Need a rental car? What are the options?
Anyone needing the short-term use of a vehicle should consider a car rental. Longer-term needs might be better met with other options.
For rental periods less than a week, large national rental companies such as Hertz, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise will usually serve best. These companies also are best if the vehicle is only needed one-way, since they have offices all over the U.S.
If a vehicle is needed for more than a week, smaller local companies will have the best rates for long-term rentals. Some car dealers rent cars as well. Always check for best rates because there are no standard fee structures, especially with local companies.
Always ask about discounts for which you might qualify, such as military, AARP, AAA, and more. Check online for discount coupons.
Although long-term renting can mean weeks or months, if a vehicle is needed for more than a few months, it might be more economical to buy a used vehicle and resell it when it’s no longer needed. By purchasing a vehicle brand and model that traditionally holds its resale value, such a scheme might cost very little. Honda and Toyota vehicles would be good choices for this kind of plan.
For vehicle needs longer than 23 months, consider a car lease. New-car leases begin at 24 months, however car companies sometimes offer 12 months and 18 month leases. Although renting and leasing are often confused and assumed to be the same thing, they are not. Leasing requires signing a contract for a very specific lease term, such as 24, 36, 39, or more months. To end the contract early can be very expensive.
Another option for a short-term vehicle need is a lease takeover. When someone who is in, say, a 36 month car lease decides they want out when they have, say, 18 months remaining, they can advertise that they would be willing to let someone take over the car and the lease for the remaining time. Often, these are good deals and require no money down. Many even offer cash incentives. Such a transaction must take place with the lease company’s permission and assistance. To find such vehicles, go to Swapalease.com where “sellers” of leases and “buyers” can connect. The company then assists with the details of the transfer.