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The Complete Guide to Maintaining your Rented Car

The Complete Guide to Maintaining your Rented Car

When you rent a car, be it on holiday or otherwise, it can be a daunting task to keep it looking pristine for when it is time to take it back to the garage. The deposit you put down on the car is sometimes hefty, and you don’t want to incur any unwanted fines for damage.

Instead of spending the last few days of renting the car worrying about taking it back, follow the next few easy steps and return the car looking brand spanking new!

Check the car before you drive it off

Check the car before you drive it off

One of the most important procedures to take before you even set off in your rented car is to check it thoroughly for any signs of damage. This includes scratches, scuffs, dents, and any damage to the interior too. It is especially important to take note if the car is at all dirty because any dirt from the road could cause you to be unable to see any scratches which are currently on the car before you drive it away.

Once you have checked for any damage, make sure to make a personal note of everything you have found, and also ask for the rent shop to do the same. This will ensure that you cannot be blamed for any damage which was already on the car before you rented it.

Checking the car for any even slight damage is extremely important so that you don’t incur any fines which aren’t your fault. This way, you won’t be worried about any existing damages and whether or not you could be caught out by them.

Check your safety

As well as checking the car for any existing damage, it is also important to check for any signs that the car might not be safe to drive. This includes looking at the dashboard for any warning lights and checking the oil level.

The car should have already been serviced and checked for any hazards, but it is best to make sure for yourself as much as possible before you drive it off.

Before whizzing away in your rented car, you should also make sure that the car is set exactly how your own would be, in terms of seat positioning of the driver’s seat, and the positioning of the mirrors. These are all factors which will increase the safety of your driving when you’re out and about.

Drive carefully

Drive carefully

This one goes without saying, but driving carefully is equally as important in a rented car as it would be in your own car. This is because the insurance policy will work in the same way, and you could find yourself having to pay out a lot of money if anything goes wrong. On top of that, you could also be asked to pay out for any repairs to damage which is caused when you are in possession of the car.

When you are in a car different to the one you are used to, it is easy to misjudge spaces and the size of the rented car, so it is highly important to pay particular attention to your surroundings, especially when you’re reversing and driving in tight spaces such as one-way streets.

It may also take some time to get used to the clutch, gears and other controls in the rented car, so you will have to allow for time to adjust by slowing down your speed. It is also important to pay attention to the speed limits and abide by them.

Many people choose to rent a car for a holiday in a foreign country, and this is another consideration for when you are driving the rented car. You will need to consider the speed limits, potentially having to drive on the opposite side of the road, and the layout of the car being opposite to what you are used to. For this reason, it is best to drive slowly at first whilst you are getting used to the car, and to make sure you know where you are going in terms of directions too.

Refrain from eating and drinking in the car

You may well be used to eating and drinking during long journeys in your own car, or when you are at a standstill, but in a rented car, you will need to refrain from doing so, as you could incur fines from a dirty or stained interior. This is particularly relevant if the seats in the rented car are fabric, as opposed to leather which is easier to clean.

It is also advisable to refrain from other activities which you may well usually do in your car, whether at a standstill or whilst driving. Painting your nails, smoking, storing junk and rubbish in your car, and doing your make up are all things you should avoid in a rented car.

If you do happen to make a mess in the rented car, it is important to try and clear up the mess as effectively as possible so that you don’t have to pay a charge for cleaning it.

Take pictures on final inspection

Last but not least, it is important to make sure you get a fair deal on your return of the rented car. More and more often, the procedure to return your car is much like checking out of a hotel where you simply leave your keys and walk out. It can even be the case that an employee does not even check over the car when you leave it.

If this is the case, you could potentially come to a dispute if any damage is recorded on the car after you have dropped it off and you believe it was not your fault. For this reason, it is important to take pictures, or even a video of the car at the rent shop before you leave so that you have proof to show that the car was in good condition when it was returned.


If you need any further advice on caring for a car, rented or otherwise, contact us at In Town Automotive and our professionals will be able to help you.