If you’re anything like me, when you go on holiday you’ll want to explore the towns and cities near to where you’re staying and to do so you’ll require a hire car. Whether you decide to book the hire car in advance or whether you simply pick one up at the local car rental place near to where you’re staying, renting a hire car can be an interesting experience, as I found out last week.
Make and Model
Having pre-booked with Europcar, one of the most reputable hire car companies in Europe, we were told we were getting a Renault Clio, or similar. The inclusion of “or similar” initially worried me. However, upon arriving at our destination we were handed the keys of a Nissan Note (after being charged an extra £200 on top of what we had already paid in the UK, this covered fuel and motor insurance for the week – make sure you always read the small print when renting a car as some people may be taken back by the escalating costs!)
As you may know, I’m a huge fan of Nissan – not only are they doing wonderful things for the car industry and the economy in the UK with their massive Sunderland plant, but they also design and build truly awesome cars, such as the GT-R, the Juke-R and Skyline’s of years gone by amongst others. The Figaro is also a very stylish little car.
So I wasn’t disheartened at all that we had indeed received an “or similar” to the Renault Clio.
However, upon approaching our boxy Note we noticed numerous scrapes and dents in the bumpers and bodywork. We were informed if we incurred any further damage to the car that we would be charged however much it would cost them to have it fixed – well they certainly hadn’t yet bothered to fix any previous damage.
They also hadn’t bothered to even go as far as giving the car a clean – the windscreen and body was covered in dust, so much so that it was dangerous to drive at night due to the filthy windscreen coupled with wiper blades that no longer worked properly. We even had to pull over and begin scrubbing the windscreen with towels one evening. In addition, the Air Conditioning no longer worked properly – in 28˚C heat that is far from ideal!
The poor little Note was also in dire need of a service, something it couldn’t have ever had in all its 24,000 miles as the brakes were shot to pieces and several wheel bearings were almost certainly worn, something that was obvious by the constant whining noise as we drove along. I don’t think it would pass its MOT here in the UK that’s for sure!
Despite its mistreatment however, the Note soldiered on and endured throughout the week – let’s just hope it gets the clean, service and several repairs it desperately needs!
My top tips when hiring a car are:
1. Make sure you read the small print before committing to a deal
2. Check the car over when you receive the keys making sure you note down any damages
3. Drive the car carefully as you certainly do not want to cause any further damages (an obvious point)
4. Hand back the keys with all relevant documentation and make sure its left in a responsible, respectable condition on the inside (it’s not your responsibility to have it cleaned but this could be a nice touch)
Have you had a similar experience with a hire car? Tell us by commenting below.