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David Mittleman
David Mittleman
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Are You Driving a Safe Rental Car?

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Is that rental car you're driving really safe? You might be surprised to find out that when you rent a car there is a chance that the vehicle has been recalled at some point, but hasn't been repaired. Unfortunately, it's up to the consumer to decide whether or not a vehicle is safe and that can vary widely based on the rental car company. For example, Hertz says it pulls all of its recalled vehicles and won't rent them out until after they've been repaired. Other companies such as Enterprise maintains that its vehicles are safe but won't go so far as to say they pull all recalled vehicles from their fleets.

Nevertheless, with the use of new technology, consumers can check on the safety of the vehicles using SaferCar.gov. At this website, consumers can use a search tool that allows them to look for recalled vehicles by make and year. If the car you know you will be renting is listed as recalled you can call the rental car agency and ask for a replacement vehicle. However, because there are no consumer safety laws, it is up to you and the rental car agency to come to an agreement.

Several legislators have attempted to pass consumer safety laws that would protect consumers from driving in unsafe recalled rental vehicles. The rental car industry has pushed back, arguing that such laws would put an undue burden on businesses, especially during holiday seaons when many people rent vehicles. They admit that consumer safety is important, but that not all recalls merit the same level of attention because of varying levels of safety risk.