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Old Dec 2, 12, 3:41 pm   #1
 
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Hertz rigs fuel gauge to move super slow?!

I have been having multiple issues with cars rented from SNA Hertz and I started to think it's more than just my bad luck, that Hertz is perhaps rigging the fuel gauge to move really slow, so they can bill customers for fuel even if customer fills up the tank.

I rent from SNA Hertz for work regularly. My company pays for fuel and has a policy that we must fill up the tank before returning a rental car, to avoid fuel charges from Hertz. There is a Chevron gas station at the entrance of SNA, about 2 min drive to the Hertz return lot. I would always fill up until the gas gun pops and then top off once or twice to make sure the tank is indeed full. However, even after the 2 min drive, the fuel gauge meter would still not return to FULL and sometimes can take up 30 min or more to return to the FULL position. The return attendants would refuse to mark the fuel as full even though I show them the fuel receipt from the airport Chevron that reflected more than ample amount of gas for the miles driven. I would then have to escalate to the duty manager to get the issue resolved. The return attendant would insist the car is not full but after the 30 min or longer escalation discussion with the manager, the gauge would show FULL when we re-check the vehicle. This certainly vindicates me but cost me a great deal of frustration and time and even caused me to miss one of my flights.

This issue has happened to my last 3+ rentals (of different make and model) at this SNA Hertz. My repeated escalations about this issue has caused friction between the station staff and myself. I even spoke to the station manager Ed, but he could careless, and asked what do I expect his staff to do if the gauge is not showing full. It's hard for me to argue against that but the fact the gauge takes so long to return to FULL is just a bit too convenient for his argument. I have never had a slow gauge in any of my personal vehicles. None of my friends or family had experienced it with their cars. For most of us, after you fill up the tank and restart the engine, the gauge would return to FULL or pass FULL in a matter of 5-10 seconds, not 30+ minutes.

This type of instances happen very rarely in the old days and usually ony happens to digital fuel gauges. However, this is occuring to almost all of my recent rentals at this Hertz, digital or analog gauges. I just can't imagine my luck is this bad at getting a stream of near-new car with defective fuel gauges... I even changed gas station but still have the same issue.

Has anyone else experienced similar issue as me?
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Old Dec 2, 12, 4:12 pm   #2
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Over here, I find one model of car tends to be slow at recording full however if I tell them that I have filled it up and show the receipt, have never had an issue getting it recorded as being returned full
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Old Dec 2, 12, 4:22 pm   #3
 
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I've had that problem on certain VW models at other agencies besides Hertz. I don't think Hertz can/would rig the cars.
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Old Dec 2, 12, 4:40 pm   #4
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Hertz does not rig cars, but some vehicles, as noted, just have slower fuel sensors than others. If this is becoming a routine issue at SNA and they don't recognize you're an honest customer by now (assuming you are ), perhaps it may be best to stop using this apparent lemon of a location

USAA lets me rent from Avis, Budget, and Enterprise. Does your company permit you to rent from other agencies?

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Old Dec 2, 12, 5:12 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
Over here, I find one model of car tends to be slow at recording full however if I tell them that I have filled it up and show the receipt, have never had an issue getting it recorded as being returned full
+1. Show a timely gas receipt from a nearby station at check-in and there won't be a problem.
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Old Dec 2, 12, 5:28 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dayone View Post
+1. Show a timely gas receipt from a nearby station at check-in and there won't be a problem.
I always have receipt in hand but they don't care. When I raised the issue with the station manager, he said this is the new policy - supposedly too many customers purposely not fill up all the way because of higher gas price. If the gauge is not showing above FULL mark, they will top off using their own onsite gas station and bill you for the gas even after they closed out your transaction.

My problem is bigger with my last rental - the gauge is moving so slow, it's not showing anywhere near full when I returned the car. Like it said, if I wait 30min or so, it will eventually move to FULL.

And yes guys, I know certain cars have slow gauge - I have my own list:

1) VW Jetta seems to move slow.
2) Nissan's digital gauge is very slow
3) Chevy's new instrument cluster has gauge that will NEVER move above full - the highest position is dead on the pull mark, but this station claim FULL means "above full"

The car I rented this time was a Kia Forte - this seems to be the worst! I put in 3.6 gallons until the gun popped multiple times. The car won't take any more gas but the gauge looks like only 3/4 full.

If Hertz is not rigging the gauges, then this station is certainly taking this loophole to bill extra for gas that shouldn't be billed.
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Old Dec 2, 12, 5:32 pm   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wlau View Post
I always have receipt in hand but they don't care. When I raised the issue with the station manager, he said this is the new policy - supposedly too many customers purposely not fill up all the way because of higher gas price. If the gauge is not showing above FULL mark, they will top off using their own onsite gas station and bill you for the gas even after they closed out your transaction.
That is fine then isn't it? If you have filled up just before returning it, then when they do top off, they will not be able to add anything to generate fuel costs to you

I would expect a location to charge should their refuelling show that the customer didn't refuel

Are they, as you seemed to suggest, charging for fuel regardless if the guage fails to show full on return ( despite fuel purchase receipt ) or are they saying that they will attempt to top it off to verify it?

If the latter, then I don't see a reason to be upset
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Old Dec 2, 12, 5:36 pm   #8
 
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I had this problem with at taurus it took 10 minutes to show full
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Old Dec 2, 12, 5:39 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
That is fine then isn't it? If you have filled up just before returning it, then when they do top off, they will not be able to add anything to generate fuel costs to you"
I probably wasn't clear on this topic. The top off they do is for those people fill up but stop before the gun pops and the gauge is just barely FULL, that they can still put in up to 1 gal before the gun pops. Hertz would try to catch this.... I have no issue with this because it doesn't apply to me.

My problem is car after car, the super slow gauge won't even show full, it's always well below full, even though the tank won't take any more gas... If the gauge is super slow at returning to FULL, then they will bill me the gas right when the car was returned....because the gauge doesn't show full. Like I said, it's hard to argue against that, but if they wait long enough, the gauge will return to FULL -this happened while I was escalating the issue one time. If I don't catch or resolve this and get the fuel charge removed immediately, then there is no way to prove after I leave the station that the car was returned FULL.

This issue all trace back to super slow gauge that takes forever to return to FULL after the fill up. I am just amazed that car after car the gauge is crazy slow. It defies logic... I raised the issue to the station manager that different cars have different gauges and some takes a long time to return to full and their employees should be aware of this issue on certain cars and take customers' word and receipt that the gas was filled to full. He said it's customers' responsibility to know the gauge is super slow, not his employees. Customers can't be expected to know this type of things on cars that the customers don't own. In fact, I can argue it's Hertz's responsibility to make sure the gauge is not defective.

Last edited by wlau; Dec 2, 12 at 5:49 pm.
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Old Dec 2, 12, 5:47 pm   #10
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Perhaps the solution then would be to fill up at a petrol station a bit further away from the return location
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Old Dec 2, 12, 5:57 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
Perhaps the solution then would be to fill up at a petrol station a bit further away from the return location
If it was only so easy... The problem with filling up at a farther station is that you will be driving some additional miles after the fill up. The station would then try to top off the car after they close out the receipt with you and then add the fuel charge for the miles you drove from the farther gas station to Hertz, after you have already left! This is known to happen.
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Old Dec 2, 12, 6:05 pm   #12
 
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I think it's the manufacturer, not the rental company. Nissan is the slow poke for me.
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Old Dec 2, 12, 7:04 pm   #13
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Gas tanks have baffles around the float to slowly let gas in and out, this way the gauge doesn't go crazy every time you take a corner. Some let the gas in and out very slowly, so it takes much longer to reach full.

If it' a real issue, fill up 20 miles or so before you return and top it off at the station at the airport. This way it will show full.

It's not that hertz is rigging the cars, it's how they come from the auto makers.
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Old Dec 2, 12, 7:58 pm   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wlau View Post
If it was only so easy... The problem with filling up at a farther station is that you will be driving some additional miles after the fill up. The station would then try to top off the car after they close out the receipt with you and then add the fuel charge for the miles you drove from the farther gas station to Hertz, after you have already left! This is known to happen.
Personally , I have found that up to about 15Km from filling the tank up properly still leaves it close enough to full that there is no additional charge. Maybe where you are renting is more strict but here, within 1-2 litres is fine and will still be above the full line
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Old Dec 3, 12, 5:27 am   #15
 
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Yep I always fill up about 10-30miles away from where I return it

The cars I constantly get are never fully full anyways, so I just return the favor by playing the game

This gives it time to move back up to F

I am sure they are not going to check every single car and see how much gas they can pump into it and charge every single customer

They would only do this if it's not showing F
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