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SUCCESS! Buying a former rental car.

Live Oak, TX, United States
26 Kudos
In a couple of recent stories, I wrote about the Hertz Rent to Buy program which lets you rent a car for three days and then decide if you want to buy it or not. In this story, I will write about my experience with the Hertz Certified Program. If you are interested in buying a car that you rented for vacation (or a similar model), I hope that you will find my information to be useful.

First, let me do a quick recap. The Rent to Buy program has several pros. You can drive the car for 3 days (unlimited mileage), and you can have it inspected at the mechanic of your choice. If you do not want to buy the car, you can simply turn it in and pay the rental fee. If you do buy the car, the rental fee will be deducted from the sticker price.

By contrast, the Hertz Certified program does not allow you to have the car for three days. Instead, you must return the car before the office closes for the day. In addition, the salespersons will be a little bit more sensitive about you running up miles on the Certified Cars as they are no longer part of the fleet. That aside, you can still drive the car to a mechanic of your choice - just don't expect to drive to Las Vegas for a three day weekend in a Certified Car. Still, a full-day test drive is much better than what you would get at a regular dealership.

Generally speaking, Hertz Certified cars will have higher mileage than Hertz Rent to Buy cars, but they will almost always have a lower sticker price (for comparable models, that is). Regardless of which program you choose, Hertz will usually take your old car on a trade-in as long as it is running.

As much as I liked driving the 2018 Kia Sportage through the Rent to Buy program, I decided to purchase a 2017 Hyundai Sonata through the Hertz Certified program. The Sonata had 40,000 miles on the odometer and it was in excellent condition. I have had the car for roughly 6 weeks and thus far it has given me zero problems. I had a mechanic inspect it before I purchased it, and he said that the car is in great condition. I also did my own "shade tree inspection". I only found two problems; the coolant needed to be topped up and the tires needed to be rotated. These were both very minor and very inexpensive.

So, let me list a few pros and cons of the Hertz Certified program (as compared to the Hertz Rent to Buy program)

Cheaper sticker price
All cars have passed a Hertz Inspection (although I recommend getting an independent inspection for any vehicle)

Will likely have higher mileage than a Rent to Buy Car
You cannot keep the car for three days
Long drives are discouraged (and understandably so)

I would absolutely buy another rental car. My Sonata has a 1 year powertrain warranty from Hertz. If I like the car after a year, I will probably keep driving it. On the other hand, when the powertrain warranty expires, the car will still have good trade in value. Perhaps I might try for a Rent to Buy car next time.
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by Ed4000


Sharp car! Thanks for the story, great info!

by BelfryBat


Thanks, Ed. I am glad that you found the information useful. Hopefully others will as well.

by Stormtroopin2


Thanks for the info!

by Explorer2


Thanks so much for all that info! Safe travels!