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How to Avoid Buying a Used Rental Car

One of the biggest negatives of buying a used car is not knowing how it was treated by the previous owner.

A car that's been abused is obviously not going to last as long as one where the owner treated it like their baby.

This is why most experts advise not to buy a car that's been used as a rental or commercial vehicle. When most people rent cars, they don't have a vested interest in the long-term reliablity of the car.

Most will floor the accelerator every chance they get. Some people even use rental cars as if they're stunt cars, trying to pull off 360 degree spins and abusing the braking system.

Knowing which cars are used most often as rental and commercial vehicles can help you avoid buying one.

Automotive Fleet Magazine released a list of cars most often used as fleet vehicles. Some on the list, such as the Ford Crown Victoria, are used mostly as taxis and police cars and usually aren't found too often as used cars.

If you're interested in buying one of the cars on the list, we advise you find one being sold by a private party. Make sure it is a one-owner car, not one that has been resold already. If the car is being sold on a dealer lot, our recommendation is to stay away. Chance are the car was purchased at auction from a rental or fleet company and the dealer doesn't have any obligation to reveal this fact to you.

Top 20 Cars Used as Rental or Commercial Vehicles

RankVehicle% Sold to Fleet
1Ford Crown Victoria94.0%
2Chevrolet Uplander90.0%
3Dodge Magnum69.7%
4Lincoln Town Car66.1%
5Chrysler PT Cruiser61.5%
6Chrysler Sebring58.3%
7Dodge Durango57.7%
8Mitsubishi Galant55.7%
9Suzuki XL755.7%
10Mercury Grand Marquis55.4%
11Dodge Avenger53.9%
12Pontiac Grand Prix53.3%
13Ford Taurus X 51.4%
14Dodge Caravan51.3%
15Dodge Charger51.1%
16Chevrolet Impala50.8%
17Ford Taurus48.0%
18Kia Sedona47.9%
19Dodge Caliber47.3%
20Cadillac DeVille46.3%

3 Steps Every Car Buyer Needs to Take to Save Maximum Money

The key to getting the best deal is to gather price or lease bids from as many local dealers as possible. Then shop that best price around until no one can beat it. Here are the steps:

Step 1 Get Prices From My Trusted Network

Select the vehicle you're interested in to see if there are local dealers in my network who will provide you with their best upfront price. You will get direct access to an internet sales manager who you can further negotiate with online (no need to visit dealership).
Select Vehicle to Get Local Pricing

Step 2 Get Prices From TrueCar / CarsDirect

TrueCar, and CarsDirect are my top 2 online price quote recommendations. These services show you pre-negotiated prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually pretty decent. But remember, you can still negotiate further.

Step 3 Complete my Checklist

Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

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About The Author

Gregg Fidan Gregg Fidan is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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