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Car rental horror stories

Car rental horror stories

Old Jun 7, 11, 3:42 pm
  #61  
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Originally Posted by MarqFlyer View Post
Could've been worse. I was once stuck with a strange car/truck thing called a Chevy Har Har, or something like that. I kept thinking that they must have named it that because they laughed at anyone who drove it off the lot....
Ah yes the infamous HHR (stands for Heritage High Roof). It was Chevy's answer to the PT Cruiser and amusingly, it outlasted it. I had to rent those to customers as "SUVs" when I worked at Enterprise and we were short on cars. I know very few people who liked it. I love your joke though.
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Old Jun 7, 11, 9:09 pm
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Originally Posted by planemechanic View Post
They claimed I put gasoline in their diesel engine and ruined the engine. I had fueled the day before and still had the receipt showing the correct fuel.
I thought the fuel pump nozzle size varied on each type of fuel and thus makes it hard to use the wrong fuel in some situations.
One rental we had and the nozzle wouldn't fit in the tank opening...made me realize I was about to pump the wrong fuel.
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Old Jun 7, 11, 11:21 pm
  #63  
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Was pumping gas today..

and this thread made me remember to double check I'm not pumping diesel into the tank..
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Old Jun 8, 11, 9:29 am
  #64  
 
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
Ah yes the infamous HHR (stands for Heritage High Roof). It was Chevy's answer to the PT Cruiser and amusingly, it outlasted it. I had to rent those to customers as "SUVs" when I worked at Enterprise and we were short on cars. I know very few people who liked it. I love your joke though.
Enterprise gave me an HHR once, and the guy actually apologized to me because it was all they had left and offered to swap it out for me later in the week (it was an insurance rental, so I was keeping it indefinitely).

Side note on that, when I returned the car they ended up having to do a bunch of extra paperwork because the other Enterprise location in town had accidentally fat-fingered a keytag and re-rented the car (in the computer) to somebody else. I still wonder how long it would have taken them to track it down if I hadn't returned it for some reason.
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Old Jun 8, 11, 12:47 pm
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Skeeter.gogo View Post
I thought the fuel pump nozzle size varied on each type of fuel and thus makes it hard to use the wrong fuel in some situations.
One rental we had and the nozzle wouldn't fit in the tank opening...made me realize I was about to pump the wrong fuel.
While this is true, we had somebody rent at my location who used a filter to put the diesel fuel in the gasoline engine. Instead of wondering why the nozzle wouldn't fit, they chose to force it in. It did indeed damage the engine.
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Old Jun 8, 11, 2:19 pm
  #66  
 
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Originally Posted by marklyon View Post
A friend worked for one of the more enterprising car rental chains when we were in college. She warned me against buying a used rental. Her specific objection was lack of maintenance. Their airport location would routinely send cars needing service to other locations or rent them to people doing one-ways.
Thinking about this, all but one of my shoddiest rentals so far have been one-ways. The one that stands out the most is the Dodge Stratus I once rented from Budget at OAK to drop off at BUR. It had such a horrendous vibration in the steering column that I had to take off my wristwatch because the rattling was driving me crazy. For most of the trip I ended up driving with one hand and alternating arms to give the other a rest.

My biggest problem with a non-one-way so far was a PT Cruiser whose fuel pump spontaneously decided the new top speed of the car was going to be 40 MPH--which might not have been such a huge concern had I not been in the left lane of I-95 at the time.

Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
Ah yes the infamous HHR (stands for Heritage High Roof).
Based on its looks I always thought it stood for "Hybrid Hearse/Roadster," but I suppose Heritage High Roof makes slightly more sense from a marketing standpoint. The best thing about that car IMO is that it makes every other rental's blind spots seem refreshingly teeny by comparison.
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Old Jun 8, 11, 6:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Skeeter.gogo View Post
I thought the fuel pump nozzle size varied on each type of fuel and thus makes it hard to use the wrong fuel in some situations.
One rental we had and the nozzle wouldn't fit in the tank opening...made me realize I was about to pump the wrong fuel.
The diesel nozzle is too wide to fit a gasoline intake BUT a gasoline nozzle will fit into diesel engine. (As gasoline engines are far more prevalent than diesels, this prevents the more likely mistake of putting diesel in a gas engine.)
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Old Jun 8, 11, 9:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Mr. Vker View Post
The diesel nozzle is too wide to fit a gasoline intake BUT a gasoline nozzle will fit into diesel engine. (As gasoline engines are far more prevalent than diesels, this prevents the more likely mistake of putting diesel in a gas engine.)
plus a diesel will run on gasoline, albeit not very well.
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Old Jun 8, 11, 11:57 pm
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Mr. Vker View Post
The diesel nozzle is too wide to fit a gasoline intake BUT a gasoline nozzle will fit into diesel engine. (As gasoline engines are far more prevalent than diesels, this prevents the more likely mistake of putting diesel in a gas engine.)
Good to know.^

I've been a bit concerned pumping diesel into a gasoline engine, for the last gas fill up.
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Old Jun 9, 11, 8:58 am
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I've had to re-circle several rental lots during my career, being quick to complain about condition and operating issues, but the worst was years ago in Lafayette, LA, a couple of weeks after a hurricane that wreaked its wrath along a stretch of the Gulf Coast from S. Louisiana to West of Houston. I should have been suspicious of "We've a nice upgrade for you!" (company unnamed, but it starts with an "N"). The pristine white LeSabre w/Texas plates turned out to be a survivor of an extended period in a lot covered with 18" of water. The tipoff was the squish from the floor mats, but the ripe aroma of tidal marsh blowing from the AC was even more noticeable.

Fortunately, the hospitable yet naturally conniving nature of South Louisianans (even at car rental desks) triumphed, and the staff, satisfied that the original con-job had failed, tried to sell me on taking an econo-bucket, but ended up giving me a far grander machine, after I had hinted that I would likely pursue a grand and public "I'll have your guts for garters!" approach. I drove off in an even more luxurious Buick in which good fortune had left only the trunk modestly waterlogged, so than when driven fast the taint of the dismal swamp didn't reach the driver's seat. Smarter or earlier renters had cleared the lot of high clearance (likely less wettened) SUVs before my late evening arrival.

I note that I (and most others) will settle for less in the late evening, just to get on our way.
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Old Jun 9, 11, 3:26 pm
  #71  
 
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Originally Posted by marklyon View Post
A friend worked for one of the more enterprising car rental chains when we were in college. She warned me against buying a used rental. Her specific objection was lack of maintenance. Their airport location would routinely send cars needing service to other locations or rent them to people doing one-ways. Once at the new destination, it was a toss up as to whether they would get timely service or be sent somewhere else.
I did some consulting work a few years back for a known agency. To be fair, the people at headquarters were very much concerned about fleet maintenance, asset value and liability likely the biggest factors.

Poorly thought out accounting procedures probably gives the individual stations an incentive to 'defer' maintenance though.
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Old Jun 9, 11, 6:26 pm
  #72  
 
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Many years ago I had a reservation for a full size car, but when I got to the rental agency they were totally out of cars because there was a large convention in town and they were late returning their cars.

The only vehicle they had left on the lot was a 9 passenger Ford van, so it was take this or go back to the airport and take my luck with other rental agencies. The rental agency offered me the van at the same rate that I had reserved the car for and since I was not going to put that many miles on the vehicle, I decided to take the van.

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Old Jun 9, 11, 9:58 pm
  #73  
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Originally Posted by boatseller View Post
I did some consulting work a few years back for a known agency. To be fair, the people at headquarters were very much concerned about fleet maintenance, asset value and liability likely the biggest factors.

Poorly thought out accounting procedures probably gives the individual stations an incentive to 'defer' maintenance though.
I agree..

and the drive for the biggest bottom line is an incentive for employees.. to overlook the details of maintenance as well..
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Old Jun 13, 11, 2:38 am
  #74  
 
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Where to start....

I may be one of the unluckiest renter!

Hertz DC - Rented a Mercury Grand Marquis, drove to office car park and couldn't get out of the car, it locked me in. Climbed out of the window, which then shut itself leaving my luggage inside. Remote wouldn't open the car so had to call out recovery. Taken back to National Airport and given Lincoln (can't remember what type, but about size of Taurus). Now driving to Dewey beach on a nice warm day, so of course the car will switch on the heated seats and refuse to run the AC. So now diverted to Baltimore Airport where the rental agent told me this was the second car I had had in just one day! I thanked him for pointing that out. Wasn't the slightest bit sarcastic. He then gave me a Volvo XC70. That car was perfect.

Alamo Orlando - Rented a Trailblazer, rear glass fell out on 192. Rented a Olds Silhouette with the electric doors. Had to drive back to airport with them randomly opening and closing on the I4. Yes, to any other roaduser I was well aware of the gaping hole behind me!

Alamo Miami - Buick Century. Nuff said.

London, UK - Guy Salmon (remember them!) delivered an Opel Carlton to my office. My parking bay was number 4. Between bays 4 and 5 was an small area for motorbikes. Bordered by two concrete columns. So where did the delivery guy put the car? Wedged in between the two columns. He couldn't get out and we had to call the rescue services to drag the car out.
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Old Jun 13, 11, 4:43 am
  #75  
 
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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..
Bit late to the thread, but it makes a great read!

The comments on the advisability (or lack thereof) of buying used rental cars made me think of this:

Originally Posted by P J O'Rourke
Even more important than being drunk, however, is having the right car. You have to get a car that handles really well. This is extremely important, and there's a lot of debate on this subject about what kind of car handles best. Some say a front-engined car; some say a rear-engined car. I say a rented car. Nothing handles better than a rented car. You can go faster, turn corners sharper, and put the transmission into reverse while going forward at a higher rate of speed in a rented car than in any other kind. You can also park without looking, and can use the trunk as an ice chest. Another thing about a rented car is that it's an all-terrain vehicle. Mud, snow, water, woods you can take a rented car anywhere. True, you can't always get it back but that's not your problem, is it?
Excerpted from the essay "How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink"

I'll have to calm my nerves before I post any of my hire car horror stories, but, in the meantime, you can imagine the problems I have with the additional driver coverage!



Willard the Bear - Left hand down a bit....
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