Consumers with less than perfect credit have a number of vehicle choices when financing a used car

Options When Buying Used Cars

Buying a Rental Car with Problem Credit

Here at Auto Credit Express we realize that most consumers with bad credit will find themselves financing a used car with reasonable mileage. For the most part, the choices will include traditional used cars as well as certified used cars. But in addition to those vehicles, buyers also might be shown a demo (which is technically a new car), a program car (one driven by an auto executive), or even a fourth option.

Used Rental Cars

That option is a used rental car. Although these vehicles are sometimes referred to as program cars, they shouldn't be confused with the vehicles driven by auto company executives (the FTC defines a program car as "low-mileage, current-model-year vehicles returned from short-term leases or rentals").

Used rental cars come from rental agencies that sell a portion of their vehicle fleets directly to consumers through their own used car lots as well as to car dealers (through auctions) each year.

Buying Concerns

If you buy a vehicle from a rental used car lot you know it's a used rental car. But why would you want to know and how can you tell if a used car you're considering was actually a rental vehicle at one time?

To answer the first question, one of the criticisms of former rental cars is that they get misused by drivers. This is certainly a concern, but it's not always true and, in fact, rental companies are typically very diligent in keeping their fleet in shape. As for the second question, used rental cars easy to spot, but it's harder to tell if they've been damaged.

That's because a vehicle history will show where a vehicle was titled, but since most rental companies are self-insured, there's a good chance the damage won't show up on any of these reports.

Tips on Buying a Used Rental Car

With those facts in mind, here are some tips on buying a used rental car:

  • Be aware of the fact that the "program car" a salesperson is describing is probably a former rental car, not one driven by an auto executive
  • Know the fair market value of a used car before stepping on the lot
  • Test drive any used rental car you are considering
  • Check the warranty coverage – there may be a portion of the manufacturer's warranty remaining. Some rental car companies include a basic 12-month/12,000 mile powertrain warranty while others offer the option of purchasing a service contract
  • Check the vehicle history report of any used rental car you are considering
  • Before signing on the dotted line, have the car you choose inspected by an ASE Certified Master Mechanic as well as a body and frame specialist

The Bottom Line

Used rental program cars offer a fourth option for credit-challenged buyers. Consumers should know the fair market value, take a test drive, review the vehicle history report as well as have the vehicle they're buying inspected by an ASE Certified Master Mechanic as well as a frame specialist before signing on the dotted line.

One more tip: Auto Credit Express matches consumers with poor credit to those dealers that can offer them their best chances for car loan approvals.

So if you're ready to establish your credit, you can begin the process now by filling out our online auto loan application.