Traveling, whether for business or pleasure, can be a great way to get around. But renting a car comes with its own set of risks. Therefore, it’s essential to be wary of certain things when renting a car.

These tips will help you steer clear of common missteps and save some money in the process, but they will also help you have the best possible time on your trip or vacation. Rental cars are a huge industry, and with that, there are a wide variety of different companies and options you need to think about and consider before making any large financial decisions.

Learn the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

When purchasing or renting a car, truck, or similar, it’s essential to check its Vehicle Identification Number ( This 17-digit code can tell you a great deal about your car: when and where it was made, its maintenance history, and more.

The VIN can be located in several places, such as the front car frame, spare tire, driver’s door jamb, and engine block. It will also appear on documents like titles, registration, and insurance policies. Finally, it’s also easy to locate on a used car’s dashboard, so be sure to look for it if buying or renting an older model car or truck.

What is VIN

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a 17-digit code assigned to every machine when it’s manufactured. This code contains specific information about the car, such as when and where it was produced, its make, model, series, body style, engine size, assembly plant location, and more.

The VIN number contains several sections, starting with the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI). This code helps identify the country of manufacture; for instance, cars built in America start with 1, 4, or 5, while Canada, Mexico, and Japan use J, South Korea starts with K, England begins with S, and Germany begins with W.

Next, the vehicle descriptor section begins with a series of digits describing your car’s body type, series, engine code, and transmission type. It includes a check digit to help detect fraudulence; finally, eight characters identify the sequence number for your car.

With a VIN decoder, you can read the rented vehicle’s VIN. This tool allows for the lookup of details such as make, model, year, body style, and engine size for that vehicle – plus any safety recalls that have occurred, helping you to make a safer decision.

When renting a vehicle, it’s wise to check the VIN before signing the contract. Doing so can help you make an informed decision and save time when returning the car.

Vehicle Identification Number
Source: Vehicle Identification Number

Read the Contract

To prevent being overcharged on your next road trip, read the rental contract carefully. This document will give all the pertinent details about what to expect from the driver and passengers during your journey.

Contracts offer customers the chance to explore the newest vehicle technologies, such as GPS navigation, Wi-Fi hotspots, and Bluetooth streaming capabilities. No matter the technological advances, it’s still up to you when renting a car – particularly if you are driving outside your home country.

With some patience and research, however, you might be able to secure cheaper rates by renting another vehicle at another location. There are plenty of websites where this information is available.

Review the Vehicle Condition

Before renting a car, it’s essential to inspect its condition beforehand. Doing this helps avoid an accident or damaging it and saves you money on insurance costs and repair bills when you return it. Some people believe the company has their best interest at heart, but I’d recommend going with your gut and making sure everything is fine on your end, despite what the company may say.

You can do this by reading the rental contract and inspecting the vehicle yourself. Additionally, taking pictures or videos of the car may be beneficial if there are any disputes in the future with the rental company.

Rental companies usually conduct pre and post-inspections of a vehicle before you pick it up and when you return it. Employees conducting these checks usually write down a report about any damages (interior and exterior), current fuel level, and kilometers traveled.

Vehicle Condition

The condition of a vehicle is an essential aspect of a successful rental agreement, ensuring you can get back on the road quickly when needed. Checking on potential issues before they worsen can save you money and hassle in the future.

A good vehicle condition report should be comprehensive, clear, and detailed. It should include information about every service the car has ever received, as well as any open recalls or defects which could negatively impact its value.

Some car condition reports include the number of miles driven, which can help determine if there are any major issues with performance. This information is especially beneficial if the vehicle is an older model, as it helps determine its current value.

Nowadays, almost every vehicle condition report includes pictures of the car for you to get a better idea of its appearance before purchasing it. This is especially beneficial for online auction car buyers who don’t have the time or resources to inspect a vehicle in person.

Most car condition reports now include video of the vehicle to give you a closer look inside and outside before buying it. A reliable vehicle condition report can make all the difference when shopping for used cars – from finding reliable ones to saving money at auction lots.

Review Vehicle Condition
Review Vehicle Condition

Take Photos

Before you grab the keys to your big yellow box, it’s wise to take some pictures of the vehicle. Not only are photos useful for various reasons, but they also enable you to keep tabs on how well the car is performing before hitting the road.

In addition to checking tires and oil, it’s also wise to snap a photo of the dashboard. This is an ideal location to check the fuel level on your leiebil and how many miles the vehicle has on it. Both of these things can be useful when needing proof of proper fuel usage.

The great news is most smartphone cameras come equipped with an embedded timestamp, so you can quickly tell when a photo was taken. This comes in handy for time-sensitive rentals, as you don’t want to leave the lot with a brand-new car that doesn’t have oil or has had its tank drained!

It’s wise to take some close-up shots, like those featured in our gallery, so you can get a better view of the vehicle’s details.

You can even use these photographs as a checklist to make sure you don’t forget any important details on your next trip. For instance, adding stickers or wipers before heading out for a night on the town can add an extra touch.

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