28
Feb
2011

Is your car rental company taking care of manufacturer recalls in a timely manner? Odds are, they’re not.

For many recalls, it’s not a huge deal. But every now and then, something horrible happens — such as a PT Cruiser which caught fire, leading its occupants to lose control and crash. After five years of litigation, Enterprise Rent-a-Car admitted liability, for not getting a hood fire recall taken care of.

Subsequently, the federal government has looked into rental car recall management:

In November, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was looking at nearly 3 million recalled vehicles from General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC that were sold to rental car companies to see how quickly they are repaired.
[...]
Rental car companies are not legally required to complete recalls before they rent the cars to customers.

Some safety advocates have raised alarms that some consumers are unknowingly driving vehicles that were recalled and not repaired.

Bob Barton, president of the American Car Rental Association noted, that hundreds of recalls and service bulletins affecting millions of vehicles in North America are issued annually.

“In most cases, members place a ‘hold’ on recalled vehicles so they are not rented until the recall work is completed,” he said.

Because rental cars move around so much it can take weeks or months for the company to find out a model has been recalled, thus taking much longer for repairs to be done, advocates said.

I’m sorry, but that’s pretty weak: If a “hold” is placed on a specific VIN, it can be plugged into the database and blocked from rental. Dealerships are located nationally, so a repair can be taken care of anywhere. This lax attitude shouldn’t be given a pass.

For what it’s worth, the rental car companies are still apparently better at handling recalls than most individuals, “who often fail to get recalled vehicles fixed.” (No specific stat given, alas.)

If you’re concerned about your rental, I suppose you could fire up the internet and check the car’s VIN against the manufacturer’s recall database online. But will you, really?

For your convenience, here are the recall links for Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda. GM, Hyundai, and Kia, each of which are frequently included in the rental car pool, add an unfortunate hurdle to their search and require you to register as an owner on their website, which you probably don’t want to do with a rental car. Alternatively, call the toll-free customer service for the manufacturer if you’re concerned.

…But will you really check?

pixel Another thing to worry about?: Rental car recalls
Categorized in: car rental, rental cars

20 Responses to “Another thing to worry about?: Rental car recalls”

  1. Ben Says:

    I’d check if there was a really easy app for it on my phone.

  2. Gorilla Safaris in Uganda Says:

    Wow! Got to be careful which vehicle i get to rent…

  3. Marc Says:

    Retail stores post signs about recalls at the front and pull merchandise off of the floor, I think car rental companies should be required to post notices as well.

  4. Julia Says:

    Rentals or hires…. which one to be opted?

  5. Charlie Says:

    To me, the odds of getting a car, even one subject to a recall, that has a dangerous flaw, are just part of life. Your rental could be perfect, but some idiot crooses the centerline and you’re and angel anyway. Relax and rent from good companies.

  6. Cody Says:

    I’m from a car dealership in Montana that also offers Toyota Rent a Cars. Since we have the repair facility right on site, its super easy for us to make do all the recalls. So, I would say with absolute certainty that we are up to date with any and all recalls. However, I can see your point that most car rental places aren’t going to have that ability, and most things are going to be overlooked.

  7. US Traveler Says:

    I’ve never really thought to be this careful with the cars I rent. Granted, I never really had any trouble with rental cars (at least, no trouble that wasn’t of my own making), but I think I will think twice now when I decide to rent a car…

  8. Alf Welch Says:

    Actually you could be in serious trouble if the dealer wasn’t up to the mark with recalls. Insurance companies are always on the lookout for excuses not to pay out on claims. Thanks for the recall links info it’s invaluable.

  9. Adrian Vultur Says:

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  10. Billion Says:

    Do people really like to go to a dealership to rent a car. We have been toying with the idea of renting out cars. What are your thoughts.

  11. ras Says:

    i really like this.
    thanks for sharing.

  12. roger Says:

    I know of some people who have had problems with their rental cars which had recalls and didn’t work properly.

  13. Travis Ehrenstrom Says:

    I suppose that I should not continue to rent Toyota’s then! All jokes aside, this seems like it should be federally regulated! My question is that if anything were to happen to a car that was recalled and not repaired, is the rental company liable, or the renter?

    Thanks for informing us all!

  14. Watson Says:

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  15. allensharon Says:

    Five of the biggest names in car rentals nation wide have agreed to stop leasing vehicles under safety recalls.This is a great travel site, packed full of useful information, including things to do, events and places to see. and also it gives the best deals for the customers

  16. Travel Guide San Francisco Says:

    Nice article to read… It is really not safe anymore to rent a car everyvere.

  17. Nonstop to Miami Says:

    Nice site, nice article and tips. Thanks for your work

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