Should I buy a former rental car?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader considering a used RAV4 from a dealer that specializes in former rentals.

The 2016 Toyota RAV4.
The 2016 Toyota RAV4. –Toyota

Q. What is your opinion on buying a former lease, rental, or fleet car? I’m looking at a 2016 Toyota RAV4 with 18,000 miles on it. I’d be buying it from a large used car dealer that seems to specialize in former rental cars. 

A. I have purchased three cars that were from rental fleets and had good luck with all three. Just like any used car, you should have it checked out by an independent repair shop. Some items to look at are overall body condition — was it involved in a crash? At nearly four years old, I would also be looking for tire, brake, and battery issues as well as making sure all of the general maintenance is up to date.   

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.

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