoking fines. Enterprise charges $50 plus costs incurred, which ends up at about $250-$450.
How to Smoke IN a Rental Car Without It Smelling?
In all honesty, deciding to smoke in a smoke-free rental car is one hell of a risk considering the hefty amount in fines you’d have to pay. However, if you feel you need to smoke in a rental car without smelling, we can walk you through some non-guaranteed tips.
If you are driving a rental car and you really need to smoke, we advise you to park the car somewhere safe. You can then get down, away from the car and have your lil’ smoking session without any fears or worries. Emphasis on “somewhere safe” because it’s a dangerous world out there.
However, if, for some reason, you can’t park your car for a smoking session outside of it, you can also try windows. Yes, smoking “out the windows” is a real thing. All you have to do is leave the window near to you open and hold the cigar out the window when you are not puffing.
We must warn that this method is not safe at all because, as we have mentioned a thousand times before, the smell lingers. So, even if you go through with this, you might have to pay for some extra cleaning and deodorizing before returning the car.
Can You Get Smoke Smell Out of a Rental Car Quickly?
If by “quickly,” you mean “in a couple of hours,” it might be impossible to get the smoke smell out of a rental car within that time. This is especially true in cases where you have smoked in the car without cleaning up after yourself and getting the smoke out.
Having said that, you can get smoke smell out of a rental car in less than 12 hours using the right methods and the right professionals.
Below are some tips that can help get smoke and vape smell out of a rental car:
1. Deep Cleaning With Vinegar
If you have smoked in your rental car, the deed is done, and there is no time to panic, especially if you want to escape penalties. One basic thing you need to do is a thorough wipe-down of all the hard surfaces in the car, including the windows and the dashboard. You can use vinegar for this.
Speaking of vinegar, some experts recommend leaving a bowl or two of vinegar in the car overnight to get rid of the smell.
You should also vacuum the lower parts of the car, including the carpets, to get rid of the ashes and other incriminating substances. Some drivers advise pouring some baking soda on the mats and carpets before vacuuming.
2. Do a Full Spray
From what we found online, a number of people have gotten smoke smell out of their cars by spraying it. Most experts recommend using a can of Ozium and spraying the car with it inside and out.
One of the important parts of the car to spray is the air vents because they are notorious for retaining smoke smells. To get this done, turn the air conditioners on and spray the neutralizer (Ozium) directly into the vent.
It’s better to do this and leave the car overnight because some of these odor neutralizers are borderline toxic.
Now, while it may look easy-peasy, we advise getting a professional car cleaning company to do this for you. That’s because you are up against a hefty fine and you cannot afford any mistakes as far as cleaning and deodorizing are concerned.
$30-$100 should do it, which is significantly less than the fine you are likely up against if you have smoked in a rental car.