What To Do When You First Get A Rental Car
Even in these modern times that we live in today, car rental remains a necessity and a choice for many. With the availability of public transportation and rideshare services, there remains one thing that those options can not provide: personal control and freedom of movement. Some drivers, be they travellers from other countries or locals without a car, will still prefer to drive themselves to wherever they need to be.
The business model is quite straightforward: register with the car rental company of your choice, choose your vehicle and any add-ons they may offer, and off you go. That entire process, however, starts and finishes with an inspection, particularly by the car rental company’s staff to ensure that the car they give to you is in good condition and that it returns to them the same way.
However, the proactive car renter will also insist on doing his or her own checks upon receiving the vehicle. This is mainly to ensure that there is no pre-existing damage to the vehicle that they might be held accountable for later. However, this is also important to do so that the driver will be fully-aware of the car’s features and what it needs to run effectively.
If you’re renting a car, here are a few things you should check before driving off:
Check for damage on the exterior
First and foremost, take a good walk around the car and examine its exterior. Look for superficial damage such as dents, paint chips, scratches and more. This is primarily to make sure that the rental company does not provide you with a damaged vehicle, but it is also important to make sure that they are aware of any damage that might exist so that they will not hold you accountable for it.
If nothing more than that, it is also a good idea to do this so that you’re familiar with what the car looks like and what its identifying features are, such as its colour and plate number. This might not seem important at first, but you’ll be thankful for it later when your car is in a parking lot and you can identify it easily in a sea of identical-looking cars.
Check for items left behind in the interior
Once you’ve inspected the exterior of the car, now comes the time to check its interior. Rental cars change hands often, so there may always be a possibility that the previous driver may have left something behind. By right, the car should have been inspected by the rental company’s staff but there always remains the possibility of human error so things may sometimes go unnoticed.
The boot or trunk, the glove compartment, and any other compartments the model you’re receiving should be given a quick look-over just to make sure they’re empty. Additionally, this is a good time to make sure that items such as the car’s manuals and basic tools are indeed in the car just in case you run into trouble later.
Check fuel levels and types
While this may seem obvious, there are times when car renters actually fill the wrong type of fuel by mistake. This is especially true if they’re more accustomed to driving vehicles that use different types of fuel, such as Natural Gas for Vehicles (NGV) or even diesel. This small detail could help you avoid a potential disaster, so make sure that you are aware of the type of fuel recommended for the vehicle you will be using.
Checking fuel levels is also important, firstly to make sure that you are provided with whatever amount of fuel the rental company has promised you as a part of their package. Furthermore, depending on your itinerary it would be a good thing to keep an eye on so that you can estimate if or when you’ll need to find a station to refuel the car.
Final checks and adjustments before driving off
Now that you’ve gotten all the basic checks completed, take a few moments to get adjusted and comfortable before you actually drive off to your destination. Adjust your seat and the mirrors, and start to determine which route you’ll be driving on. It’s much better to prepare your navigation mobile app and perhaps even the music you’ll listen to while your car is still parked, instead of doing it when you’re already on the move.
Last but not least, don’t forget to start slow! The car that you’re renting will probably handle differently compared to whichever vehicle you use on a more consistent basis.
There’s no rush, and the sooner you adjust to this new car the more you’ll be able to enjoy your trip!