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A Handy Guide to Hiring a Car - 7) Checking the Vehicle

UKHandyMan4HirePosted by UKHandyMan4Hire on Tue Jul 2, 2019 3:02pm in Driving, hiring, buying and owning a car
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Checking the vehicle

Obviously, you need to make sure the vehicle is in line with the class, type, description of the vehicle you ordered. Remember that hire companies will often say ‘A vehicle or equivalent’ so don’t be expecting a refund if the 5-door hatch like a Vauxhall Astra turns out to be a Hyundai i30, if they fall in the same class then you get what you are given.

If at any point in the inspection process the vehicle looks, sounds or feels unsafe or un roadworthy then refuse the vehicle. For example, do not accept a vehicle with a tyre that is below the legal limit or where the exhaust sounds like it is on its way out… if you accept the vehicle in that state I can assure you that it will become your problem!

I have been handed vehicles in dimly lit areas or in the middle of the night, its tough and I have to accept that do I? NO! Ask for inspection lighting to be provided.

It is highly likely, as you make your way around the vehicle, that you will find damage that the representative tells you it will not matter because the damage is below a certain size, or the scratch doesn’t break the paint. Get them to record the item on the handover sheet or ask them to write the statement down. You need to cover yourself. These small issues that are disregarded at collection regularly become a problem when you hand the vehicle back!

I always take a photo of every item of damage I find. If you use a phone camera then the image is stamped with the date and time and it can be used to support any problem you may encounter. I also film the vehicle, this again is for my own protection, I suggest you film any issues.

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NOTE – if a dent or scratch or other issues cover more than one panel, even though it is the same scratch or dent, have them record the issue on BOTH panels!!

It would take a long time to list out all the issues that a hire company will pick you up about. A lot of items are common sense. Check for dents, scratches, missing bits of bodywork, cracked windows mirrors or lights… record them all.

Work your way around the car and be methodical. Once you have checked the general bodywork go back and check the edge of the wing mirrors which is a common area of damage which is not picked up. Then check the bottom of all the bodywork for scrapes against kerbs and ‘grounding’ damage – not that I am expecting you to get under the car and take a look!

Next look at the wheels and tyres. Even if they are alloys or wheel trims, record damage to them or if the trim is missing etc. Check for tread depth. Remember to check that a spare wheel is provided (or an alternative like the refill spray can) again, check the condition of the spare wheel and tyre. Whilst you are in the boot, check for the presence of a car jack and spanner, a warning triangle and high visibility jacket.

Inside checks are much easier. Unless there is something very obviously missing or wrong, the hire company usually accepts this as wear & tear.

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Next up are functional checks. It is worthwhile to check all lights and indicators work correctly. Check all doors open and close with the remote.

Also check the correct operation with a key for those doors which can open with the key.

I know of cases of a hire company where the passenger door lock does not operate with the key but opens fine from the remote. The firm goes straight to the passenger door, tries it, it fails to operate, and they charge the client as damage!

You should be nearing the end of your handover inspection. Finally check the mileage and fuel level. If there is any discrepancy to the paperwork you are given then point it out straight away.

The last piece of advice is to check the paperwork where you have highlighted damage. Check that ALL the points you have raised are actually on the paper. Another known trick of the trade is not to record everything, you ‘trust’ the representative and then you get hit with repair bills for items you actually pointed out!

Only the paper version is the evidence!

Some hire companies give you a paper with ‘known damage’ on and some give you a blank page. In both cases you must record everything you see. Do not expect that just because some damage is recorded then it is a catalogue of ALL damage. Similarly, do not think that the car is perfect just because you have a blank page.

Finally, on this point, some firms take your version, transfer it to their own paper, destroy your original version and give you back their copy. If you managed to follow that sleight of hand you may notice that once again they choose not to record everything. Take a photo of your version before you hand it back!



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UKHandyMan4Hire

UKHandyMan4Hire

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