car rental dollar hertz roadtrip chicago
February 20, 2007 2:08 PM   Subscribe

chicagofilter: renting a car - from a dealer (or: where can I find a decently priced mileage-free rental for a roadtrip) ?

it's roadtrip time and I am loathing the car rental places already.
having reserved a full-size vehicle at enterprise last time around, I ended up in a ford taurus with itchy cloth seats, hand-crank windows and no keyless entry system.

that left me feeling kind of ripped off, which is why I was excited to see in a thread over on dethroner someone suggest contacting car dealerships in order to get a decently-priced vehicle without mileage restrictions.

only that the first three dealerships I called today practically laughed at me.
no, they all said, we only loan vehicles while yours is in for service.

so, dearest hivemind: do you have recommendations who I should talk to? have you done this kind of deal? has it worked out?
posted by krautland to Work & Money (9 answers total)
If all else fails, use one of the better car rental places (Hertz or Avis, although National has treated me well enough), although you might have to use an out of state location to get unlimited miles. Avoid Dollar/Thrifty, they're hardly a step up from Enterprise, although they are cheap!

There are discount and upgrade codes all over the place for those guys, but you'll still end up paying more than you would with Enterprise.

I rented a midsize with a 2 class upgrade certificate in Buffalo this summer and got a nice Crown Vic. I was very happy, except for the hour's wait for the car when we arrived. To be fair, all the rental places were short on cars that day.. It was around $400 for the week. Whatever you do, make sure you use a credit card that offers insurance coverage for the rental and decline the crap they offer you.

If you work for a decently large company, you may be able to get the car more cheaply through their program, so check that out, as well. Our program entitles us to free #1 Club Gold (and whatever Avis' equivalent is) in addition to discounted rates on personal rentals, free LDW and a few hundred thousand in liability insurance.

Sometimes with the various certificates, it can be cheaper to not use the corporate discount, though.
posted by wierdo at 2:30 PM on February 20, 2007

~$178 (not including tax) for a week in mid march on for a full size. Am I missing something? What do you consider too expensive?

Worth noting: Time frame and rental location can impact your price.
posted by FlamingBore at 2:40 PM on February 20, 2007

Not all dealers do rentals, and brands with little/no fleet business are least likely to rent. Check the yellow pages, or go to the appropriate manufacturer car-rental site (e.g., Ford and Toyota) to find dealers that rent.
posted by backupjesus at 4:37 PM on February 20, 2007

Rent at Ohare. I rent weekly for business with Hertz (I fly in for work, Mon-Thurs, every week), and the worst the cars have ever been is a Ford Taurus, once or twice. I've had an SUV here or there and this week, for the second time, I'm driving an Audi, all of these for the price of a "standard" weekly business rental.

You aren't going to get my business rate, but the airports in most major cities usually do the biggest volume and therefore have the lowest rates. Local joints like Enterprise are capitalizing on the fact that you don't want to go out to the airport to get the car.

At the end of the day, you're probably not going to do much better than an Orbitz quote for an airport rental for the week. Not sure why you're concerned about mileage - the default for most regular rentals (at least at airports, with the bigs like Hertz and Avis) is no mileage limits.
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:53 PM on February 20, 2007

Response by poster: the default for most regular rentals (at least at airports, with the bigs like Hertz and Avis) is no mileage limits.

enterprise gives me plenty of headache with miles and so did a downtown nyc location at hertz recently. that just bothered me to no end.
posted by krautland at 5:48 PM on February 20, 2007

It may have bothered you - but it sounds like you haven't look much at the realistic options available to you in Chicago.

Buck up and log on to a few websites.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:28 PM on February 20, 2007

Renting a car near NYC, I found the price was far less once I got commuter-train distance from the city. This might be true for Chicago also. I've found unlimited mileage to be pretty much standard for rental cars.
posted by yohko at 9:17 PM on February 20, 2007

Actually, Toyota rents cars outside of service replacements. Here's their website.
posted by seymour.skinner at 10:47 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Second allkindsoftime -- airport locations generally have enough cars that they'll let you switch if you don't like what they give you, and they're open to requests.

All, mileage charges tend to apply to certain kinds of rental cars -- SUVs, vans, luxury cars, etc. Basically the cars that you might be tempted to road-trip with. The mile-based depreciation will probably outweigh the rental charges for roadtrip use of an unlimited-mileage rental, but that's a risk the company is willing to take in order to lure (generally low-mileage) business travellers.

krautland, I mean this in the most constructive way possible, but, based on your postings here and at Dethroner, your expectations for a rental car may be unmeetable.
posted by backupjesus at 6:42 AM on February 21, 2007

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