Even if you are renting the car you are driving you are responsible and liable for anything that happens to the car while it is in your possession. Even if you have travel insurance or the car rental company has properly insured the vehicle is always best to take preventive measures to avoid risks.
How to Keep Your Rental Car Safe
One of the best ways to keep your rental car safe is to think of it as you are the owner of the car. Even if the car is only with you for a couple of days, always return it better than when you received it as a courtesy.
1. Be Aware of the Security Features Built-in the Car
The first is making sure that your rental car is safe and secure is to ask the rental agency of the built-in security features of the car like anti-theft systems to help you how to use it effectively. Knowing the safety features of your car will also allow you to take advantage of them when you’re traveling. If you are not familiar with the systems, ask for a demonstration to help you activate the security features of the car.
2. Always Inspect the Car
Before heading out on your road trip with your rental car always inspect the vehicle. Inspect the car door jambs and car door lock if they engage properly when you lock the vehicle. Also inspect the car doors, car windows, and cargo latch to see if they close properly. Check if the security features of the car like car alarms and central locking systems are functional.
3. Know the Limitations of the Vehicle
When you are renting a vehicle, chances are it is not the same one that you are used to driving every day. Before starting the ignition of your rental car, familiarize yourself with the size of your vehicle, and identify the blind spots. Always readjust the car’s side mirror, rearview mirror, driver’s seat and steering wheel to match with your driving preferences first before starting. Ask the rental agency of technical details of the car like how many liters of fuel it can take, what type of fuel it uses, and how high the fording depth or ride clearance of the car or SUV.
When you are ready to drive your rental car, practice a couple of rounds in a parking lot or low traffic street to familiarize yourself with the car’s driving characteristics like how fast it can accelerate, how hard it can brake, and how big the turning radius is so that you won’t get caught by surprise on a high-speed highway.
4. Plan Your Route Ahead
If your planning to go drive through wide-open highways between cities, always plan your route ahead and use highways that are well traveled and avoid back roads or roads that have no pit-stops in between. Always consider the fuel capacity and the availability of gas stations in between. Never Overspeed on highways as it can land you heavy fines.
If your planning to go-offroad always ensure that you are properly covered by insurance and it is covered by your car rental policy.
5. Do Not Overload the Car
Always have the right amount of passengers for your rental car and avoid overloading your vehicle. Overloading your car can change the driving characteristics of your vehicle like its handling, suspension, engine power, and braking power which can be dangerous. Avoid overloading the car with oversized cargo and do not tie cargo to the roof of the vehicle especially if it does not have a roof rack or appropriate roof storage compartment.
6. Park Your Car Properly
When you’re done using your rental vehicle or just stopping to shop in a mall or visit a tourist attraction, always park your rental car at appropriate parking slots. Refrain from parking in open lots, unlighted street alleys, or on no parking zones. When parking your car, always ensure that your car is properly positioned within the parking lot and is not too close to the adjacent slot.
7. Always Double Check if the Door is Locked
When parking your car, always check if the doors are properly locked and the locking mechanism has engaged for all doors including the cargo compartment. Also, check if the engine bonnet or hood is securely closed in place to prevent thieves from stealing the car battery. Make sure that all windows are properly closed.
8. Ensure That No Valuables are Left in the Car
Leaving your laptop or cellphone in a clear view inside the vehicle can attract unwanted attention so always ensure that you do not leave valuables in the car. If you’re just stopping over to shop or visit tourist attractions, always make sure that the items in your car are inconspicuous to avoid attracting thieves.
Always be vigilant with your rental car and always take extra time and precautions to ensure that you, your passengers, and the vehicle is safe and out of harm’s way at all times. The best way to solve problems is to avoid them by being safe, secure, and mindful of your surroundings.