Car Rental

9 Things To Check Before Picking Your Rental Car

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You thoroughly need to inspect your rental car before leaving the rental parking lot.

This inspection helps you identify any visible damages and familiarize yourself with all the aspects of the car.

Before you pick your rental car, here is what you need to check:

Check the exterior of the car 

Look for any visible damages, such as dents and scratches.

If any, the rental agent should document them in the rental contract.

And if need be, you may also take some digital photos of any noticeable damages at the time of pick up and when dropping off the car. They may help protect you from unfair rental charges.

In any case, you don’t want to end up paying for damages inflicted by others.

Related: 9 unexpected rental car charges you will likely come across.

Check the inflation and condition of the tires for your safety on the road. They should not be worn out or having a shallow tread depth.

Any depth below 1.5 mm may be considered unsafe and would require replacement beforehand.

Lastly, ensure the door handles, wipers, and lights are working well.

Check the engine

To check the engine, ignite the car and pay attention to the engine’s sound for any unusual sounds.

Any unusual sounds could be a bad signal and should be brought to the attention of the rental agent.

Next, look out for any warning lights on the dash prompting you to check the engine.

Notify this or any other drivability issues to the rental agent.  

Air conditioning

Air conditioning is a must-have in a rental car, especially when going on an extended road tour.

Ensure that the fan settings are working correctly. 

Additionally, look for any odor inside the car that may trigger allergic reactions to you or your travel companion and notify the rental agent or change the vehicle.

Check if the gas gauge is full

Much like other aspects, checking the gas gauge of your rental car is equally important.

Most rental companies have fuel policies that require you to fill up the tank when dropping off their cars.

Generally, the gas tank should be full when picking and dropping off the car.

So, on that note, if the gas is not full during the pickup inspection, the rental agent should note it in the rental contract before you leave.

This means that you will not fill up the tank when you’re dropping off the car.

Lastly, find out where the gas tank is located and how to open the gas tank door before leaving.

Check the glove compartment

Most of the time, you will find the owner’s manual in the glove compartment.

The owner’s manual will be vital when you want to find how specific features of car work.

Other things you will find in the glove compartment include the vehicle registration card, rental agency address, and emergency contacts in case of a road mishap.

Inspect the trunk

Find out how to open the trunk – with the key fob, trunk lock, or from the dash.

Next, take a look at what is in the trunk.

Most importantly, ensure you have a fully inflated spare wheel, jack and lug wrench, ice scrapper, or snow brush, depending on the weather.

Check the lights 

You need to pay attention to the hazard, headlights, high beams, and interior lights.

Find out where each of the lights is controlled and how to turn them on and off.

Some vehicles have headlights that turn on and off automatically. In other cars, you’ll have to turn them on or off manually.

Check and adjust your seat and mirrors

First, you need to make sure that your driver’s seat is adjusted correctly to allow you easily reach the pedals and for a clear sightline when you’re driving. 

It is important to have a comfortable seat, especially if you will be driving for long hours.

Adjust your seat angle until you’re comfortable on the seat.

Lastly, adjust your rearview and side mirrors properly.

Check the vehicle safety features

During this inspection, check the cruise control settings. Cruise control helps control the speed, fuel consumption and prevent any sudden acceleration or deceleration of the car when driving.

One other important safety feature to check in a rental car include the backup cameras and the parking brakes.

Generally, the rental agent should show you additional safety features. You can also find more safety features in the owner’s manual.

Navigation system

Though you may have the driving map to your destination, it is worth checking whether the car has an installed GPS navigation system.

All you will have to do is to enter your destination before heading out.

Hey, I’m Rose. I’m passionate about electric cars and clean energy. My adventurous spirit and journalistic pursuits make each day fascinating and far greater. I consider traveling not just about the grandeur moments, but the little elements that transform the whole experience.