Things to Check When you Get a Rental Car


When you first get your rental car, be familiar with all aspects of the vehicle before you drive off. Here are the things you are advised to check to avoid inconvenience later on.

Renting a car for the first time can be simultaneously exciting and scary. A car rental opens up a world of possibilities when you travel, but there are some pitfalls you want to avoid. We’re here to make sure you feel that sense of adventure without the downside.

When you arrive to pick up your hire car, the staff at the counter will go through a few checks with you. Find out what to expect when you get there, so you can enjoy a smooth pick-up, with no surprises.

Look over the car

Take a minute to walk around the car and look inside, checking for damage. If it’s dark or you’re in a multistory, use your phone torch. If you find any damage, ask the car hire company agent to mark it on your paperwork before you leave. Take pictures so you can be confident about what the car was like to start with.

The most common damages to look out for are scratches, dents or chips on the outside of the car and cigarette burns on the car seats.

Thoroughly check the lights, windows, door handles and wipers

These are important things to check before driving with a rental car. Make sure all the lights function, whether windows open and close, if door handles work and the car locks well and if wipers work.

Check what fuel it takes

Open the cap to see if it’s petrol or diesel. Petrol might have ‘95’ on it. If you’re not sure which fuel the car takes, ask the agent before you leave. To find out more, see Diesel or petrol car: How can I tell?

During the booking process for car, you can inquire the type of fuel the car uses. You can also choose your preference but it is possible to change. To confirm if the car uses petrol or diesel, open the fuel lid. In case you are not sure of the fuel it takes, find out from the agent.

Bring your ID, credit card and confirmation number

The rental car company will ask to see your driver’s license and credit card. And whether you’ll be picking up at the counter or at a booth dedicated to the rental car company’s loyalty program, it’s always safer to have the rental confirmation handy.

Respect pickup and return times

Rental car reservations are guaranteed for the pickup time assigned to you. Pick up early or return late and the rate might change. Be aware that the staff won’t keep the office open for you if you’re running late and can’t return the car by closing time.

Look at the dashboard

Rental car fuel is most commonly provided on a ‘full to full’ basis, which means you start with a full tank and you return the car with a full tank. Turn the key to check the tank is full (and the headlights work). To find out more, see How to choose the right fuel policy for your rental.

Test the navigation system

If the car has GPS, get familiar with it. Set the language before you set off. In case there are more things you need to know about its usage, ask the agent. If the car doesn’t have a GPS, go to a Wi-Fi zone and download maps which you can use later when you are offline. Alternatively, use travel maps offered by the agent.

Take a moment

Once everyone’s safely strapped in, take a minute to adjust the mirrors, move the seat, find reverse, check where the indicators are, fiddle with the air conditioner and play with the stereo of course.

Investigate if the tyres are safe and seasonally fitting

Check each and every tyre for the depth of the shallow tread. Make sure it is not less than 1.5mm or worse. And if some wires can be seen, do not take on tis car before these tyres are replaced.

Head out on to the road

If you’re at an airport, don’t let the spaghetti roads get you down. Don’t feel rushed and take your time. There’s no harm in reminding yourself which side of the road you’ll be driving on.

Spot a nearby petrol station

When you’re heading away, look out for a petrol station. It’ll save any last-minute stress about filling the car up before you take it back.

Just one last thing

You’re all sorted, in control and on your way have a fabulous trip.

In conclusion, make your next trip memorable by first checking on the above items on a car for hire and making sure they are in the right state before leaving the agent. Looking for a reliable rental car for your upcoming tour? You can get one from Car Rental Tanzania for your travel throughout East Africa.


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