Must Know Security Tips for First Time Car Rental
Renting a car is usually a fairly quick process. Once you visit the car rental office, provide the required documentation and sign the agreement, you’ll be ready to hop into the car and drive away. If you’ve done this many times before, you’ll be deeply familiar with this process and will simply be going through the motions.
However, if it’s your first time, there are plenty of security and safety risks you should be aware of. It’s important that you recognize and mitigate against these risks as they could endanger your physical wellbeing. The good thing is that none of the risks is unsurmountable. The following are some useful tips to ensure your car rental doesn’t jeopardize your personal security.
Carry a Flashlight
You may have to pick up the car at night. If you do so, make sure you have the ability to inspect the car’s exterior and interior to get a good picture of its condition. You’ll need a small flashlight for this exercise.
Most phone models today come with a built-in flashlight which could serve the purpose. Nevertheless, a flashlight is so important that it doesn’t harm having two just in case you lose one.
Carry a Camera
You don’t want to be accused of damage that was caused by someone else. Bring a camera with you and take photos of all key angles of the car’s exterior and interior. Note any pre-existing damage the car rental company may not have acknowledged in the agreement. If you notice any such damage, raise it with the car rental representative as soon as possible (preferably before you drive off with the car).
The photos will serve as evidence if the rental agency attempts to attribute the damage to you. Just like a flashlight, virtually all phone models today are fitted with a camera. Make sure the camera has a flash just in case you need to take photos at night or in low visibility conditions.
Check the Tires
If there’s one car part that poses the greatest danger to your safety, it’s the tires. A compromised tire can abruptly deprive you of full control of the vehicle in motion and could precipitate a deadly crash.
Ergo, take time to visually check the car’s tires and lookout for overly or unevenly worn tread. If the tread is okay, check the tire pressure to confirm the tires are properly inflated. Don’t forget to do the same for the spare tire.
Familiarize Yourself with the Car
Consider the car completely new to you. Even if you own or have previously driven an identical model, no two cars are the same once they leave the factory door. Scratches, dents, missing parts, faulty parts, aftermarket modifications, items left behind or things placed in the glove compartment are just examples of the elements that distinguish cars from one another.
Take time to know and understand the car. Adjust the mirrors, seats, windows and temperature controls. Turn on hazard lights, headlights and turn signals. Test the windshield wipers. Go for a test drive. Perform a free VIN search on VINCheck.info to identify any notable events in the car’s history.
Find Out When the Car Was Last Serviced
Car manufacturers recommend that vehicles are serviced after a certain number of miles or months. Such maintenance is not only meant to extend the usable life of the car but is also an opportunity for a mechanic to pick up any problems before they become costly to fix. A lack of regular service is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle breakdowns. In the worst case, the faulty part could trigger an accident.
Ergo, enquire from the car rental representative when last the car received maintenance service. If they cannot provide an answer, don’t take the car.
Know Your Car Rental Contact
You can never predict what will happen to you when you are on the road. It’s important that you prepare for the unexpected such as an accident, break down or a loss of car keys. If this happens, the first entity you should get in touch with is the car rental company.
As the owners of the car, they ultimately have the final say on what you should do if you find yourself in these situations. The rental company also has the information and tools needed to get the issue resolved in the shortest time possible.
These tips will help you stay secure but are certainly not all you need to do. Always take common sense precautions and do not do anything that could put your safety and security at risk.