Whether you are renting a car, RV, van, or truck, you need to fully inspect the vehicle for damages before driving it off the lot.
Most of the time, the dealership or car rental company has a detailed list of all scrapes and dents each vehicle has. However, a few smaller dents or scratches could go unnoticed and become more major while you are driving the vehicle, but at no fault of your own!
If the company finds those damages, you will be charged unfairly and it will put a sour note at the end of your trip. So before you drive off of the lot, follow these areas to check to make sure you won’t be charged for damages you didn’t cause.
Doors and Windows
It may seem obvious to check the doors and windows of your rental vehicle, but these are the places that go overlooked. If you are renting a vehicle that has a color that hides scratches or dents well, some people will just glance at the doors and miss the damage. Try to look at the doors on an angle and run your hand over areas you suspect dents to be (like the driver side below the handle where parked car doors may have hit it).
After you inspect the doors, check the windows next. Check for any scratches that may be present on the windows. Also test how the windows roll up and down. If the windows are faulty but isn’t recorded, the company could charge you to replace the windows.
When you are first learning how to drive, you hear “always check your mirrors every 10 seconds when driving.” When checking over your rental vehicle, check every mirror in your car for scratches and functionality. The main questions you should be able to answer when checking the mirrors are: are you able to move them around freely, and do they stay in place when you do? Does the button that adjusts your side mirrors work? Can you see what’s behind you?
The tires are one of the most important parts of a car. The tires keep your car moving and are durable enough to keep you on the road for a very long time. When checking the tires on a rental vehicle, check to see if the air pressure is up to par (most dealerships will have an air pressure gauge if you want to check yourself). You should also check for any damages like worn out treads, small holes created from running over nails, or small cracks in the rims.
Inside of the Vehicle
When checking the inside of the vehicle, check for any burns and holes in the seats upholstery or leather. You should also check to see if you can adjust the seats and every moving part is functional. Replacing anything found in the car can be very expensive, so make sure you inspect everything closely.
If you notice any visual damages on the vehicle, take pictures of it before you drive off the lot as it further proves you didn’t cause any damage while driving the car!