Don’t Make These Common Car Rental Mistakes | Travel convenience store
Please don’t do what Richard Rubin did to his rental car this summer.
When he picked up his midsize sedan from Enterprise in Granada, Spain, an agent showed him that the fuel tank lid was spring-loaded and said the car was consuming gasoline. But when Rubin discovered the vehicle wasn’t big enough to accommodate three passengers in the back seat, as described on Enterprise’s website, he requested a van.
“The officer tapped on the fuel tank lid again to show me how to open it and told me he was using gasoline,” says Rubin, a New York City editor.
Something must have gotten lost in the translation. When he refueled a few days later, the engine sputtered to a stop. It turned out that the van only took diesel. Enterprise towed the van to a nearby mechanic for repairs. Rubin and his group paid 90 euros ($90) for a taxi ride to Granada.
The next day, while touring the historic Alhambra palace complex in Granada, Enterprise called Rubin with bad news: he had to pay 1,500 euros for repairs, because poor car power is a negligence and is not covered by the company’s damage insurance. The company subsequently reduced its bill to 844 euros, including 100 euros for “application costs” and 115 euros for “loss of use” costs. Rubin says he has no recollection of any warnings to use only diesel in the vehicle.
Mistaking fuel is one of the most common mistakes made by travelers, especially when traveling overseas. Still, a mixture of gases is completely avoidable. Vehicles often have warnings next to the tank that say “diesel fuel only”, although they are not in English, and fuel injectors at some service stations will prevent you from using the wrong gas. But never take anyone’s word for it.
I asked the Enterprise about Rubin’s case. One representative promised to review his bill, but added that his experience offered a valuable lesson to other customers.
“Take the time to get to know the vehicle you’re renting,” spokeswoman Lisa Martini told me. “Learn how to use the essential functions, like the location of the seat levers and how to use the infotainment system.”
And, of course, what kind of fuel the car requires.
If you’ve misfueled your car, there’s a way to cut your costs. Ernesto Suarez, managing director of British travel insurance company Halo Insurance Services, says you can call a local garage to tow your rental car to the nearest service centre. In Europe, an engine oil change and cleaning costs around $300 and can take an entire day.
“It’s always good practice to contact the rental car company to let them know what you’re doing,” Suarez adds.
Of course, misfueling isn’t the only common car rental mistake. They also include not taking photos of your car before and after the duration of your rental, not providing an additional driver, and not understanding the economics of rental cars.
“Always take photos of all sides of the cars and inside the car to document any damage before pick-up and after drop-off,” says Michael Stalf, managing director of Myonecar, a German car rental company.
Why take vacation photos of your car? Because your car rental company probably won’t. If he finds damage to your vehicle, he will hold you responsible. By the way, if you find a dent, dent, or scratch on your car when you pick it up, make sure it’s documented in your paperwork. Or better yet, ask for another vehicle.
Some car rental companies have started taking before and after rental images of their vehicles. Andy Abramson, a frequent business traveler who runs a communications company in Los Angeles, rented several cars in Europe this spring. Some companies have new scanning equipment that captures an image of your vehicle before you leave and when you return.
Renters also tend to forget that car rental companies charge high fees for additional drivers. For example, Hertz charges $13.50 per day, a maximum of $189 per rental, for each additional driver. Julie Demaret, director of car rental company Rhinocarhire, says you need to think about the additional driver before renting.
And watch out for upsells. For example, insurance can add $20 or more per day to the cost of your rental. But you can get car rental coverage for about half that from a traditional travel insurance company. Allianz Travel Insurance offers a product called Rental Car Damage Protector for $11 per day. The insurance site iCarhireinsurance.com, which is operated by Halo Insurance, even sells a policy that covers you for up to $1,200 for improperly fueling your car.
Also, make sure you understand the tricks of the trade. Car rental companies are busy during the summer. Nicole Gustas, a frequent Boston traveler, couldn’t find a rental car in Los Angeles recently, so she used a strategy that became popular last summer: She rented a U-Haul truck for two days . Then she found an SUV through Enterprise in a remote location off the airport.
“We wanted an economical car,” explains Gustas, marketing director for an insurance company. “But beggars can’t choose.”
Following the basic rules of car rental etiquette is especially important now, not only because car rental companies have become stricter about adding cleaning fees for vehicles left dirty, but also because the ongoing car rental shortage has resulted in older fleets than they have been. For years.
“Etiquette is about being considerate of others, which certainly includes being considerate of whoever is going to rent the car after you,” says Nick Leighton, etiquette expert and co-host of the weekly “Were You Raised” podcast. . By wolves?
But perhaps the biggest mistake you can make when it comes to your rental car is underestimating your budget.
“Be prepared to spend the money,” warns Robert Walden, editor of VehicleFreak.com, a car care site.
Walden says higher prices aren’t the only thing to worry about. Vehicles will be scarce, following last summer’s shortage of rental cars. That means some of us won’t even be lucky enough to make these common car rental mistakes.