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Why buying a rental car could save you a ton of money

If you're looking at buying a used car, consider rentals. They're typically well maintained and you could get a better deal.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you need a car and are thinking about something used, you might want to consider purchasing a rental car. 

You've probably heard that rental cars and trucks are driven hard because, hey, it's a rental and it's someone else's problem. But that's not always true, and buying a former rental car might offer you more protections than you think. 

Used cars can, and often do, come from a dealership, but they don't always have to. You can buy in a private sale, person to person, but we don't have to tell you how that can go. The process of buying a car can be daunting, especially when it comes to making sure a pre-owned car isn't a lemon. 

One place often overlooked is the used rental car market. Honestly, I would have never though that, but this interview caused a change of heart.

Karl Brauer with ISeeCars.com says it's worth a look because of what you'll save. Keep your eye on Hertz. They're in bankruptcy, so better deals might be likely. The best deal will be on a Nissan Altima. The average savings are 6.5 percent less than market value. That's followed by the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee. 

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My issue, and probably yours, too, might be the condition they're in. People beat the heck out of rentals, right? Who would want that? 

"The thing to remember about rental cars [is] service schedule," Brauer said. 

Ask for those repair and service records, and usually you'll get a one-year, 12,000 mile warranty on a used car from a rental agency. That's 11 months longer than some well-known used car dealers. Typically, the cars are only two years old.

The one negative, though, is you get what you get. If you like bells and whistles on a car or truck, this may not be the option for you. When people are renting cars they really don't care about that; they tend to care about it when buying, though.

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