Rental cars, like that name implies, refer to cars that are available for rent and are administered by car rental companies. Travelers and tourists often jump on them as they are a better and more premium alternative to public transportation.
Due to the peculiarity of the business, car rental companies put some measures in place to ensure they don’t run at a loss. One of such measures is keeping the rental cars fresh, with little mileage.
In this article, we will be looking into why this measure is so important to the business. Stay with us.
Here’s the Short Answer to Why Rental Cars Are Always New:
Car rental companies keep their rental cars new and low-mileage in order to keep the fleet fresh and vibrant. This is because renters consider cars with high mileages undesirable, and in recognition of this, companies strive to keep the fleet elegantly new to deliver a pleasant driving experience.
How Old Are Rental Cars Usually?
Rental cars available for rent at reputable car rental companies are usually about 4-24 months old. It’s very rare to find a car older than 2 years on a reputable rental fleet. If you find one, it’s probably a mistake.
While there is no written law that stipulates this, having no older than 2-year-old rental cars has become standard practice for car rental companies.
Why Do Rental Companies Only Keep Their Cars for a Few Years?
Like we have stated before, rental companies keep their cars for a few years in order to keep their fleet fresh. It is a known fact that renters often prefer to rent new cars with fewer chances of breaking down, and these companies are just trying to live up to that.
Hence, rental companies sell off about 92% of their fleets every year to maintain sparkling newness.
To run this effectively, some rental companies sign an agreement with dealerships to buy large volumes of cars short-term. They then sell the cars back to the dealerships for an agreed price, including charges for excess miles and damages.
Some rental companies also sell these cars to private individuals.
Car rental companies also keep the cars new to ensure that their competitors have nothing on them. Like we said before, renters prefer fresh cars and would happily go to another company if their expectations aren’t met.
In addition, rental companies often offer unlimited miles and customers are always keen to take full advantage of this. This means they use up a huge amount of miles within a short period. So, the only way companies deal with that is to get rid of the cars early.
How Many Miles Do Rental Cars Go Before Being Replaced?
Most of the top rental companies often target a 30,000-mile limit, after which they replace the rental cars. Selling rental cars with over 50,000 miles on the odometer is almost considered an abomination, especially for a company of repute.
However, some budget rental companies have cars with as much as 60,000 miles available for rent. They are called budget rental companies because they do not offer premium services. Hence, it’s not so much of a surprise that a chunk of their budget fleet has high mileages.
Also, if you are traveling to or touring a developing country, rental companies there might offer high-mileage cars for rent. This is largely because they may not place so much premium on mileages. All they really care about is an efficient, well-maintained car in great condition.
How Do Rental Cars Always Smell Brand New?
Well, the obvious answer is that rental cars always smell brand new because they actually are new. Like we have mentioned several times before, it’s rare to find a rental car older than 2 years on a rental lot. Virtually impossible.
And since most of these rental cars are relatively new, they also smell new. You are likely to get that “new car” smell if you are lucky enough to rent a completely new car that’d just made its way into the rental fleet recently.
Also, some rental cars smell brand new because the companies put a lot of effort into cleaning them out.
Some renters don’t take care of the rental cars, and when they return, it’s all sorts of stenches, from smoke to rotten food particles. To combat this, rental companies use disinfectants and cleaning agents, including degreasers, to restore the elegant scent that characterizes new cars.
The companies endeavor to maintain that brand new smell in rental cars because it’s a point of attraction for prospective renters. Some companies, like Hertz, have even gone to the extent of partnering with spray companies to ensure all their rental cars smell brand new.
Do All Car Rental Companies Use New Cars?
While new rental cars are like standard practice for major rental companies, not all rental companies have new cars.
Companies with old rental cars are often budget companies that do not have the credibility or financial wherewithal to keep up with yearly or biennial replacements. Hence, these companies often have cars with as much as 60,000-100,000 miles on them, and of course, they are cheaper.
These companies, however, try as much as possible to keep the cars properly maintained and cleaned up. A popular example of such budget rental companies is Rent-A-Wreck, renowned for renting out used cars at way lower prices.
Also, companies in less affluent countries often rent out very old cars to tourists and locals alike. For instance, we found someone on a rental forum who claims to have rented cars with over 100,000 miles in Honduras and Costa Rica.