Using rental cars to steal car parts!?

Old May 28, 18, 9:05 am
  #1  
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Using rental cars to steal car parts!?

A first in my experience this holiday weekend. Have a week long rental out of OMA with National, wanted to exchange out of a SUV to a sedan/sport car during my rental and the agent said that no exchanges are allowed during a rental unless there is a mechanical issue. (I've never had issues exchanging cars at other bigger locations).

He told me this is apparently policy in certain locations because years past people would rent cars out, then steal/swap out parts from the rental car (including even an engine swap) and then come in to "exchange" the car out to a diff rental car and then returning the non-gutted rental car. And later they would discover the cars that were being exchanged were being used as a way for ppl to basically steal car parts.

Quite interesting to hear about this. Anyone else ever heard of these kinds of stories? (or if other rental car companies have similar policies?)

The creativity of the human mind can be used for so much good and evil it seems.....
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Old May 28, 18, 11:08 am
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Hertz used to "rent a racer" (Shelby mustang) back in the day. People would rent it, swap the engine and return it. Hertz didn't know to look for it and the hourly folks cleaning the cars didn't know what the engine should look like!
http://carguychronicles.com/2014/02/carroll-shelbys-v8-the-great-stolen-engine-caper/

I'm sure it's done now here and there swapping easy items (rims/tires, floor mats, etc) but all major items have the VIN etched in so I'm not sure how one could swap an engine/transmission/etc without getting caught. I'm shocked that's the reason they gave you. I've often said rental agencies should charge you based on a # of days, plus a set cleaning fee per rental (it costs them to clean a vehicle so why not charge more for 1 day vs 14). If you want to swap vehicles without a valid mechanic reason, you just pay an extra $10 cleaning fee and go on your way.

So did you make up a mechanical issue and swap the car the next day ("the check engine light was on this morning", "it makes a weird rattle at 60mph", etc)? 😋
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Old May 30, 18, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by IAHtraveler View Post
Hertz used to "rent a racer" (Shelby mustang) back in the day. People would rent it, swap the engine and return it. Hertz didn't know to look for it and the hourly folks cleaning the cars didn't know what the engine should look like!
CARROLL SHELBY?S V8: THE GREAT STOLEN ENGINE CAPER! - Car Guy Chronicles

I'm sure it's done now here and there swapping easy items (rims/tires, floor mats, etc) but all major items have the VIN etched in so I'm not sure how one could swap an engine/transmission/etc without getting caught. I'm shocked that's the reason they gave you. I've often said rental agencies should charge you based on a # of days, plus a set cleaning fee per rental (it costs them to clean a vehicle so why not charge more for 1 day vs 14). If you want to swap vehicles without a valid mechanic reason, you just pay an extra $10 cleaning fee and go on your way.

So did you make up a mechanical issue and swap the car the next day ("the check engine light was on this morning", "it makes a weird rattle at 60mph", etc)? 😋
Back in the 1980s in NYC, Hertz implemented a $50-a-day surcharge on rentals in the city. Seems some renters were taking the cars to chop shops (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chop_shop) in the Bronx, where key parts were removed and replaced with old ones. You could pretty much switch out a car in a few hours. It was a brilliant scam. I miss that New York.
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Old May 30, 18, 9:40 am
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Interesting thread as I just swapped a rental this AM for a bad Bluetooth system making the hands-free phone unusable. Well I guess that is sort of a "mechanical issue". They did it no questions asked. Wanted to give me a Ford F 150 which I declined but eventually got a comparable replacement. I have swapped vehicles out multiple time in the past for just not liking the car and have never come across this issue but perhaps the times are a changing, too bad really....

Last edited by nomad420; May 30, 18 at 9:57 am Reason: spelling error
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Old May 30, 18, 9:44 am
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I'm not seeing how it is any different than swapping the parts and then returning vs. exchanging the vehicle?

The rental company logs vehicle exchanges as well as returns.
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Old May 30, 18, 10:36 am
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If only they had a way to track the history of the car rental to know who had the car when the parts were stolen...
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Old May 30, 18, 12:03 pm
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Another example of "If criminals would only apply their smarts to something productive...."
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Old May 30, 18, 2:34 pm
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Yes this really is a thing.

I used to work with a guy who had a dodgy relative. When his car needed a new set of tyres, he’d hire the same or similar model, swap the tyres and then return it.
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Old May 31, 18, 8:21 am
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Originally Posted by Offshore171 View Post
Yes this really is a thing.

I used to work with a guy who had a dodgy relative. When his car needed a new set of tyres, hed hire the same or similar model, swap the tyres and then return it.
I've joked about that when I showed up at my mom's a few times with a newer version of her car, but never was serious about it. I wouldn't put that past some people. However, I don't see how preventing swaps is effective at combating this. If you want to swap parts on multiple cars, why can't the crook just make several short rentals instead of trying to rent longer and swap a few times?
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Old May 31, 18, 8:31 am
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You already posted this same point here:

No exchanging a car during a rental....interesting anecdote

Moderator alerted to double post.

Nevertheless, this makes no sense at all. I suspect you were talking to people who had no general clue about anything.
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Old May 31, 18, 8:40 am
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MODERATOR'S NOTE: This thread is a duplicate and can be followed in the National forum here No exchanging a car during a rental....interesting anecdote.
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