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A Year In The Life of a Rental Car

What goes on behind the scenes at a rental company?

Its such an easy process isn’t it? Pick up your rental car, sign a bit of paperwork and drop it back when your done.

But what goes on behind the scenes at a rental company? How does the car come from production line to being ready for you to use? And what does it go through during its life on a rental fleet?

Few people think to ask these questions, but having worked in the rental industry for 17 years now, I have noticed that when you talk to others about it they are always surprised at just how much work goes into providing the right vehicle at the right time for the customer.

So, here’s a little insight. Last January we put a Mini Cooper S on the fleet. This vehicle is shortly due to be de-fleeted but in the 15 months it has been with us it has been hired by 60 different people, valeted at least 65 times, been serviced twice, damaged 6 times and covered 22 thousand miles.
In short – it’s worked hard!

And in order for us to do this we have had to raise 60 different pieces of insurance paperwork, check it for damage and check and top up the oil, water and air more than 120 times.

Actually, when you consider just how much time we spend maintaining and reviewing the condition of the vehicle it’s not hard to see how well we get to know our fleet and every little scratch, chip or weird quirk of each vehicle. It’s fair to say we spend more time examining and preparing the vehicles than we do driving them!

A large percentage of our fleet are leased these days, which has the advantage of enabling us to change the fleet regularly to respond to demand and the pressures of different parts of the year. These vehicles are allocated by the manufacturers before production to go specifically to the rental market. When we are finished with them, they are inspected once more for damage, we are charged for any marks or damage that wasn’t present when they were new and then they end up either on a dealership forecourt or at a car auction.

Many people would steer clear of an ex rental vehicle due to the sheer amount of people who may have driven the vehicle – it’s certainly not “one careful owner!” However, the flip side is that the car you are buying has probably had more care and attention lavished on it than your usual second hand motor and certainly had a closer eye kept on it.

And there you have it. The life of a rental car. Food for thought next time you climb into yours!

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