Rental Car Abuse Recourse

So I’m taking a much needed vacation soon. As a gift to myself, I am going to rent a high performance car for a scenic ocean drive.

Now, if a car company rents out high performance sports cars, don’t they just assume the driver will drive it like one? Is there any tracking or monitoring devices in use by rental car companies (I’m aware it’s all available).

Do I have anything to worry about if I want to kick this car up past triple digits, spin the tires, or attempt a Tokyo Drift?

My experience is no. I took a road trip across the US for work two summers ago in a rental car and I trashed the shit out of it. Put about 8,000 miles on the car over 2 months and didn’t bother to empty the garbage out at any point (wrappers, coffee cups, etc.). I also took it up to redline and flatline several times and took a good deal of the tread off the tires (I’d slow it down when they started to smoke). Was pulled over going 120mph in rural Michigan as well but apparently that didn’t get reported to the rental agency (?). Didn’t do any Tokyo Drift though. Pulling it into the rental agency at the end was classic – guy was like “what the fuck is this?”

In other words, waste that sucka. Let us know.

Yeah, you should be fine unless you do something that they can notice right away.

When I go on kitesurfing trips I frequently cover the entire interior of the car in sand and return it that way. Never hear a word.

Normal rental car agencies don’t care. They sell the cars at 30k miles anyway, so they probably don’t really care what you do. You probably shouldn’t leave a bunch of trash and dirt for the guy to clean up though. That’s not really nice for the cleaning guy.

I won’t leave trash in it. I’m asking if they can find out that I drove it like I stole it. If they can, what recourse do they have?

I won’t physically damange the car, but I will stress test the motor.

Modern car computers record a lot of stuff, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they could check if you were doing 150 at somepoint. If you bring the car back with no damage, I suspect they won’t check or won’t care. If you blow the engine or have have an accident, there could be fine print in the rental agreement that makes you liable for the damage in the event that you were determined to have been driving negilgently. If you wreck at 150, chances are your estate will address it, but it’s possible the 150 could void your insurance for the entire rental period and make you liable for a fender bender in a gas station.

It’s almost guaranteed that the contract will be void if you plow the car into something at 150 mph – I’m sure they thought of that. But then again, you’ll have bigger problems if you do that. A key part of the rental abuse strategy is not actually wrecking the car.

Just take 10 minutes and read the contract very carefully. Or you could make an anonymous phone call and be like, “Um, yeah, I’m going to rent a car… from one of your competitors… and drive it like I stole it. Can they do anything about that if I don’t wreck it?” That would be a fun call to make.

Where’s my man Black Swan? I know he has a few stories of treating a rental like a Tonka Toy.

Don’t forget to read up on driving technique first:

Nah, I’ll just watch Fast and Furious 3 to figure it out. Unless one of the many Asians on AF want’s to school me on drifting a high end performance car. Sorry, it’s not the Supra or Skyline.

You need to pull a Dukes of Hazzard jump before turn it in, CvsM.

Haha, I was purposely staying out of this one! I’ve beaten a lot of cars to sh*t over the year, but oddly no rentals. The only two cents I was gonna offer was just that I believe you mentioned renting a sports car… if you rent say a mustang or corvette or whatever from say Hertz (see link), you should be fine getting away with all sorts of crazy driving as long as you get the insurance and try not to totally annihilate the vehicle. If you rent from one of the high end sports car rental boutiques that offer things like ferarris and what not (generally total rip offs), then they often do things like instal limiters and monitoring devices, etc, and have more comprehensive contracts, so you could get in more trouble abusing the vehicle. My big concern would be speed limiters as possibly the hertz cars would have those too. For instance back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s if you bought a trans am or camaro but didn’t get the z28 or ws6 package, then the tires were only rated to 119 if I recall correctly, and your car would have a limiter at that speed.