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Car rental horror stories

Car rental horror stories

Old Jun 1, 11, 12:11 am
  #31  
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Originally Posted by silver-tls View Post
at Hertz in Kauai I saw a family complaining to the desk that there was a rooster in the back seat. Plenty of them roaming the highways and parking lots so not too surprising.
We could have used a rooster...maybe it would have eaten the roaches.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 7:59 am
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Ancien Maestro View Post
...not all rental cars purchased after the fact is bad... Maybe with a good AAA inspection, and some thorough diagnostics, and checkover.. you could find a gem..
Knowing how I drive rented cars, I wouldn't buy one. But I think it must depend somewhat on the vehicle type. Compact Hyundais (or similar) seem virtually destroyed by renters by 25,000 or 30,000 miles... those small cars with small engines are thrashed to within an inch of their lives. And I wouldn't touch sporty cars or luxury cars that were former rentals. But SUVs and vanilla Malibus, Impalas, etc. might be less prone to customer abuse in their rental lives.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 8:30 am
  #33  
 
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Mid-90's my brother and I rented a Taurus from Hertz at FLL. It broke down as we drove off the lot. We went back to Hertz and got another Taurus. As we drove out of the lot smoke and flames shot out of the hood! After that they gave us a Lincoln.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 8:38 am
  #34  
 
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Not so much a horror story as a near nightmare. When I was in my early twenties, my then girlfriend, now wife, were on our first major trip together in Hawaii. For the second half of our trip, we were in Kauai for a week and needed a rental car. I was careful to try and make sure that I rented from a company that did not require the renter to be over age 25; however, upon reaching the check-in counter, all of my planning was for naught. I was facing a week of being stuck.

It took all my powers of persuasion to convince the clerk to just hit the wrong button when entering my year of birth into the system
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Old Jun 1, 11, 8:52 am
  #35  
 
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1.

Was out near MSP for a friend's wedding. Rented a car from Enterprise, spent the weekend out there for the wedding and then promptly returned it before my flight out. Same guy checked me in and out and signed off that the car was fine and undamaged. 3 days later I get a phone call from Enterprise claims wanting to know how I was going to pay for all the damage to the car. Um what? All of a sudden their copy of the signed sheet that the car was returned undamaged was missing. Fortunately I still had my copy but still had to go back and forth with their claims people a few times before they left me alone. Best I can figure is that their porter or the guy who checked it in hit something after I was gone and tried to blame it on me.

Thanks to that I'll never rent again from Enterprise.


2.

In BHM I rented from Dollar/Thrifty and got the last car they had, even though the 8+ people behind me in line also had reserved cars.

Issues with the car:

- Interior was trashed
- My driver's side lock indicator/knob had broken off so they literally just screwed in a screw to act as the lock indicator/knob used to lock/unlock it
- Rotors were warped at 28k miles
- Severe knock/clunk in the steering column and WAY too much play in the steering wheel
- Really bad vibration when braking, going at speed, and turning. This got worse and worse during the rental period
- It smelled like diapers and baby wipes
- Driver's side window seal wouldn't seal all the way so there was a nice bit of air getting in when driving
- Driver's side front wheel suspension clunked/popped when driving over anything that was the slightest bit unlevel.
- Trunk latch worked 66% of the time
- The rental company gave me the car WITH NO LICENSE PLATE. Oddly this turned out to be a non issue since apparently cops in Alabama don't care.

Of all of these the vibration from the front driver's side wheel when doing pretty much anything was the most concerning. I kept thinking the wheel was going to fall off. When I dropped the car off I told the guy that it needed to be inspected and fixed since there was a seriously problem somewhere. He responded "the tire probably just needs air." It definitely more serious than that.

Thanks to that I'll never rent from Dollar/Thifty again.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 9:16 am
  #36  
 
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i had red ants once a few years ago
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Old Jun 1, 11, 9:26 am
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by schwarm View Post
One time, they tried to upgrade [sic] me to an Aztek.

The horror.
I rented one of those. Scary times.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 10:06 am
  #38  
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
Knowing how I drive rented cars, I wouldn't buy one. But I think it must depend somewhat on the vehicle type. Compact Hyundais (or similar) seem virtually destroyed by renters by 25,000 or 30,000 miles... those small cars with small engines are thrashed to within an inch of their lives. And I wouldn't touch sporty cars or luxury cars that were former rentals. But SUVs and vanilla Malibus, Impalas, etc. might be less prone to customer abuse in their rental lives.
+1..

I've become more responsible over the years.. in a rental and my own vehicle.


Originally Posted by thelark View Post
Not so much a horror story as a near nightmare. When I was in my early twenties, my then girlfriend, now wife, were on our first major trip together in Hawaii. For the second half of our trip, we were in Kauai for a week and needed a rental car. I was careful to try and make sure that I rented from a company that did not require the renter to be over age 25; however, upon reaching the check-in counter, all of my planning was for naught. I was facing a week of being stuck.

It took all my powers of persuasion to convince the clerk to just hit the wrong button when entering my year of birth into the system
Did you tip the counter agent?
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Old Jun 1, 11, 10:19 am
  #39  
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Originally Posted by jpmcdonough View Post
My own "horror" story is not all that bad but it's different.

I elected to try traveling one week from DFW to my client's office in Montpelier, VT, via Bradley International (BDL) near Hartford, CT. The closest airport to Montpelier is Burlington, a 30 or 45 minute drive, but you have to connect somewhere which lends an air of uncertainty. BDL is a 3 hour drive but it's also served non-stop from DFW, so it's more predictable.

This worked, although I could have used a little more daylight driving to Vermont. (This was on Easter Sunday). The last hour was pretty dark, and I-89 is a nice picturesque road in daylight but hard to drive in the dark.

On my return trip, I was about 30 minutes south of Montpelier on I-89, driving in light rain. I spotted a wild turkey in a field up ahead, thought how cool is that, had never seen one before. But, it was raining, and the road is curvy, so I told myself, watch the road, not the turkey.

A few seconds later, the turkey flew into the front of my rental. There was a huge bang, feathers flying. I didn't know what to think. I pulled over at a rest stop, not far away, and inspected the car. There was a dent about the size of a basketball in the hood. The car ran fine. I called Hertz to report the accident, and they asked if I was near a major city. Well, no, I'm in Vermont, there are no major cities! I elected to continue to BDL.

Please note, I had never seen a wild turkey before and did not know they could fly. I have since learned that they can fly, but not very high (duh) or very far. This one probably was crossing the road to look for love, and instead got a Nissan Versa at 65 mph.

When I returned the car to Hertz, of course they asked what happened. I told them about the turkey, and it turned out I was the second renter that day to have hit a turkey.

I decline all coverages, so am still sorting it out with my auto carrier.

I had a turkey sandwich in the bar at BDL.
Great story, but your punchline made me laugh out loud!
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Old Jun 1, 11, 5:19 pm
  #40  
 
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One time my Dad got a car in PHX and when he drove it we realized the Wind Shield was cracked.... Needless to say they determined it was broken so he didn't get charged.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 5:53 pm
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Uh Clem View Post
I had a cockroach experience as well in Honolulu years ago. I discovered the first roach in the car while driving around a curve by a cliff near Sandy Beach when a cockroach jumped up on the winshield directly in my line of view. I squashed it using a tissue while trying not to drive off the cliff. Ended up killing five or six more roaches using the tissues and stuffing them in the ash tray as these roaches were not very fast. When I turned in the car, I tossed the keys to the surfer dude in the car rental return lot and said "Hey, I left a few roaches in the ash tray for you." He replied "Wow, thanks man."
people here hav no sense of humor. that's funny!
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Old Jun 1, 11, 11:44 pm
  #42  
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Has anyone been charged for a broken windshield?

Hypothetically could one get charged for a cracked windshield returning the vehicle back to the rental company?
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Old Jun 2, 11, 1:45 pm
  #43  
 
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1. Somewhere near ATL, a guy backed into my rental. It wouldn't have been significant except the trailer hitch left a nice hole in the grill and dent in the hood. The rental was with my company's 'preferred' agency and our travel manual had specific instructions to decline all coverage.

On return they noted the damange and I provided the police report # or some such. Several weeks later, I received a letter asking for a copy of the police report. I promptly ignored it. Never heard about it again and continued to rent for 1-2 more years.

2. Recently arrived at the hotel just as the fuel warning light came on. Car was brand new with maybe 3mi on it. Got a credit for the fill-up on return.
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Old Jun 2, 11, 2:31 pm
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by Ancien Maestro View Post
Its not advised to purchase a rental vehicle after it's useful life as a rental..

We're talking about renters who may not be as careful as they would be with their own vehicle.. 100% driving the rental.. once the rental is finished.. another renter renting who may not be as careful.. in a recurring cycle for up to a couple of years..
The vast majority of people don't abuse a rental car. But a lot of people abuse their own cars by not taking care of it properly with respect to maintenance and repairs as needed, whether due to laziness or lack of funds to perform the maintenance. Most rental cars won't be driven by anyone under 25. Can't say that for the general population of cars where 15, 16, 17 and 18 year old high school kids will get behind the wheel of millions of cars every day....even before they have a license and are learning how to drive.

A rental car is maintained properly. Last thing Avis wants is one of their car's brakes to fail and kill someone so the brakes are checked routinely. Pads are changed when needed. The oil is changed when needed. All fluids are checked, tires rotated, etc when needed. That's the most important thing in a car. Has it been maintained properly? If I'm buying a used car and the seller doesn't have a full set of records, I won't even look.
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Old Jun 2, 11, 5:14 pm
  #45  
 
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So; I'm travelling with a German colleague, in Nebraska ... Dieter is driving.

We exit a construction zone and the sign says, "Speed Limit Ends"

Dieter resumes cruising at 75+. Moments later ... red lights and sirens.

As Officer Bubba approaches the car, Dieter says, "Do not speak. Not a word."

Bubba asks for his license and the registration. Dieter shifts from perfectly good
english to German with a bit of pigdeon english. He proceeds to extract a
piece of onion skin paper, 8.5x11", and hands it Bubba. Budda doesn't read
German.

In order to increase comprehension, Bubba shifts into "slower & louder" mode.
Dieter keeps nodding agreement with whatever Bubba says, "Yah, yah, yah.
LICENSE!"

Bubba says that the speed limit is 55MPH. Dieter says, "No! Sign says,
SPEED LIMIT ENDS!" They go round & round & round & round on this matter.

Whenever Bubba speaks to me, I look at Dieter, shrug, and say, "Nein?"

Officer Bubba finally let us go, without a ticket.
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