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  1. #1
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    Car-buying advice needed

    Fellow Fanatics:

    My wife has fallen in love with an '07 Dodge Caliber SXT at one of our local dealers. It's used with almost 14K miles and the dealer's asking $15K for it. I ran a CARFAX report and discovered it was a rental for 10 months in Nevada and then sold at auction this spring.

    Has anyone had experience with buying former rental cars? I'm a little concerned about how much rentals are "beaten" plus lack of TLC given them.

    Also, are there any Caliber drivers out there? If so, do you like it?

    Any input would be appreciated...



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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    I have bought 2 Dodge Grand Caravans that were "rental returns". The latest one was from Avis in New York state. The dealer got both from auctions.

    Both of the vans were in good shape when I got them but had over 30K miles. Besides the normal maintenance, I didn't have too much trouble with either of them. My wife smashed up the first one at 100K miles and we're driving the second with 125K miles. It's holding up nicely after routine maintenance and a few slightly more major repairs (new AC pump, etc.).

    You should look at it closely before you buy it. I would guess that the tires and brakes are worn more than average on "rental returns". If they come from a lease return, it's probably not as bad as a auto rental place like Hertz or Avis. If the miles are fairly low and it hasn't been in any crashes, I would it expect to hold up fine though.


    Last edited by zumbro clones; 07-27-2007 at 08:56 AM.

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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    I've bought two program cars in the past. I bought a Mitsubishi Lancer that came from St. Louis that had 7,500 miles on it and a Nissan Xterra from Denver with 12,000 miles on it. I think I paid KBB's trade in value for each. I think you have more negotiating power with it being a program car as they paid less than trade in value at an auction. You should have the remaining manufacturer's warranty to put you at ease. Never had a problem with either.



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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Nedrick View Post
    My wife has fallen in love with an '07 Dodge Caliber SXT at one of our local dealers. It's used with almost 14K miles and the dealer's asking $15K for it. I ran a CARFAX report and discovered it was a rental for 10 months in Nevada and then sold at auction this spring.

    Has anyone had experience with buying former rental cars? I'm a little concerned about how much rentals are "beaten" plus lack of TLC given them.
    Many years ago (1986) I got a used 1983 Pontiac 6000 that was an Avis car (about 30,000 miles). I drove it for 10 more years with no major issues. I had to replace the alternator and water pump, and that was about it. I donated it to a charity, and they drove it around for a few more years after that.

    Some of the rental car companies actually do maintenance on their cars. Get the car insptected by a third party. Also, a 2007 should have some factory warranty left, which should protect you against major expenses for awhile.


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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    I test drove a 2007 Nissan Maxima with 26,000 miles last weekend. It was a rental car. The only problem I had was its "hotel room" smell. You know the smell I'm talking about? Heavy, heavy doses of carpet shampoo trying to cover the smell of cigarette smoke. That was a deal breaker right there. Oh, and the 26K miles on an 07 didn't help either.



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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    For a guy that rents a lot of cars when I travel, I would personally never buy a rental car b/c I now first hand what abuse they take. I baby my cars at home, but when I am renting a car for the week of travel - it gets abused. I don't think I am alone in this mind set. However I typically do not rent mini-vans or SUV's when traveling - so they may be safe to buy.

    Also if you are buying a 1 year old car, there should be a manufactures warranty for a couple more years - so if anything does go wrong it should be free to fix.



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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    Does the fact that it is a former rental affect the warranty? Are there any exclusions written into a warranty that voids the warranty if the vehicle is used for commercial or non-personal uses? I have no idea, but thought that I should throw the question out there.



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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    Warranty is the same. I bought a program Olds in 2000, and still drive it with very little problems. Had an ignition switch go bad, thats it besides brakes, tires, and battery.

    Keep in mind that these rental/program cars are required by the manufacturer to get serviced at their recommended intervals. There is no guarantee that the average Joe does that.



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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    Look very very closely again at the car. Look for cover-ups. Ask for a carfax report. And definately talk them down alot. Let them know it's a big risk buying a rental car. Chances are they got it at the auction for $5 or 6,000. So selling it for $10,000 would be a great profit for them.



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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    I rent a car about twice a month. I beat the hell out of those cars. But not just because I enjoy beating on cars. When you are in a city you aren't familiar with, it just happens. You end up in the wrong lane while approaching an exit and you gotta do what you gotta do to get into the right lane. Anyway, I guess you at least know the car was serviced regularly and if it wasn't in an accident, it is probably fine. Most cars have some built in protection to prevent major problems (such as a rev limiter, etc). If you really like the vehicle, get it. Use the fact that it was a rental as a negotiating tool and you'll probably get a great deal.


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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Nedrick View Post
    Fellow Fanatics:

    My wife has fallen in love with an '07 Dodge Caliber SXT at one of our local dealers. It's used with almost 14K miles and the dealer's asking $15K for it. I ran a CARFAX report and discovered it was a rental for 10 months in Nevada and then sold at auction this spring.

    .
    Calibers are going to have lousy resale value so I don't think it would take to much effort to find a similar one with a similar price/



  12. #12
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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    Thanks to all for your input. I imagine we wouldn't worry about re-selling it as we tend to keep vehicles as long as we can. I also talked with a former car dealer who offered some good wisdom -- mainly that rentals are pretty well taken care of by the rental companies because of the service intervals, plus he offered a little tidbit that you can usually take $2K off the price of a similar NEW vehicle (depreciation) plus around 10/mile reduction.

    (edit: I did a CARFAX and saw no issues with the car)



  13. #13
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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    Calibers have not had glowing reviews and $15K seems pretty high.



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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by CyinCo View Post
    I rent a car about twice a month. I beat the hell out of those cars.
    Interesting, as I was going to note the exact opposite. I've rented hundreds of cars over my 20+ year career and never done anything outlandish in any of them. I was going to suggest "rental car punishment" was urban legend.

    Now fleet cars are an entirely different matter. I've had a company issued auto over much of my career and never worried much about it. A co-worker of mine once went 35K miles without an oil change! While I never mistreated a car to that extent, it's safe to say I didn't treat it like my own either.

    I'd buy a rental car return before I'd buy a "brass hat"...JOMHO


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    Re: Car-buying advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by ISUonthemove View Post
    And definately talk them down alot. Let them know it's a big risk buying a rental car.
    I don't think that this argument is going to get you too far. As has been noted here, buying a rental car isn't that much more of a risk than buying a similar "non-rental" used car, especially if it still has factory warranty remaining...


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