Car Rental and Road Safety: Important Things You Need To Know

Car Rental and Road Safety: Important Things You Need To Know

. 4 min read

Going on a road trip doesn’t always mean that you will require a car of your own. That is where the car rental agencies come in to guarantee you an experience of a lifetime. However, renting a car comes with its share of inconveniences and risks. To keep things on the safer side, we have compiled a list of safety tips that need to be followed in your upcoming road trip.

  • Obviously, to some degree, you will not be too familiar with the rented vehicle. However, you can ensure the proper condition of the car by checking whether the tires are properly inflated. Ideally, there shouldn’t be any uneven tread wear as this indicates a problem with the same. An odometer reading exceeding 25000 miles indicates that it is a senior rental car. The trunk also needs to be checked for spare tires to determine whether they are in proper condition. It is also imperative to check if the lug wrench and jack are available.
  • Before setting out you need to verify the fluid levels of oil, antifreeze, and washer fluid. You can also start the car engine and leave it for some time to check whether the fuel marks are full.
  • Since every car has a different set of controls, it is very important to get accustomed to the same. You need to primarily know about window control, seat control, light controls, and windshield wiper control. Once you are done with the initial verifications, you can take the car for a spin and report strange behaviors if noted.
  • Special attention needs to be paid to the car engine for unusual sounds. Such sounds can signal an internal issue and need to be brought to the attention of the rental agency at the earliest.
  • Air conditioning is a must if you are going on a long trip. For catering to your comfort level, you can ensure the correct functioning of the fan settings. Often odor coming from the air conditioner tends to induce allergic reactions. If you notice this, then you need to report it immediately to the car rental agency.
  • Often rental companies follow a fuel policy making it mandatory to fill up the tank while dropping off the car. The gas tank also needs to be full before renting the vehicle. If the gas is not full during pickup and inspection, you should let the rental company know about the same so that they can note it in the rental contract. This can also release you from the liability of filling up the gas while dropping the car off. Also, before leaving, don’t forget to find out the location of the gas tank and the latch for the gas tank cover.
  • While renting a car, you will most probably be offered car rental insurance by the company at the counter. However, personal auto insurance might often cover rental cars if you own a car already. It is essential to have insurance coverage before taking the vehicle for rent.
  • While certain rental cars do not impose any restriction on geographical miles, others impose stringent limitations on areas where you can drive. Breaking the rules can make you liable to a stringent fee. This is why you must make it a point to browse through the mileage restrictions and geographical limitations before taking your rental car. Having the route mapped from beforehand can position you in a safe spot by preventing clashes in your itinerary.
  • Drivers often make the mistake of filling their vehicles at the very first gas station they come across. But this might cause them to miss out on competitive gas prices just miles away. However, it also isn’t advisable to drive away too far from your set route as this might add to your expenses. You can bank on different apps to plan your gas stops before embarking on the trip. Regardless of your location, these modern applications can help you get the cheapest gas prices. While travelling off route also you can rely on a gas station finder app to get gas at an affordable rate from the nearest source.
  • Road trips often involve binge eating and drinking in the car which can turn your rented vehicle interiors extremely messy. You might be charged a hefty cleaning fee if the vehicle is returned in a messy state. This is especially true if you somehow stain the upholstery. Getting your fabric seat covers can be a great means of circumventing this expense. Doing this will allow you and your friends or family to eat whatever you desire without worrying about wetting or staining the car interior. To stay on the safer side, you should avoid food items like sodas, sauces, and coffee as they can easily stain the car through spillage.
  • Before taking the rented vehicle out of the parking lot you need to thoroughly inspect the same. Ample pictures and videos should be clicked as insurance. The car will undergo exposure to various elements which might cause damage during the trip. But if luck is in your favor, then you might return with the car in an unscathed condition and these pictures and videos can serve as important evidence in such a case if the rental company somehow demands a fee for damage that has not been caused by you. You should also make it a point to alert the rental company of the existing damages before taking the car for hire. In this way, you can save yourself from hefty expenses on damages that have not been caused by you.
  • Since the car is rented, you need to be extra cautious while deciding on the parking spot. You can try parking it in an indoor garage and avoid parking near gutters and under trees.


Car rental is preferred by travellers for avoiding fleecing taxi drivers and unpredictable public transport. Since you are dealing with an unfamiliar car, it might take some time to understand the mechanics and features. You can also get the car checked by the experts from Sutherland Automotive who are proficient in a variety of avenues ranging from brake repair, steering & suspension, vehicle diagnostics, and many more.

Courtney Rehman

Part of the expertEasy editorial team, Courtney is from South Africa.

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