To Rent, or Not To Rent?
Your vacation plans are set, you're taking that 12 hour drive, and you're ready to go. You look your trusty car over, you make note of the tires, breaks, fluid levels, and then the odometer - 175,000 miles and you're going on a 1,200 mile round trip. It really gets you thinking all of a sudden - should you take old faithful? Or would a rental do you better?
While your old faithful has never let you down so far, putting that many miles on her and being so far from home may give you pause. That's where the thought of a rental car comes in
A rental car is usually brand new with very low mileage. The cars are maintained regularly and usually checked over after each rental. Any major break down in a rental car and you are typically provided a tow and a new car with little to no extra cost to you, helping you get back on the road quickly.
You also are not going to be putting miles and strain onto your own vehicle. Whether you're considering selling it here soon or just want to put off maintenance costs if possible, your vehicle will be sitting at the comfortable mileage you were at when you left and ready to head to work instead of racking up another 1,000+ miles for your round trip and all the driving you'll do.
The biggest con in renting a car is cost. Not just the rental fee in the trip, but also costs such as insurance and roadside assistance if your credit card or current car insurance doesn't offer coverage.
Not only that, but there is never a guarantee in what you're renting. While you may select that beautiful, great gas mileage luxury sedan, you may pull up to the counter and be told they are out of sedans, but you were upgraded to a gas-guzzling SUV.
This is also not your car, so you have to re-adapt to driving. You may be able to weave in and out of Chicago traffic in your vehicle, but each vehicle handles differently, has different levels of power, even has buttons in different locations, all of which you'll need to adjust to while you're on the road.
Your Own Car
Now that we've gone over what to expect with a rental, maybe your car doesn't sound so bad at all?
You know your car. You know how it drives, you know how it's supposed to sound, you know when you need gas, you know how it handles, and you know when something's wrong. Confidence in your ride is half of the driving experience, and you know your vehicle inside and out after years of ownership.
There's no major additional financial impacts or fees for regular use of your own vehicle outside of maintenance, fuel, and break-downs. You don't have to worry about extra insurance coverage, make sure it is fuel up before you return it back home, or make sure your deadlines are met. If your return gets delayed a day, then you don't have to stress about another day of rental fees.
You also don't have to worry as much about car damage. While, yes, you always want to be cautious of damage, accidents can happen. If you wanted to take your vehicle down the rock road to the hidden beach, or you need to park in a tight spot on the side of the road, you don't have to stress worrying that elements or other people may damage your rental and cause you to collect extra charges.
Your car is (likely) older and has more wear, which means more chances of something going wrong. If a tire goes flat, a wheel bearing goes bad, a transmission goes out, or anything else happens on the road, it is all on you. You will have to take care of it financially, and it may put your vacation plans off or even on hold if it's a major repair. If you are going any place that does not have typical environments your car is used to (extra moisture, higher temperatures, mountains, etc) that chance of part failure can go up significantly.
Driving your car also puts wear and strain on your vehicle, possibly moving up time tables on regular maintenance - tire wear, oil change, transmission filter change, etc. That being said, you may want to save some extra money along with your vacation fund to pay for upcoming maintenance your vehicle may need upon return.
If you are planning to take your car with you on your travels, we'd be happy to put your mind at ease. Just call 618-998-9010 to schedule a $35 check over to make sure everything is looking good and road worthy before you go.