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Is Buying a Used Car From Hertz a Good Idea?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author's opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

You may be able to find an especially good deal on a used Hertz rental car for sale in 2020. Typically, rental cars are already priced below market value and since Hertz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, it has begun liquidating some of its car fleet. But while purchasing a rental car can save you money, it also can also mean taking on high miles and an unknown driver history. Here’s what you need to know about buying a used car from Hertz as it goes through bankruptcy.

Should you buy a rental car from Hertz?

There are many pros to buying a rental car, including the fact that rentals tend to be well-maintained, both mechanically and cosmetically. Every vehicle Hertz sells is “Hertz certified,” having passed a 115-point inspection. The biggest pro, however, is that the prices on Hertz rental cars may be hard to beat and require no haggling. You should consider buying a Hertz rental car if the price is below the vehicle’s market value, which you can look up on NADAguides or Kelley Blue Book.

Downsides of buying a rental car from Hertz

The cons include things like not knowing how kind the previous drivers were to the vehicle. Hard braking and quick starting can increase a car’s wear and tear, which can cause problems beyond what you might expect based on its age. Plus, a rental car may have high miles, which can mean that its manufacturer warranty coverage is expired or close to it. Most cars lose warranty coverage when the odometer passes 60,000 miles or five years of age. If mileage matters to you, look at Hertz rental cars that are luxury models, which often have fewer miles on the odometer due to their higher rental fees.

Pros of buying a Hertz rental car Cons of buying a Hertz rental car
  • Good prices
  • No price haggling
  • Well-maintained vehicles
  • 7-day, 250-mile Hertz Buy Back Guarantee ($200 return fee)
  • Hertz 12-month, 12,000-mile powertrain warranty
  • High miles
  • Limited manufacturer warranty left
  • Unknown driver history
  • Higher wear and tear
  • Warranty coverage may fail if Hertz shuts down
A warning about the Hertz warranty

Hertz does include a guarantee and a warranty on its cars. However, note that the warranty might be worthless if Hertz doesn’t survive bankruptcy and goes out of business. If this happens, warranty claims would not be paid for, and the cost of repairs would come out of owners’ pockets.

The Hertz Buy Back Guarantee states that if you don’t like your Hertz car, you can return it within seven days and 250 miles for a fee of $200. Hertz’s warranty is a 12-month, 12,000 mile powertrain warranty, which covers potential repairs on the engine, transmission and drive axle if they develop problems.

How to buy a used rental car from Hertz

There are three steps you should take before you head to Hertz to test-drive a vehicle:

  1. Use an auto loan calculator to figure out how much car you can afford and what fits your budget comfortably.
  2. Window shop on the internet for Hertz used cars for sale and a car loan. Pick out a couple of vehicles and look up lenders that offer the best auto loan rates.
  3. Get an auto loan preapproval directly from a lender before you ask to test-drive so that you have a loan offer in your pocket.

You could apply for car financing through Hertz as well, but as the loan broker, Hertz often has the option of raising customers’ APR. It’s important to get an approval directly from a lender, rather than through a middleman like a broker, so you know the rate you qualify for without a broker raising it.

Request a test drive

You can then request a test drive for your finalist car(s) in one of two ways: Click on the button “confirm availability” off the detail page for the car on the Hertz website that you want to drive, or go to a Hertz dealership where you can test-drive the vehicles. You’ll have to provide your personal contact information, including your name, email address, phone number, your driver’s license and insurance information in order to test-drive.

COVID-19 precautions. All Hertz employees and customers must wear face masks. All test drives are done without a sales representative unless you lack auto insurance, in which case a salesperson will ride in the back seat. All cars have a sticker seal on the driver’s door and the car must be sanitized every time the sticker is broken before the next person drives it.

If you do not want to go to a dealership at all, you could decide on your car and order it for home delivery. The fee for home delivery depends on how far the car needs to be driven. If the distance is 75 miles or fewer, the fee is $99. For more information on Hertz home delivery fees, see the FAQ section below.

Once you’ve done a test drive and decide on your car, consider your trade-in, if you have one. Hertz accepts trade-in vehicles and you can get an estimate for your trade-in on the Hertz Car Sales website. We recommend looking up your trade-in’s value on Kelley Blue Book to see whether the offer you get is fair. You can read more about how to trade in your vehicle. If you don’t think the offer is fair, you could sell the car on Craigslist yourself.

If you don’t have a trade-in or you like the offer that Hertz makes on your trade-in, it’s time to finalize the financing.

Financing a car through Hertz

Hertz is an auto loan broker, not an auto lender, meaning that Hertz can help you find a loan but doesn’t lend money itself. You could apply for a car loan through Hertz and see if it can find a better auto loan rate than the one you have on your preapproval. Hertz partners with lenders such as Ally, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, TD Auto Finance and Wells Fargo for financing.

If Hertz finds a better auto loan offer for you, go with it. It doesn’t hurt your credit to apply to multiple lenders any more than it does to apply to one, as long as you apply within a 14-day window.

Hertz Rent2Buy Program. This program allows potential buyers to rent a Hertz vehicle for three days as a test run to see if the car is suitable before buying it. This program does not allow you to purchase the exact vehicle that you rented for a week and enjoyed. The differences between opting for this program and simply buying a vehicle with the Hertz buyback guarantee includes:

  • You don’t need to purchase the vehicle before taking it home
  • You would pay a rental fee rather than the $200 return fee if you decide not to buy the car
  • If you do decide to purchase the car you rent, the rental fees for the three days are waived

If you are unsure of or nervous about the quality of the car, you could take it to an independent mechanic within either the three-day period of the Hertz Rent2Buy program or within the seven-day, 250-mile Hertz Buy Back Guarantee. Your trusted mechanic could ensure that it is in good working order or if something needs to be fixed. Asking to take it to a mechanic is one of the questions you should ask when buying a used car. We mention this especially because Hertz has made significant workforce layoffs at the same time it’s pushing a lot of its vehicles to market, so it’s unclear how, with a reduced workforce, it will still be able to offer the 115-point inspection that it touts.

Other ways to find a reliable used car

Hertz isn’t the only place to find a reliable used car. Dealerships across the country offer used cars for sale, including used rental cars and fleet vehicles. One of Hertz’s biggest competitors is Enterprise Car Sales.

Hertz vs. Enterprise

Both Hertz and Enterprise are car rental companies that sell their used cars. They both offer no price haggling, the same 12-month, 12,000 mile warranty and a seven-day return guarantee with a $200 return fee.

Yet Enterprise does not offer a rent-to-buy program and is more limited on where it offers test drives and home delivery. At the same time, Enterprise is not facing bankruptcy (at least, currently), which is both good and bad for you as a buyer. The pro is that the warranty Enterprise offers is not currently under question. The con is that the price of a rental car from Enterprise might not be as good as a price from Hertz.

Hertz car sales FAQs

What kind of warranty does a used Hertz car come with?

All Hertz vehicles come with a 12-month, 12,000 mile powertrain warranty. A car’s powertrain is its engine, transmission and drive axle. Experts are worried however, that the warranty might be worthless if Hertz goes out of business. That means that owners would be on the hook for any repairs should Hertz disappear.

If you’re considering buying an extended warranty, do your due diligence and research the company’s prices and customer satisfaction scores.

Can you buy the car you are renting from Hertz?

Yes, you could buy the car you rent from Hertz. Under the Hertz Rent2Buy Program, you could rent a vehicle for up to three days to see if you’d like to buy it. If you decide after those three days not to buy it, you return the car and pay the rental fees. If you do decide to buy it, Hertz will waive the rental fees.

Can you negotiate car prices at Hertz Car Sales?

No, you cannot negotiate car prices at Hertz. The prices are set and nonnegotiable.

Can you buy a car from Hertz with bad credit?

This depends on many factors. Hertz does partner with lenders who provide auto loans to borrowers with bad credit, such as Capital One and Santander. If you buy a car with cash, your credit doesn’t matter. But if you need a loan, your credit does count. Here’s more on how to get a bad credit auto loan.

Is it wise to buy a car with high mileage?

Not all cars are made equal; some vehicles are more dependable and can handle higher mileage. Get a used car inspection to make sure that any car with higher mileage has no major problems and plenty of life still left in it.

What are the Hertz home delivery fees?

Hertz Home Delivery Fees
Distance in Miles Fee
0-75 $99
76-200 $300
20-400 $550
401-600 $750
601-800 $1,000
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