What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
rashad3000
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:20 pm

What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by rashad3000 »

My wife and I just bought a 2015 Highlander. We are going on a 7 - 8 hour trip for her grad school class next week (it will just be us 2). We will rent a car for those 3 days and it will cost around $80 after taxes and satellite and fees. We prefer to run a rental car into the ground on this beast of a trip rather than our own.

We are taking the kids to the Houston/Galveston area in the summer. It's about a 4 1/2 hour trip from us. We will be there for 4 days. To get a full-size rental car, it will be around $150. To get an SUV equivalent to our Highlander, we are looking at around $275-300. In this situation, we may just take our own vehicle, unless I can convince the wife that the full-size will be ok with our 3 kids. She probably won't go for that. It would probably lead to the kids arguing the entire time, having to sit so close.

Basically, I prefer to rent cars every time I go out of town. What is your philosophy on this?
vital15
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:15 am

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by vital15 »

Interesting question. I have never done that or even really considered it. $80 is a very good deal for a 3 day rental, so I suppose it is worth considering. But I guess the math is you can have $80 today or theoretically you will get $80+ more for the car when you sell it years down the road? I'd rather have the guaranteed $80 today and the comfort of my own car.
User avatar
bottlecap
Posts: 6558
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by bottlecap »

I don't rent for things like this. I like my vehicle. I bought it to drive rather than sit in the garage. Especially for long trips.

I guess if it saved me $200 to $300 out of pocket I might consider renting, but it's still a hassle.

This is a personal decision and there is no right answer. Calculate how much you will save and decide whether renting a vehicle you wouldn't buy is worth it to you.

JT
ralph124cf
Posts: 2609
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:41 am

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by ralph124cf »

It sounds like the first trip is about 800 miles round trip, so you are only paying ten cents a mile for the rental car. I am sure that wear and tear, tire usage, and routine maintenance would cost you more for the Highlander than that, and that is before figuring in any mileage based depreciation. You will also probably save on gas compared to the Highlander. So from a purely financial standpoint renting makes sense for the first trip.

On the other hand there is always the personal comfort consideration. If you are getting a car for a three day 800 mile trip for only $80, you must be renting a small car. This will probably not be as comfortable as driving your Highlander. Only you can say if the money saved will be worth the difference in your comfort. Consider: Would you pay an extra $10 to fly first class from Chicago to New York? I certainly would. Would I pay an extra $500? Certainly not, my comfort on a short flight like that is not worth $500.

I think that the second trip you describe would definitely be better in your own vehicle. You are only going half as far, and you would be paying $300 for a comparable vehicle. The monetary savings are just not there, and the hassle factor of picking up and dropping off the rental is annoying. Your own vehicle is also more convenient to pack and unpack at leisure.

Ralph
PowDay
Posts: 320
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:43 am

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by PowDay »

The stress that comes from making this decision probably isn't worth the minor potential benefit. A benefit that won't become real until it's time to trade in the car.

You have keys to a car in your pocket that will accomplish the task at hand. Go drive it and put the mental energy into other tasks.
User avatar
Raymond
Posts: 1644
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:04 am

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by Raymond »

Personally, if it's a seven + hour drive each way, I would just fly there and rent a car at the destination.
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"
mattsm
Posts: 233
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:27 am

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by mattsm »

Also weigh in that sometimes it's useful to rent for an older car, where you are concerned it might break down and don't want that to happen while you're on a 8 hour drive.
User avatar
dm200
Posts: 23148
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by dm200 »

rashad3000 wrote:My wife and I just bought a 2015 Highlander. We are going on a 7 - 8 hour trip for her grad school class next week (it will just be us 2). We will rent a car for those 3 days and it will cost around $80 after taxes and satellite and fees. We prefer to run a rental car into the ground on this beast of a trip rather than our own.

We are taking the kids to the Houston/Galveston area in the summer. It's about a 4 1/2 hour trip from us. We will be there for 4 days. To get a full-size rental car, it will be around $150. To get an SUV equivalent to our Highlander, we are looking at around $275-300. In this situation, we may just take our own vehicle, unless I can convince the wife that the full-size will be ok with our 3 kids. She probably won't go for that. It would probably lead to the kids arguing the entire time, having to sit so close.

Basically, I prefer to rent cars every time I go out of town. What is your philosophy on this?
If the Highlander well meets the needs, I would drive it and not rent.
orca91
Posts: 1223
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by orca91 »

rashad3000 wrote:Basically, I prefer to rent cars every time I go out of town. What is your philosophy on this?
My philosophy is, I would never do that. Why own a car, if not to drive it?

If I fly somewhere and need a car while there, sure.... But, if I'm driving, my own vehicle works fine.
User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 19500
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by VictoriaF »

Raymond wrote:Personally, if it's a seven + hour drive each way, I would just fly there and rent a car at the destination.
I would fly or take a train, too. The sedentary lifestyle is a curse of the modern age, and being sedentary in a car is the worst of it.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
Topic Author
rashad3000
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:20 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by rashad3000 »

Raymond wrote:Personally, if it's a seven + hour drive each way, I would just fly there and rent a car at the destination.

We would fly there if we could. Unfortunately, there is no airport within 3-4 hours.
User avatar
bottlecap
Posts: 6558
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by bottlecap »

mattsm wrote:Also weigh in that sometimes it's useful to rent for an older car, where you are concerned it might break down and don't want that to happen while you're on a 8 hour drive.
Or save the money on the rental and use it to maintain your older vehicle in its proper working condition...

Just a thought. :wink:
User avatar
Raybo
Posts: 1950
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:02 am
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by Raybo »

I have family in LA and live in SF, about 7+ hours driving (the way we drive), one way. As the Honda Civic we had began getting on in years, we decided to rent a car for the drive instead of putting all those extra miles on our car. Doing this probably saved putting several thousand miles on the Honda.

When we were looking at a new car, we rented a Prius for a couple weeks and drove up to Portland to visit friends and back. This allowed us to spend an extended period of time with the Prius to see if we wanted to buy one. While it wasn't my first choice (I wanted to go all electric), the experience did confirm our beliefs that it was a suitable car for our needs.

Since we bought the Prius, we have used it for driving down to LA. It gets great mileage on the road and, frankly, some long-distance driving probably does the car a bit of good versus all the steep hills around SF.

Frankly, if you have a new car, I'd drive it.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 12799
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

In general, car expenses are split 3 ways:

depreciation
insurance
gas

While you're renting a car, you're still paying the first 2 for a car sitting in your driveway doing nothing. And of course, you're paying for gas and the rental cost no matter what so unless I'm flying in somewhere, I don't rent a car ever.

Maintenance over the life of a car is nearly nothing (I've done the math). If you need something bigger for a trip, then it can make sense. Driving a Ford Focus normally and then renting a van to bring the kid's scout troop somewhere, sure. You'll save money from the lower cost to buy the focus and put gas in it compared to a van. If you think that keeping a few thousand miles off the car will result in savings to equal the cost of the rental, I don't think so.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
User avatar
dm200
Posts: 23148
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by dm200 »

rashad3000 wrote:
Raymond wrote:Personally, if it's a seven + hour drive each way, I would just fly there and rent a car at the destination.
We would fly there if we could. Unfortunately, there is no airport within 3-4 hours.
In the last decades, the drive vs fly equation has generally moved towards driving. You must get to the airport well in advance of the departure today and (I think) there is longer "flight times" (from scheduled leave the gate to gate arrival) built into the schedule. In addition it is less "comfortable" flying these days with more cramped seating, etc. The more folks traveling as well moves towards driving. [A car with 4 folks costs the same for a trip (except for meals along the way) as one person.
Vanguard Fan 1367
Posts: 1821
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:09 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 »

I like to drive my own car rather than rent. My 3 vehicles were around 20K each so I figure if I go 100k miles that works out to 20 cents a mile for depreciation, and I usually go more than 100k miles and sell them for something when I am done, so maybe not really 20 cents a mile.
Upton Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
User avatar
Kosmo
Posts: 1303
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:54 am
Location: Philadelphia

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by Kosmo »

orca91 wrote:
rashad3000 wrote:Basically, I prefer to rent cars every time I go out of town. What is your philosophy on this?
My philosophy is, I would never do that. Why own a car, if not to drive it?

If I fly somewhere and need a car while there, sure.... But, if I'm driving, my own vehicle works fine.
This. I have the car to get me where I need to go. It fits my family (2 adults, 2 children, 2 dogs) and is parked in my garage so it's quite convenient.

The only exception is when I travel for work. I periodically have to be at a location 180 miles away for a few days at a time, so I'll rent a car for that. I have a growing list of vehicle makes and models that I didn't enjoy driving and I'd never consider buying. But if I was driving that distance for personal reasons I'd not even think twice about driving my own car.
jharkin
Posts: 2603
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by jharkin »

I always found it interesting that people go to these lengths to avoid milage on their personal vehicle. Do these trips really consistent that much extra mileage?

My wife and I are average to a bit below average drivers mileage wise. I put around 10k miles per year and she probably does 12k. We just planned our summer vacation to Bar Harbor, ME... Its about a 5-6 hr trip for us so a week up there will probably put 800 miles on the car.

12k miles per year is 230 miles a week, so figure that the vacation adds a net 600 extra miles to the car.

600 miles is 5% of our annual driving mileage. If I where to rent a similar sized vehicle to our Honda Pilot (3 row SUV to haul 4 of us and luggage) for a week it would add $400 -$600 dollars to the cost of the trip, or almost a dollar a mile.

The cost of driving our own paid for vehicle cant be over 50 cents a mile (including everything - depreciation, ins, gas, maintenance, etc).

:confused I have a hard time seeing that cost as justifiable it to save 5% of my annual mileage???? :confused
User avatar
deanbrew
Posts: 1327
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:05 pm
Location: The Keystone State

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by deanbrew »

bottlecap wrote:I don't rent for things like this. I like my vehicle. I bought it to drive rather than sit in the garage. Especially for long trips.
I agree completely. This question/concept comes up now and again, and I always find it curious and confusing. I didn't buy a car I like, and that suits my needs, just to leave it at home when I travel. I know how it drives and how everything works. Even if you could prove to me that renting a car saves a few bucks, I still wouldn't rent due to the inconvenience and uncertainties.
In general, car expenses are split 3 ways:

depreciation
insurance
gas

While you're renting a car, you're still paying the first 2 for a car sitting in your driveway doing nothing. And of course, you're paying for gas and the rental cost no matter what so unless I'm flying in somewhere, I don't rent a car ever.

Maintenance over the life of a car is nearly nothing (I've done the math). If you need something bigger for a trip, then it can make sense. Driving a Ford Focus normally and then renting a van to bring the kid's scout troop somewhere, sure. You'll save money from the lower cost to buy the focus and put gas in it compared to a van. If you think that keeping a few thousand miles off the car will result in savings to equal the cost of the rental, I don't think so.
Agree here, too. You are still paying registration, insurance and other costs while your car sits in the driveway. It is still depreciating, too. I agree that renting a different type of vehicle can make sense, but renting to keep miles off your own vehicle sounds nuts to me.
"The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson
niceguy7376
Posts: 2783
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:59 pm
Location: Metro ATL

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by niceguy7376 »

If you rent a car instead of driving, how about taking insurance on the rental?
Do you take it or not?
If not, and you are counting on CC pitching in, rental companies want to get the car back on road ASAP
Rupert
Posts: 4122
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by Rupert »

I have also never understood why people rent cars for road trips, unless the rental is for work (in which case your employer is paying for it), you have a particular need for a different vehicle for the trip (e.g., the aforementioned scout troop trip), or your regular car is unreliable. I feel less confident driving a rental car and hence less safe in a rental car. The hassle of dealing with the rental-car company if the car is damaged on your trip (even minor damage, such as a scratch, scrape or sizeable door ding) weighs in favor of using your own vehicle when possible.

As for rental-car insurance, there are many prior threads on that. If you don't maintain collision coverage on your regular vehicle(s) (or if you maintain it only on some, but not all, of your regular vehicles), you'd better read your credit card terms and conditions very carefully, as there have been a number of news stories recently about how hard it is to get credit card companies to pay for rental-car damage.
Frisco Kid
Posts: 410
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:18 pm
Location: San Francisco Peninsula

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by Frisco Kid »

Our daily driver Toyota 4 Runner goes about 10k miles yearly. We rent when traveling 2000 miles to visit family in Oregon. In our case the rental car saves on gas as well. If location of airport was closer we would just fly, however rental cars in Oregon due to no sales tax are quite expensive.
researcher
Posts: 1294
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by researcher »

rashad3000 wrote:Basically, I prefer to rent cars every time I go out of town.
Can you explain the rationale behind this?
What is the purpose of renting a vehicle every time you leave your town?

As others have mentioned, you are NOT avoiding most vehicle expenses (insurance, depreciation, fuel, registration, ect) by renting.
Any wear & tear expense you might avoid is more than wiped out by the $80-$300 rental cost.

You'd rather drive to/from the rental facility, wait in line/fill out paperwork, transfer your stuff in/out of the rental (car seats, jumper cables, sunglasses, luggage, ect?), and plan your trip around the rental company operating hours.
Why would you go through this hassle? What are you gaining by renting?
traveltoomuch
Posts: 516
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:48 am

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by traveltoomuch »

My instinct is to consider renting for >250 miles each way and >200 miles/day total. A weekend trip of 300 miles each way would qualify. That's not a hard breakpoint - the numbers are mostly made up. The biggest downside has been the annoyance of pickup/dropoff and, potentially, transferring everything between the cars.

I've done this several times, but I've been doing it less over time. I'm struggling to pin down the reason for the change. Possibly I rented more when my own car was less fuel-efficient. Possibly I'm renting less because I now have an extraordinarily-low-mileage-for-its-age car, so it feels like there's less downside to putting the miles on it. And maybe it's a combination of liking my car and being on firmer financial footing - renting might be more optimal, but I don't need to pinch every last penny. But I think renting is a very sensible thing to consider, and I don't fault you for choosing it.

niceguy7376: I never take insurance on a rental. And I absolutely expect the credit card insurance to pitch in - that's one of the reasons I have a card with primary rental car cover. But I wouldn't say I'm "counting on" the CC - I still have a personal auto policy, and it is an adequate backstop.

researcher: I see the hassle differently. I'm already a member of the car companies' "skip the line" programs AND these rentals are usually off-airport. Oh, and I usually rent from Avis or Hertz rather than the bottom-feeder companies that make the paperwork a hassle. The paperwork is a breeze. And I probably would not choose to rent at rates higher than $75/weekend or $150/week - indeed, most of my rentals like this have been under $50 for the weekend. (The exception would be if I'm renting because I NEED a car unlike my own - e.g. a van or similar.)
Last edited by traveltoomuch on Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
dad2000
Posts: 649
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:04 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by dad2000 »

Only if I needed something bigger that what I own.

Most of my car rental calculations revolve around what do if I've flown somewhere. Then I have to weigh public transport/Uber/cab vs rental/parking. But it's not always about the money. For example, driving and parking a car within San Francisco and Manhattan city limits is almost pointless regardless of the cost.

I'm not going to waste a few hours or twist my schedule to save a little money with a rental car.

I'm ranting a little... but I put a high value on my comfort and time. Even though I have a fairly large family, I only take direct flights unless a direct route doesn't exist. Delays, missed connections, and lost luggage are not fun. I feel like I get more time at my destination by giving up a little in savings.
Last edited by dad2000 on Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
traveltoomuch
Posts: 516
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:48 am

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by traveltoomuch »

researcher wrote: Any wear & tear expense you might avoid is more than wiped out by the $80-$300 rental cost.
I disagree.

Maintenance will run $.06-.10/mile or more. There's lots of room to argue numbers here, but here are some data sources. The AAA article separates maintenance and tires.
http://newsroom.aaa.com/2015/04/annual- ... a-archive/
https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/ho ... ddy-martin

Part of depreciation is mileage-based, not age-based. Case in point: when I've had insurance total cars, they based valuations on an expected/average mileage and adjusted ~$.07/mile for over/under.

Adding those together, and taking the low end of the maintenance number, we get $.13/mile. For a 500 mile trip, that's $65. If the rental is only $40, renting makes financial sense. And, again, that's using the low-end maintenance estimates.
researcher
Posts: 1294
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by researcher »

traveltoomuch wrote:researcher: I see the hassle differently. I'm already a member of the car companies' "skip the line" programs AND these rentals are usually off-airport. The paperwork is a breeze.
You've only addressed the hassle of waiting in line and filling out paperwork. The OP has a wife and THREE kids!

I assume he will be taking a fair amount of stuff with him (carseats, strollers, toys, snacks, ect) in addition to items permanently kept in your personal vehicle (sunglasses, umbrella, jumper cables, ect).

All of this stuff will get loaded into his personal vehicle, then loaded into the rental, then unloaded when he gets back.
Want to get an early start to the trip? Too bad...the rental agency doesn't open until 9am.
Want to extend the trip a few hours because you see something interesting? Too bad...must get back before they close at 6pm.

I just don't see the benefits of renting a car in this situation. What are you gaining by renting?
traveltoomuch
Posts: 516
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:48 am

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by traveltoomuch »

researcher wrote: You've only addressed the hassle of waiting in line and filling out paperwork.
In that paragraph, yes. If you had read my whole post, you might have seen in the first paragraph my acknowledgement of some of the other hassles.
User avatar
SmileyFace
Posts: 6001
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by SmileyFace »

My personal criteria is that if the ride is 6 hours or less I'll drive me own car. If the drive is further than this - I can't stand being in a car that long so I will fly to the nearest airport of where I am going and rent a car (if needed) at my destination.
(For business travel I won't drive more than 3 hours - anything over that and I'm flying).
BW1985
Posts: 2050
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:12 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by BW1985 »

traveltoomuch wrote:
researcher wrote: Any wear & tear expense you might avoid is more than wiped out by the $80-$300 rental cost.
I disagree.

Maintenance will run $.06-.10/mile or more. There's lots of room to argue numbers here, but here are some data sources. The AAA article separates maintenance and tires.
http://newsroom.aaa.com/2015/04/annual- ... a-archive/
https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/ho ... ddy-martin

Part of depreciation is mileage-based, not age-based. Case in point: when I've had insurance total cars, they based valuations on an expected/average mileage and adjusted ~$.07/mile for over/under.

Adding those together, and taking the low end of the maintenance number, we get $.13/mile. For a 500 mile trip, that's $65. If the rental is only $40, renting makes financial sense. And, again, that's using the low-end maintenance estimates.
+1. The depreciation is also going to be dependent on the car you have as well so it's not as if it's the same equation for everyone. With a brand new $40k car or similar I'm going to be much more hesitant to put 1500 miles on it from a road trip then I would be a 10 year old $5k car.

Aside from depreciation there are other benefits to driving someone else's car. I was in a rental when I ran over something on the highway that damaged the front bumper. If it was my own car I'd have to deal with insurance and being without a car while it's getting fixed. You also don't have to worry about cleaning it when you're done.

I have rented cars numerous times for 800-1600 mile round trip drives. Usually I have rental points to use from work travel which makes the rental cost free, I just pay taxes. So admittingly an easier decision for me.

The hassle factor of renting seems to be exaggerated here based on my experience. There's no paperwork. I make the reservation, pick up the keys and leave. When I return it I drop off the keys.
Last edited by BW1985 on Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
User avatar
oldcomputerguy
Moderator
Posts: 9451
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:50 am
Location: In the middle of five acres of woods in East Tennessee

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by oldcomputerguy »

If there is decent mass transit where I'm going, I'll frequently just depend on that. If not, I'll look to see if the area is one I feel comfortable driving in. If so, I'll probably rent a car. If no mass transit and driving would be too much of a PITA, I'll budget for taxis.

For example, I like the Metro rail in DC, and frequently will use that for an entire visit. On the other hand, I've rented a car and driven in Seattle, a mistake I'll never ever make again. In Las Vegas, I'll typically use the monorail if it's going where I need to go, otherwise I'll take taxis or just walk. (I've never driven in Las Vegas.)
"I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people; and if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you." (Aaron Sorkin)
traveltoomuch
Posts: 516
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:48 am

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by traveltoomuch »

BW1985 wrote: Aside from depreciation there are other benefits to driving someone else's car. I was in a rental when I ran over something on the highway that damaged the front bumper. If it was my own car I'd have to deal with insurance and being without a car while it's getting fixed.
Thank you for this reminder. I once had an owned car break down on a long road trip on Thanksgiving day. That was a pain to deal with! I'm sure it would have been unpleasant to wait for the rental car company to come out and swap vehicles with me, but it would have been so much better than trying to get the owned car repaired away from home! (It took until Monday to get the parts and have the repair made. I wound up renting a car to continue the weekend's journey then backtracking the next week to pick up the repaired car.)

I've also had a flat tire during a long road trip on New Years Day. Do you have any idea how many tire shops are closed on January 1st?

Add to the list of "when renting is an especially good idea": when traveling over a major holiday. Or when there are deadlines and other complexities (the Thanksgiving trip was a multi-leg trip - not just 'there and back').
Topic Author
rashad3000
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:20 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by rashad3000 »

Very valuable feedback. Thank you.
Topic Author
rashad3000
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:20 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by rashad3000 »

FYI:

We will rent the car for $80 to take the 7 hour trip next week. My wife and I will be the only ones going, so we will do the same thing we did last time and get a compact.

When we take the summer trip with the kids, we will take our own vehicle.
adamthesmythe
Posts: 3834
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by adamthesmythe »

If I'm leaving from home and driving I take my car. If I am flying somewhere and I need a car I rent one.

If I needed a pickup truck I would rent one, 'cause I don't own one.
User avatar
GerryL
Posts: 2910
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:40 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by GerryL »

Only time I have rented a car locally -- when my car is NOT in the shop -- is when I don't own a car or I want to try out a model I am thinking of buying. And since I am only on my 3rd car (learned to drive in my early 40s) I only did the "try out" once. :wink:

Otherwise, it is when I am flying to an area where a car is the only way to get where I need to go -- like tomorrow morning when I land in Orlando and have to drive 90 minutes to a rural area. (I work with AAA to get a really good deal on a 2 week rental from Hertz each year.) If I am staying in a city, no way.
User avatar
dm200
Posts: 23148
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by dm200 »

rashad3000 wrote:FYI:
We will rent the car for $80 to take the 7 hour trip next week. My wife and I will be the only ones going, so we will do the same thing we did last time and get a compact.
When we take the summer trip with the kids, we will take our own vehicle.
Two years ago, when we were having some dependability issues with our older cars, we rented several times from Enterprise for some 2-3 day trips. We reserved the second lowest cost model, but both times we got a higher level car (at the reserved price).
BW1985
Posts: 2050
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:12 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by BW1985 »

I like National. I have executive club membership from chase saphirre reserve so I always book intermediate for $46/day and then pick whatever I want, usually a Ford Explorer.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
michaeljc70
Posts: 7240
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by michaeljc70 »

I live in a big city and don't drive a lot so I use my car as the miles don't matter. Even after driving to Florida and other places from Chicago, my last car had 85k miles after 13 years.

If I drove a lot, I would decide based on the cost of the rental. Another factor (maybe minor) is on a long trip it is nice being in a car you are familiar with and know is comfortable.
User avatar
Vulcan
Posts: 1352
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:43 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by Vulcan »

We rent for extended road trips. At the cost widely viewed to be at least not higher than depreciation+maintenance (it often works out to be right around approx .10/mile for our rentals) we consider it free insurance against breakdown or an accident that, if it was your own car, would interrupt a vacation and cause much hassle and expense in getting the car back home. As a bonus we get to try out different new cars.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase
jharkin
Posts: 2603
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by jharkin »

traveltoomuch wrote:
researcher wrote: Any wear & tear expense you might avoid is more than wiped out by the $80-$300 rental cost.
I disagree.

Maintenance will run $.06-.10/mile or more. There's lots of room to argue numbers here, but here are some data sources. The AAA article separates maintenance and tires.
http://newsroom.aaa.com/2015/04/annual- ... a-archive/
https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/ho ... ddy-martin

Part of depreciation is mileage-based, not age-based. Case in point: when I've had insurance total cars, they based valuations on an expected/average mileage and adjusted ~$.07/mile for over/under.

Adding those together, and taking the low end of the maintenance number, we get $.13/mile. For a 500 mile trip, that's $65. If the rental is only $40, renting makes financial sense. And, again, that's using the low-end maintenance estimates.
13 cents a mile? And $40 to rent for a weekend? Those seems like extraordinarily low numbers to me.

Lets assume you are not renting a sub- compact in place of a full size luxury car daily driver. Do an apples to apples comparison and then how does it work out?



I did the comparison above for our own family car - a Honda Pilot. vs. renting a similar sized 3 row SUV for a 1 week 800 mile vacation. I ignore fuel costs for both my car and the rental since I have to pay that either way.

My actual costs - owning the pilot for 7 years and having put 75,000 miles on it in that timeframe:
Depreciation - $16k
registration fees $245
excise taxes: $600
Insurance $3500
1 set replacement tires: $800
15 oil changes: $600
other repairs, maintenance: $3500
total: $26,245
35 cents/ mile



If I go to some rental companies and price out a rental - 1 week, 3 row SUV I get:
Enterprise: $671
Budget: $629
So lets call it $650 average or about 80 cents/mile.


Again, I just dont see how renting is possibly cheaper. Yes I could rent a sub compact and skew the numbers in favor of rental but that's not an apples for apples comparison. If you are always renting $40 specials you probably drive a small/compact car as a daily driver so your baseline expenses are not as high as you think.
rec7
Posts: 2369
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:22 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by rec7 »

If my is over 15 years old I rent if newer I drive.
Disclaimer: You might lose money doing anything I say. Although that was not my intent. | Favorite song: Sometimes He Whispers Jay Parrack
researcher
Posts: 1294
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by researcher »

jharkin wrote:Do an apples to apples comparison and then how does it work out? I did the comparison above for our own family car - a Honda Pilot. vs. renting a similar sized 3 row SUV for a 1 week 800 mile vacation.

My actual costs - owning the pilot for 7 years and having put 75,000 miles on it in that timeframe:
Depreciation - $16k
registration fees $245
excise taxes: $600
Insurance $3500
1 set replacement tires: $800
15 oil changes: $600
other repairs, maintenance: $3500
total: $26,245
35 cents/ mile

If I go to some rental companies and price out a rental - 1 week, 3 row SUV I get:
So lets call it $650 average or about 80 cents/mile.

Again, I just dont see how renting is possibly cheaper. Yes I could rent a sub compact and skew the numbers in favor of rental but that's not an apples for apples comparison.
THIS!

Although the actual cost difference is even greater than you stated.
- The registration, excise tax, and insurance are paid even if you rent & your car sits at home. These costs should be excluded.
- At the age & mileage of your vehicle, there is NO depreciation hit for an additional 800 miles.
The vehicle value on KBB is exactly the same at 75K and 75.8K.

Once these costs are excluded, the true cost to take your vehicle on vacation is only 6.5 cents/mile.
jharkin
Posts: 2603
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by jharkin »

researcher wrote: THIS!

Although the actual cost difference is even greater than you stated.
- The registration, excise tax, and insurance are paid even if you rent & your car sits at home. These costs should be excluded.
- At the age & mileage of your vehicle, there is NO depreciation hit for an additional 800 miles.
The vehicle value on KBB is exactly the same at 75K and 75.8K.

Once these costs are excluded, the true cost to take your vehicle on vacation is only 6.5 cents/mile.
There you go! Makes the calculation even worse than I thought - the rental isn't 2x as expensive, its 12x as expensive.
technovelist
Posts: 3293
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:02 pm
Contact:

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by technovelist »

mattsm wrote:Also weigh in that sometimes it's useful to rent for an older car, where you are concerned it might break down and don't want that to happen while you're on a 8 hour drive.
My daily driver is 16 years old, so although it is comfortable, I don't want to take it on a long trip due to worries about reliability. I also have a "new" (9 year old) car, but it isn't that comfortable on long trips (more than a couple of hours).

As a consequence, we are renting a car for an upcoming substantial driving trip (several thousand miles).
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.
User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 9920
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by cheese_breath »

With only one exception I've never rented a car for personal use. That one time was a vacation trip where we drove to New Orleans taking in other sites along the way, and returned home by plane.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
anonforthis
Posts: 414
Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:45 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by anonforthis »

VictoriaF wrote:
Raymond wrote:Personally, if it's a seven + hour drive each way, I would just fly there and rent a car at the destination.
I would fly or take a train, too. The sedentary lifestyle is a curse of the modern age, and being sedentary in a car is the worst of it.

Victoria
:D Road trips are best. I love stopping at small towns, taking pictures and chatting with locals.
Harley BenV
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:49 am

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by Harley BenV »

Nah man. No renting for me. I bought Toyota Sedan last year and I am using it on every short/long trip. I like cars and I love driving. Renting a car is never an option for me. People wouldn't think like you, like you do. Every one is different and as quoted above it's a personal decision and in the end you have to decide whether to save up money, rent a car or do whatever you want to do.


This is not the type of question that will give you right or correct answer.
LarryAllen
Posts: 1142
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:41 am
Location: State of Confusion

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by LarryAllen »

For me my time is way too valuable to worry about renting a car for a family trip. If we don't fly we would take one of our cars. However, I understand the concept and there certainly is validity to the theory. The reality is you can rent cars really cheap sometimes and there can be huge variety in prices. I remember a few years back I needed a car while visiting NYC. Only needed it for a couple of days. Just through the Hertz Local stores the variance in price was huge. Let's say the cheapest was $30 a day and the most expensive was $350 a day. Point being if you have more time than money checking many websites really can save you money.
BW1985
Posts: 2050
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:12 pm

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Post by BW1985 »

jharkin wrote: My actual costs - owning the pilot for 7 years and having put 75,000 miles on it in that timeframe:
Depreciation - $16k
registration fees $245
excise taxes: $600
Insurance $3500
1 set replacement tires: $800
15 oil changes: $600
other repairs, maintenance: $3500
total: $26,245
35 cents/ mile
Sidebar - you only paid $245 in registration fees over 7 years? I have a 4 year old car and I paid $250 for just this year.

And your insurance is only $500/year?
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
Post Reply