Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

4 Essential Things to Know Before Renting a Car

car rental

When it comes to renting a vehicle, there are a number of questions that immediately arise – especially when the person behind the counter starts trying to get you to add a bunch of things to the bill. The following are four essential things to know before renting a car.

Fueling Considerations

Nearly every car rental employee will try to convince you to prepay for gasoline, and we know, it does sound tempting. After all, that’s one less stop you have to make. However, the rates for prepaying are considerably higher than what you’ll pay on your own at the pump. Additionally, make sure you pay attention to the gas stations in the area as you leave to save yourself from ridiculous charges if you return it with less gas than when you picked up the car.

Paying for Insurance

Before you pay for insurance on a car rental, check your own first. In most cases, your car insurance will cover you in any vehicle you have permission to drive, thus making the agency’s insurance unnecessary. There are also some credit cards that offer protection when used for renting a car as well. Make sure to check your policies before you head to the counter so you know whether you need their insurance or not.

Don’t Ignore the Inspection

While you may be tempted to jump right in the vehicle and take off, take the time to do a thorough walk around to check for any type of damage. If you see even a small scratch, point it out to the employee so it can be noted. Failing to do this could result in you having to pay for damages that were already there when you took the car. If an employee isn’t walking around with you, take photos or a video with time and date stamps so you have proof the damage was there.

Ask About Upgrades

When renting a car, you should consider reserving a vehicle a step down from what you actually want. When you arrive at the rental location, you can ask about upgrades. If the location is busy and inventory is low, you might just find you get a free upgrade to the vehicle you wanted in the first place.

Renting a car doesn’t have to be overly expensive. Taking care to follow these tips will help ensure you don’t sign up for a much higher bill when you make it back to town.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem What the P0121 code means P0121 is a generic OBD-II code which indicates that the Engine Control...
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...

Related questions

Q: Advice on buying a car with hail damage

Realize that hail damage is just pieces of ice falling down on the car and denting the heck out of everything. It may look horrible but the actual hail itself doesn't damage the car. So as long as it runs...

Q: What causes rear suspension damaged out of sudden without hitting on anything, accident nor high speed bump?

The only common issue I found for the rear suspension is that the rear axle joints are prone to failure. Other than that problem there are no recalls or bulletins for anything else. If the problem was an axle then...

Q: A lot of damage, shops are backed up, mostly wondering if I'm possibly looking at a totaled vehicle.

You will likely need to get at least 3 different estimates on the vehicle to have a good idea of the costs. This way you can go to the insurance company with a fair estimate of the cost to repair...