Today’s Rental, Tomorrow’s Purchase

It may sound crazy, but it’s true: The car you drove on vacation last summer could be the best car to buy now. Thanks to the regularly scheduled maintenance and careful scrutiny given most rental cars, they can be ideal used car purchases.

Think through the logic and it doesn’t seem so crazy. In the mind of every used car shopper is one key question about their potential purchase: Where has the car been? Within that question are dozens of others: Did the previous owner understand the importance of regular maintenance? Did they immediately fix any problems? Did they take care of routine items, such as tire rotation and oil changes?

Knowing whether the previous owner took care of the car, however, can be tough to find out — unless the car came from a car rental agency, which has meticulously maintained the vehicle.

“We only sell Hertz rental cars,” says Monte Cangiamilla of Hertz Car Sales in Burlingame. Cangiamilla adds that that means a used car buyer actually does know the car was regularly maintained.

“The stuff that’s had more than about $1,200 of damage are wholesaled [auctioned to other car businesses]. That’s so people are guaranteed a good car,” he adds, which means buyers don’t have to worry that their particular former rental car went through a National Lampoon Vacation-style experience.

In addition, Hertz sells fairly cars that are still fairly new, so buyers know they are getting good value for the price. “All of the cars we sell are one to two years old,” Cangiamilla explains. In many instances, he says the factory warranty has not yet run out, providing additional value to the buyer. “We also provide a general 12 month, 12,000 mile warranty,” Cangiamilla explains. Many of the financing and service contracts commonly associated with new cars are also available.

Since Hertz rents so many types of vehicles, buyers also have the advantage of looking at a wide variety of cars (and car prices) on one lot. “We sell everything,” Cangiamilla says. “For instance, in the Toyota line, we have Camrys, we have Corollas, we have Avalons,” noting the wide variety in size and luxury.

Prices vary widely, too, allowing buyers of all budgets to find what they need. “The least expensive car I have on the lot right now is a 2003 Kia Rio for $6,595,” he notes. “At the other end, we have a number of luxury cars above $15,000,” he explains, adding that the majority of cars are in the $10,000 range.

Hertz also offers a customer satisfaction policy that allows customers, in many instances, to change their mind shortly after purchase if the car doesn’t perform as expected.

Overall, Cangiamilla says, the lot is a great place for people to begin (and end) their car purchases. “It’s a good deal for someone who wants to buy a family-sized car,” he concludes.

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