CarsDiva’s Blog

An Auto Industry Insider’s View…From A Woman’s Perspective

Archive for April, 2008

Rental Cars: Are they worth purchasing???

Posted by carsdiva on April 17, 2008

Should you buy a rental car???  Of course, the popular answer (or perhaps unanimous), would be an immediate “no.”  They have the reputation of being driven to the ground, beaten up, abused, and banged around, and overall, treated poorly.  However, I was reading an article on MSN Autos, (entitled nonetheless, Should You Buy a Rental Car), and coupled with my own experience in the car biz, this is a stereotypical misconception for many of these vehicles. (I’m not being naïve here, and yes, I have rented cars many times in the past.) 

Maintained and Less $$$$ 

Rental cars go through regular servicing and maintenance updates and typically go through a rigorous inspection from a third-party inspection company before being put up for sale.  After all, (most) rental car companies don’t want to want to deal with the hassle of an unhappy customer, or be given a bad rep in the auto industry.  They also include the remaining balance of the manufacturer’s warranty, usually have low miles, and are most often sold for thousands of dollars less than their counterparts at a dealership.  This is not because the vehicles aren’t “as good,” but if the rental car companies sell them directly to the consumers, the extra few thousand dollars are saved, which car dealers have to tack on to cover their overhead.  Also, vehicles classified as “rental cars” are often valued less than other used cars. 

Where Do I Buy a Rental Car? 

Should you buy a rental car?More and more national car rental licensees and independents are selling their off-rental vehicles direct to the public, due to the decrease in “guaranteed buy back” from the manufacturers.  (Manufacturers once upon a time used to buy back most, if not all, of the vehicles they provided to the rental car companies.)  Enterprise and Thrifty have always offered selected vehicles to the public, but now many others are doing so as well.  My good friends at Arelco (National Car Rental) in Indianapolis, Fox Car Rental in Los Angeles, Ace Rent a Car in Chicago and Midway Car Rental in Los Angeles are selling some of their cars retail, just to name a few….  And if you think buying a rental car means you’ll be stuck with a run-of-the-mill Ford Taurus, or Chevy Impala, you’re wrong.  There are many rental car companies that offer a wide-range of vehicles (think Luxury category), including BMW’s, Mercedes, and yes, even Ferraris! 

You heard it first 

You can hear about some of the positive experiences first-hand, from individuals who have purchased rental cars.  Kristin Reeves, who purchased a 2007 Ford Explorer with only 5,000 miles, said that it’s “fantastic,” and confidently states “I haven’t had any problems whatsoever.” One of the producers for Car and Driver Radio, Michael Jones, bought a 2004 Cadillac Deville and paid $22,500 for it.  He claims that at a nearby dealership the same car was selling for $31,000.  

Many Rental Car Companies offer a wide variety of vehicles.

Smart Shopping 

However, as with buying any used car, here are some precautionary tips to take before making your purchase:

  1. 1.  Obtain a vehicle history report through CarFax
  2. 2.  Take the vehicle to a trusted mechanic, and have them     thoroughly inspect the car, including the underbody
  3. 3.   If possible, take the car for a test drive first

So I leave it to you to decide if you should consider purchasing a rental car.  You have the facts- now you decide what to do.  But of course, with any (used) vehicle purchase, I highly recommend you follow the advice above—you’ll drive away with a lot more confidence!

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Tips to Save Gas…and save your extra dollars!!!

Posted by carsdiva on April 2, 2008

I came across some very useful advice today on theDailyGreen.com and thought I’d share with all of you. Given the ridiculous gas prices, everyone’s looking for a way to save a couple of cents, so I found this rather fitting. According to the Consumer Federation of America, if you follow these guidelines, you’ll save at least 20% on fuel costs. Along with each tip, I’ve included the amount you’re estimated to save according the CFA’s studies:

CarsDiva shares tips to save on fuel costs. 1. Keep it CLEAN

Did you know that you can increase your gas mileage 10% if you have a clean air filter? AND almost 25% of all cars need a new one!

Savings: $0.28 a gallon

2. Straighten out

You all know that if your tires are poorly aligned, they’ll wear out faster (especially on rear-wheel drive cars). However, they also force your engine to work harder, using up more gas.

Savings: $0.28 a gallon

3. Tune Up your engine

Don’t ignore the “Check your engine” light. One- you’ll most likely save on gas, and two- you could prevent more costly damages.

Savings: $0.11 a gallon

4. Keep them filled

Over 25% of vehicles have somewhat deflated tires, which also results in fuel deficiency.  Soo…pump ‘em up!

CarsDiva says, keep your tires filled...Savings: $0.08 a gallon.  

5. Screw it or replace it

If your gas cap is loose, broken, or missing, two things can result: 1- your gas mileage can decrease, and 2- for those of you “green” fanatics, you could be harming the environment.

Savings: $0.02 a gallon

6. Gimme a break

Slow down….did you know you can decrease increase fuel efficiency 7% if for every 5mph you slow down on the highway? (I’m gonna be perfectly honest…this is a tough one for me!)

Savings:  $0.19 a gallon, (reducing speed from 70 mph to 65 mph)

Gimme a break...(CarsDiva)

7. Smooth ridin’

Don’t slam on the breaks or floor the gas pedal (if you don’t have to). You could save up to 33% of your gas!

Savings: $0.48 a gallon.

8. Get off it

One of my biggest pet peeves…. Don’t ride with your foot on the break! Not only do you wear out your breaks, but this is the number #1 way to waste your gas.

Savings: $0.96 per gallon

9. Lose some weight

Stick to your New Year’s resolution and lose those extra pounds! (just kidding) But seriously, get rid of the extra poundage in your car and yes, you’ll increase your fuel efficiency by 1-2% for every 100lbs you drop.

Savings: $0.04 a gallon, (based on 100lbs removed)

10. Stop putzing

Keeping your car running idle causes pollution and wastes gas. (So in other words, you really don’t need to warm up your car for an hour if it’s cold out…just throw on an extra jacket and you’ll save $$$)

Savings: $0.01 a gallon, (for every 2 min you keep it running idle)

Posted in Going Green, Maintain your Ride, Road Trips, Your Money and Your Car | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »