Recently I had to get a rental car. My kids and I found ourselves on the side of a highway on Easter morning, our trip to the beach completely derailed. A couple of calls to friends got the kids and me home safely because we’ve got some amazing people in our lives. The van spent the night at a local repair shop and on Monday when they were able to look at it, they said it was going to take a couple of days to get everything repaired. Because there’s not a day we just sit at home, I needed a car. Sweet friends offered to help shuttle everyone back and forth to get to school, work, and sports, but that was too much to ask any of them to take on. Thankfully Enterprise was able to rescue us and get us back on the road safely. If you happen to find yourself in the same situation (or if you’re renting for something more exciting), check out these things to do when you get a rental car to make sure you don’t forget anything:
For my own peace of mind, I take pictures of the inside and outside of my rental car. It makes me feel better knowing I’ve got pictures of everything in case there was ever a question about a scrape or bump when returning the vehicle. Also, if you’re renting and have limited miles, make sure you take a picture of the mileage when you pick the car up to make it easier to keep track of.
Add Your Stuff
Don’t forget to grab your things out of your normal vehicle to put into your rental. Grab the kid’s car seats and get those installed. Make sure to also grab your bag in your car with the basics and move it over to your rental car. It should have things like tissues, a water bottle, snacks, medications, and other things you need to have on hand in your car (emergency diapers and wipes if you’ve got little ones). Before you drive away, make sure to also grab your insurance card from your vehicle. If you don’t want to take the card with you, make sure to at least take a picture so you’ve got the information if needed. Make sure to grab cell phone chargers too!
Take a few minutes to set the radio stations to your preferences. Check your mirrors and get them set up so you can see out of them. Connect your phone to your rental car. One thing my rental didn’t have was SiriusXM radio and I was able to listen to everything through the Bluetooth connection and the app on my phone. Move your seats, headrests, and seat belts so everything is comfortable for you.
Find the Necessities
Spend a couple of minutes figuring out where the necessities are in your new ride. You don’t want to be driving when it gets dark and you’re not sure how to turn the headlights on or how to turn the windshield wipers on when it starts raining. Before I returned my rental, I needed to fill it up with gas. I knew to look at the gas gauge to figure out what side the tank was on, but I didn’t know where the button was to open the gas tank (it was hiding in the door!).
Regardless of why you need your rental, enjoy your new ride for a few days and make the best of it. If your rental has features your car doesn’t have, enjoy them. And make notes about the things you love so you can look for them next time you’re in the market for a vehicle (or even another rental).
Being a single mom on a budget, I was a little worried about my options but Matt and David at my local Enterprise location made sure it was going to be ok. They were both so kind and understanding, listening to exactly why I needed the car and offering their sympathy. It had been ten years since I had an SUV (oh those pre-kid vehicles!) and it was a nice change to have something a little different for a few days. The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport I got from Enterprise was roomy enough for the kids and I. Everyone had plenty of space and there was more than enough room for backpacks, lunch boxes, and instruments too. Having enough space for everyone can be tricky but the Santa Fe worked perfectly. One of my favorite things about it was all the storage inside the vehicle. Both the rental and return were quick and painless which I appreciated very much.