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Go Over This Rental Car Checklist Before Driving Off the Lot

The first time I ever rented a car, I got a smokey Chrysler the previous driver tried to cover up with perfume. For three days, cigarette smoke seeped into my clothes. Imagine my chagrin when Hertz simply told me I should have came in to exchange the car.

Most people seem to be in an insane hurry to drive off the lot (I’m just as guilty of that) but it’s worth taking the extra couple of minutes to get set up. It is also well within your right to complain. And most car rental agencies are well setup to exchange the car at any location.

I like to think think half of the fun of renting a car is seeing what model and make I get. I’m not usually that picky unless the car is just gross. But this happened to me again when Hertz recently set me up with a Ford Focus that hadn’t been washed or cleaned inside. To make matters worse, when I turned the car on, the empty fuel gauge indicator lit up next to the weird perfume odor. Definitely not a good way to start a full week of driving.

I sat in the car for a couple of minutes trying to deal. But I couldn’t so I eventually got swapped to a newer, cleaner Mazda. All was well, I thought, but I couldn’t shake the bad feeling I had. Lo and behold, the car was missing a front plate when I checked it again later. Never mind it’s completely illegal to drive in the state of California without front or back plates.

(The car rental representative later told us it was not illegal for an out-of-state registered car to be missing a front plate. This is true but sometimes it’s not good to risk chances like this one dude who got ticketed for a missing front plate he wasn’t responsible for. While it was the rental agencies’ fault, who wants to deal with that hassle later?)

Eventually we got swapped out for a normal red Kia Soul, so thank YOU girl at the Hertz Marriott in Marina Del Rey, Calif. No thanks, Anaheim, Calif. location. Holla.

The Checklist





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