If you are in need of a rental car, you know the typical options that exist. You can contact the major companies, such as Enterprise, Avis and Hertz. You may also be wondering – do car dealers provide rental cars?
Many car dealers no longer offer rental cars to the public. However, they are willing to give loaner cars to customers when your warrantied vehicle is in the shop for repairs. There are some dealerships that still provide public rentals, so it’s worth asking about.
In this guide, I discuss the reasons some dealerships won’t offer rental cars. I also talk about loaner vehicles and show you the benefits of renting from a dealership if you can find one that offers this service.
Why Don’t Car Dealers Usually Offer Rental Cars?
Usually, car dealerships don’t want to get into the rental car business because they don’t want their new cars out on the roads unless they are being test driven. Once the car has been used, it can no longer be considered new anymore. After a few rentals, it’s possible to have several thousand miles on the odometer, which could deter people from buying it.
Additionally, it’s difficult to find the employees to run this side of the business. It’s difficult enough paying people and keeping the staff focused on selling cars. How much more of an investment would it be to run a rental side of the dealership?
There’s also the possibility of customers damaging the cars. With a standard rental car company, the contracts have been perfected and the business has your credit card on file to pay for any damages. This type of setup would require a lot of investment for the dealership to work out.
Do Car Dealers Provide Rental Cars During Service?
If you take your vehicle to the dealership for service or repairs, you know that it will be properly taken care of. What do you do if the dealership has to keep your car for any amount of time?
Many car dealers will offer you a rental car or loaner vehicle while it is in service. If you have a warranty or service contract, the dealership is much more willing to give you a loaner at no charge. Otherwise, you might need to pay for the service.
Keep in mind that dealerships aren’t normally obligated to provide this service. If it’s a deal-breaker for you, it’s best to work out these details ahead of time. If your dealership doesn’t offer loaner cars, you might consider driving a little further to another location to get the service you need.
Benefits of Renting a Car at a Dealership
1. Try New Vehicles
How often do you have the opportunity to drive a brand-new vehicle? It’s probably not often. Yet, if you can find a dealership offering rentals, it’s possible to get into a vehicle that’s never truly enjoyed the road before.
During a regular test drive, you can take the vehicle out for a few miles and you have to head back. That’s not the case with a rental. You get to keep the vehicle for a day or longer, depending on your needs. It’s the perfect way to try out a model you’ve had your eyes on.
2. Nice Selection of Models
When you rent from a dedicated company, you have to choose the classification of car, but you get very little say in the actual make or model. That’s not the case if you find a dealership offering rental cars.
Most dealerships provide rentals from the branded company that they are. For example, if you want to try a Ford truck, you would look for a rental from a Ford dealership. While there’s no guarantee they have a rental of the model you are looking for, at least you can discuss it with someone and learn more about your options instead of being surprised by what the rental company picks out for you.
3. Rental Perks
Dealerships that offer rental cars typically go above and beyond to create a wonderful experience. After all, the dealer wants you to come back when it’s time to purchase your next vehicle.
For this reason, you can often get better perks and benefits that aren’t available from a typical rental car company. Whether it’s unlimited miles you can enjoy or 24/7 roadside assistance, these added perks can be a real blessing for most renters.
4. Option to Buy
When you rent from a dealership, you have options when you bring back the vehicle. If you fell in love with the vehicle while you were using it, the dealership would be happy to make a deal with you.
Talk about the options to buy or lease the vehicle. Sadly, you don’t have these options if you love your rental car from one of the major companies.
What Dealership Brands Rent Cars
If a local Toyota dealership offers rental cars, the program will be listed as “Rent a Toyota.” Through this service, you can get both rental and loaner cars. You can also choose an extended test drive option.
There are some restrictions through Toyota dealerships. For example, you will need to be 21 years old. If you love the car in the end, ask about the option to buy or lease it.
Chevy doesn’t have an official rental car program. However, you might be able to find a local dealership that will work with you, especially if you are a loyal customer.
Call around to see what’s offered in your area. Don’t forget to ask for special discounts if you qualify.
Many Ford dealerships are willing to offer rental cars to loyal customers. The best part about renting from the dealership is that you know there are factory-trained technicians on-site in case there are any problems.
Ford does have a specific program known as “Ford Rent a Car.” You will need proof of insurance to rent from the local dealership.
Nissan has its own rental offering as well. It’s called the “Nissan Rental Car” program. You can find a participating dealership that offers leisurely or business-minded rentals. You can also use it as an insurance replacement rental when your car has been in an accident.
Nissan normally offers loaner options when your car is in the shop for an extended period. Otherwise, you might be able to enjoy an extended test drive if you plan to buy a car. To reserve, you will need a major credit card as a deposit. You must also be 21 years old and have full coverage on your insurance plan.
There are some Honda dealerships that contain rental offices, especially in major cities. You can get a rental while yours is in the shop or for leisurely reasons. To do so, there are some requirements.
First, you must have full coverage insurance and a valid license. Aside from that, a major credit card will be required for the security deposit.
If you can find a rental through a Jeep dealership, you gain access to several different brands. Typically, these dealerships also cover RAM trucks, Dodge and Chrysler models. Still, there’s no set program through the company.
You will be required to pay a deposit. You also need full coverage through your insurance company to get the rental.