Hiring a vehicle can be a great way to access cost-effective private transport, but it’s easy to get bogged down with extra fees and hidden costs. If you want to ensure you don’t end up paying more than you need to, take a look at these top five car hire tips now…
- Compare the price of vehicles
The cost of hiring a vehicle usually depends on the size and spec of the vehicle you need. Of course, you would expect to pay more for hiring a large van than a compact car. However, even vehicles in the same range can vary in price.
If you want to hire a medium-sized saloon car, for example, you may pay more for a sportier model with a more powerful engine. If you want to keep costs down, choose the size of the vehicle you need, but opt for something more understated.
- Minimise fuel consumption
Choosing the right vehicle can make the usage cheaper, as well as the actual hire price. If you hire a car with a 1.4 engine, for example, it’s going to use less fuel than a vehicle with a 2.2 engine. Whilst larger vehicles will naturally have bigger engines, don’t opt for something you don’t need. If a smaller engine is all you require, don’t be tempted to go for something bigger. Even if there isn’t much difference in the rental price, you could spend a lot more in fuel costs.
- Check maximum mileage allowances
When you’re looking for a vehicle for rent, you’ll need to check whether your chosen car hire company enforce a maximum mileage allowance. Whilst some firms offer unlimited mileage, other car hire companies restrict your usage to a certain amount of miles per day. If you travel more than this, you may need to pay extra fees.
If you know what you’ll be using the vehicle for and how far you’re likely to travel in it, discuss this with your vehicle hire firm before you make a booking. Unlimited mileage offers may be good in theory, but the cost of the rental could be inflated to cover this. If you aren’t travelling far, a maximum mileage cap could help to reduce your costs, without affecting the way you’ll use the vehicle. Alternatively, if you’re going to be driving long distances in your rental vehicle, choosing a firm which offers unlimited mileage could be the most cost-effective option.
- Avoid unnecessary extras
Don’t end up paying for features you don’t want or need, and don’t let salespeople persuade you otherwise. If you want to use a sat nav when you’re travelling, take your own instead of using the car hire company’s system. Similarly, turn down the offer of car seat hire for children and take your own instead.
- Check the vehicle
Car hire companies may try and charge you for scratches or dents on the bodywork of the vehicle, so be sure to check it over before you take the keys. Point out any existing damage to staff, and ensure they note it down. In addition to this, take photos of any existing damage on the vehicle, in case they try to charge you for it when you return the vehicle.