Do Rental Cars Need Identifying Stickers? (Explained & Checked)

Rental cars come in handy for tourists and travelers who have a need for a car temporarily. They are often rented based on an agreed fee, after which the renters have access to the cars for a specific period.

For rental companies, renting out cars is a risky business; hence, they put lots of measures in place to secure their cars. One of such measures is identifying stickers, also known as barcode stickers which are meant to give away the car’s status as a rental.

However, there have been arguments whether rental cars really need to have these stickers on them. This is especially in the light of near-unanimous assertions that thieves and hoodlums looking to rip tourists off often target rental cars.

In this article, we’ll be examining the needfulness of identifying stickers on rental cars and determining whether rented vehicles should carry them.

Here’s the Short Answer to Whether Rental Cars Need Identifying Stickers:

The reasoning behind identifying stickers like barcode stickers is so the company can conduct a scan before the car moves out of its lot. This helps them to keep track of their vehicles, and when you look at it this way, one is inclined to say rental cars do need the stickers.

How Are Barcode Stickers on Rental Cars Used?

Barcode stickers carry on them some cryptic codes containing data relating to the object it is attached to. They are machine-readable, meaning devices such as scanners can decode the information on them with a scan.

There is nothing complicated or sinister about the use of barcode stickers. What happens is rental companies put the stickers on their cars as a way of identification. That helps to ensure some precision for keeping monitoring vehicles in their fleet.

These barcodes are also alternatives to large, visible identifying marks that basically arouse menace from thieves looking to prey on tourists and outsiders. This is why they are often very tiny, hardly noticeable, and are placed at not-so-visible corners.

Meanwhile, you can probe deeper into the bumper sticker rules you must follow.

Are Barcode Stickers Required on Rental Cars?

There is no law that actually requires rental companies to have barcode stickers on their cars. However, barcode stickers are the company’s prerogative and a way of keeping track of the cars with a bit more accuracy.

As a matter of fact, the widespread use of barcode stickers by rental cars is considered a welcome development. For so long, rental cars used to carry big stickers and even normal plates, which often landed renters at the mercy of robbers.

So, while the barcode stickers are not required, they are considered the best bet for companies to take proper care of their cars when rented out.

Related: Do You Get Refunded When Returning Rental Cars Early? (Solved)

What Happens If You Remove the Sticker on a Rental Car?

Like we said multiple times before, rental companies use barcode stickers as a way of keeping track of the rental cars. The stickers are often small and they are placed at not-so-visible locations and in that case, there’d be no reason to remove the sticker.

If you do remove a barcode sticker, while there are no known heavy consequences, it could land you in some paper trouble when you return the car. This means the company could have trouble identifying the car and may keep you there longer than you intended.

However, if it’s a big large sticker, by all means, remove it, especially if you are in the U.S.

Meanwhile, there are great methods for removing bumper stickers you must know about.

In states like Florida, companies are outrightly forbidden from using stickers or marks that reveal the status of rental cars in words. In such places, you’d be well within your rights to remove such revealing stickers without any serious consequences.

Also, if you have a barcode sticker and you think the location could give away the car’s status, you can remove it and place it somewhere less visible.

On the whole, we absolutely do not advise removing non-threatening barcode stickers from rental cars. It could bring a lot of unwanted trouble, stir friction between you and the company, and may even get you fined per the rental agreement.

Related: Do Rental Cars Pay Tolls? (Solved And Explained)

What Information Does the Barcode Sticker Hold?

Barcode stickers are often placed in different spots on rental cars, including windshields, side or rear windows, trunks and door jams. When scanned, the barcode reveals information about the car, including the date of hire, agreed location, make/model, and name.

Do Cops Pull Over Rental Cars More Often?

There is no evidence that shows cops pull over rental cars more often. Rental cars get pulled over just like regular cars when cops or state troopers detect you violate speeding or traffic rules.

However, one fact remains that rental cars are often driven by tourists who are likely not familiar with the rules. Hence, they are a little more likely to violate the rules and consequently get pulled over.

Although this isn’t proof that police departments go out of their way to target rental cars.

Below are other reasons you may get pulled over, whether you are driving a rental car or regular vehicle:

Color Of The Car

Funny as it may sound, some studies have shown that those who drive bright-colored cars are more likely to get pulled over. This is especially true in the case of red cars because they only make up 10% of cars in North America and still get pulled over the second most often.


If you are a man driving a rental car, you are way more likely to get pulled over than if it was your girlfriend or sister driving. And if you are a black/brown man, especially in America, the chances are even higher.


The type of rental car you opt for could also increase/reduce your chances of getting pulled. Coupes and sporty sedans often driven by young people are more likely to get pulled over. In the same breath, family-friendly vehicles like minivans and SUVs are less likely to get pulled over.

NB: Some of these reasons are largely superficial and, in most cases, may have no effect on your chances of getting pulled over in your rental car.

To cap it all off, rental cars are not specifically targeted by police. Complying with the speed limit and traffic rules will certainly decrease your chances of getting pulled over.

Related: Do Rental Cars Get Pulled Over More? (Explained)

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