Long-term car rental in Seattle?
February 16, 2018 4:34 PM   Subscribe

My car is totaled and I don't want to buy or lease another one until my divorce is finalized. What's the most affordable way to rent one for one to three months?

My poor little Honda Fit got totaled by a giant industrial dump truck. (I wasn't hurt. Cue major brand loyalty.) I'm also getting a yucky divorce, so I don't want to buy or lease a car until it's over. I need to have a car - what's the most affordable way I can rent one for one to three months? I'm in Seattle. Thanks.
posted by centrifugal to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've used Enterprise in West Seattle for medium-term rentals when my car was damaged. They have weekly and monthly rates that work out to around $20/day for a compact car, once taxes and fees are included.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:00 PM on February 16, 2018

How often do you need to drive? If you don't need a daily commuter, Zipcar is in Seattle and has various driving plans that might suit you.
posted by Karaage at 5:12 PM on February 16, 2018

It was 20 years ago in Los Angeles, but I used Rent-A-Wreck for a couple of months when I was stuck in totaled-car-insurance-hell. I think I paid something like $100/week in 1998 dollars for a slightly dinged up but basically sound Ford Festiva. I'm sure it varies widely from branch to branch, but FWIW the manager at my local branch was a stand-up guy, waaaay more accommodating than I had any right to expect the couple of times my broke ass got behind on payment. (Thanks Roger, wherever you are.)
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 5:25 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you go to one of the neighborhood offices and inquire with the manager about a mini-lease you can probably find a way to make the numbers work out to less than the very discounted corporate rates that were already cheap enough it was cheaper to rent than buy a car and put as many miles on it as I was at the time (1000+ miles a week most weeks). Personally, I prefer Avis (they tended to give me cars I liked), but others seem to like Enterprise. They used to be terrible, so I haven't used them since, but that was a very long time ago.
posted by wierdo at 10:42 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Costco has a car rental program that's sometimes noticeably cheaper than going right to the rental companies.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 8:26 AM on February 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

For Enterprise, as far as I know as of two years ago, they will do full month rentals at better rates than weekly/daily. But you have to talk directly to the branch from which you rent. Make sure that your own auto insurance has full comprehensive coverage for you in any vehicle.

We rented cars from them for many months on end when we needed a second car, and a rental was able to be a tax deductable business expense (and travel expenses were reimbursable) whereas buying another car was not.
posted by monopas at 11:53 AM on February 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Nthing talking directly to an office. If there's one not at an airport, I've gotten much better rates from them than ones at the airport.

And also seconding Costco as a fallback, but their rates are cheapest for a week and under so you might have to repeatedly rent a car for a week than just having an indefinite rental.
posted by Candleman at 11:59 AM on February 17, 2018

Is the other party responsible? If so, you may be able to get a rental car through them.

If you're on your own for a rental, use a broad car rental search (like Priceline, Expedia or Hotwire) and plug in various date combinations. For example, try variations of 1-week, 2-week, 28-day and 30-day rentals. And, try getting quotes for pickup / drop-off on various different days of the week.

There's a surprising amount of variation in car rental rates, e.g. pickup at 11am vs. 12pm and pay a dramatically different price. And, always start by searching all companies/locations at once - each location may have huge swings in price, especially for near-term pickup dates.
posted by reeddavid at 3:21 PM on February 17, 2018

Enterprise has saved me. Thanks, all.
posted by centrifugal at 12:56 PM on February 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

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