Inspecting your Rental Vehicle – What to look for?

Inspecting your Rental Vehicle – What to look for?

April 07, 2015

Inspecting your Rental Vehicle – What to look for?


When you enter into a car rental agreement you are signing a contract that will make you liable for payment when a car is damaged. Whenever you are renting a car you should definitely inspect the car thoroughly.

When you enter into a car rental agreement you are signing a contract that will make you liable for payment when a car is damaged. Whenever you are renting a car you should definitely inspect the car thoroughly. Most reputable rental companies will provide you with a damage report to fill in. If a rental company does not provide this, you should be very cautious about renting from them.  So what should you mark on your damage report? We hope the following list is of assistance.

 The Exterior:

Check for dents and scratches and mark them in the corresponding area of your damage report. Good practice is to circle the area on the damage report where there is a dent, place an ‘X’ where there are stone chips and scratches and use lines to indicate long marks or scratches. It is also good practice to put notes on the damage report explaining what you have marked. It also helps to take a video or photos of what you find and if you do this try and get a shot that shows the  position on the car, not just a close up of the damage. Be thorough with your inspection and ask questions of a company representative if you are not sure what fair wear and tear is.

A good tip is to check for even panel gaps all the way around the vehicle. Uneven panel gaps are a sign of a vehicle that has had accident damage and may be in need of further repair. If a rental vehicle has had a temporary repair, be sure that you have photographic evidence of how the vehicle was given to you in case something goes wrong.

The Windscreen:

It is important to check the windscreen carefully. Most rental companies deem small stone chips as fair wear and tear. Larger chips and cracks are not fair wear and tear if they breach roadworthy guidelines and hence need to be repaired so are at the renter’s expense. Always make sure you mark any windscreen chips on the damage report using and ‘X’.

The Interior:

Sometimes you might come across damaged interiors in rental cars.  If there is no room on the damage report to mark this, then writing a comment about the interior damage is acceptable. You may want to note things like rips and tears and stains so that you avoid cleaning fees.

Drivability of your vehicle.

Rental cars come in various types, ages and condition. If you have elected to drive an older model car then there may be some things that you have to accept. Things like faded paint and interiors are inevitable on older model rental cars. However, they should always be maintained to roadworthy standards. Things like lights, windscreen wipers, tyres and brakes should be serviceable so if you notice issues with these, bring them to the attention of your rental company.

Fuel and Kilometres travelled:

When you check your rental car for damage always make sure you note the amount of fuel in the car and how many kilometres the car has travelled. This is important where you opt for deals that have limited kilometre usage so that you do not pay for kilometres you did not use. Checking the fuel in the car is important as you do not want to be charged for fuel you did not use.

In summary, always be mindful that you are entering into a contract when you rent a car. Do not take for granted opportunities such as insurance excess reduction options and tyre and windscreen cover to reduce your liability. Products like these that are offered by your rental company can save you a lot of money if something goes wrong.

At Cheaper Car Rentals, we understand that accidents happen which is why we give you a damage report to fill in and we also take a video of the car for you to refer back to. We do this because we do not want our customers to be unfairly charged for something they did not do if there is any damage to a vehicle. We always recommend you take your time with filling in the damage report and take a video or photos of your rental car as we

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