Longish term car rentals when you are unsure of the length of time
October 18, 2014 8:22 AM   Subscribe

I need to use a car to get around Phoenix for anywhere from 2 to 6+ weeks, and I won't know how long I need it until I'm done using it. What kind of service do I use or what do I do?

Good morning. MeFi.

I'm in an unusual situation where I need a car for an extended period of time, but I'm not sure how long that will be. I am in Phoenix, Arizona caring for my father, who has a terminal illness. I need a car to get around, take him to appointments, etc, but his life expectancy is not very predictable. I may need a car for two weeks (god I hope not) or 6 weeks, or more.

There are car rental services that say 'hey, if you need a car for more than a month, use us' but I can't guarantee I'll need it for that long.

I considered looking into buying a beater off Craigslist, but I 100% need a reliable option so that I don't have to worry the car won't work in an emergency situation. I also don't have anyone to bring me around to look at cars to buy, and probably not the wherewithal to purchase a used car at this time.

Money, of course, is a concern. I don't have a concrete budget, but this is not a problem I can throw many thousands at.

Does anyone have an experience in a situation like this? Please also consider that my brain is dumb and cluttered and emotional right now, as I have just made an almost-3,000-mile trip on a few hours' notice to become my dad's caretaker. Please use small words.

Thanks, all.
posted by rachaelfaith to Travel & Transportation around Phoenix, AZ (6 answers total)
Best answer: I would just use a regular car rental place. Most of them have discounts for weekly or monthly rentals and you can just call and extend the rental period. I've done that before when I was on a one-week trip that turned into two, so I imagine they'd do the same for several weeks that turns into several months.

I'm very sorry you're going through this. I recently went through something similar, so if you want to talk, please feel free to MeMail me.
posted by bedhead at 8:29 AM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would use a regular car rental agency. The maximum car rental agencies can rent a car for is usually 30 days. Then you would call in and extend the rental period. We did this when we were selling our vehicles and house in preparation for a move across country. I would talk to car rental agencies in the area. I'm sure they have come across a similar situation sometime and have appropriate ideas on how to deal with it. I'm sorry for your situation but it is not unique. Check with nurses and office workers at appointments. There is probably resources in the area to help you out with care and transportation.
posted by BostonCannuck at 8:43 AM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure of the specifics of this, but one of my aunts recently rented a car for an extended but unspecific amount of time, and she was getting a good deal with her Costco membership...likes $90/week, with the option to keep going at the end of every week. You might look into this if you're a member.

Phoenix also has Uber, which depending on the frequency and distance you need, may also be an option.
posted by justjess at 8:45 AM on October 18, 2014

My company gets me a car sometimes for extended trips. Just pick a date, say, 45 days from now and reserve a car until then. You can call and extend, or turn it in early if you have to. It's not that big a deal. Some places will want you to physically bring the car back to the rental place every so often for maintenance or just to prove you still have it or whatnot. They will give you back the same or a different similar car on the same contract, though. You don't have to start a new rental agreement each time.

Definitely try to get a discount of some sort. Daily rental charges add up to a lot of money. Maybe think about actual mileage vs. flat rate rental. In my experience, for a long rental like this, you have a lot more bargaining ability and don't have to stick to what they "normally" do. Needing it soon might make that less possible, though.
posted by ctmf at 5:26 PM on October 18, 2014

Enterprise specifically has a rate for this. Call them up and see what they can do for you
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:35 PM on October 18, 2014

Response by poster: An incredibly generous friend of my dad's has volunteered to let me use her car for however long I need to. Thank you for all your answers; it's good info to have anyway!
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:15 PM on October 18, 2014

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