Turn an auto rental experience into a reward

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published April 13, 2015

Whether it’s for planning a long road trip or to have some backup wheels while their main ride is in the shop, securing a rental car will likely become a favorable option for most drivers sooner or later.

However, businesses that loan vehicles to drivers often have their own requirements and guidelines for renting vehicles and taking care of those vehicles.

According to Brandon Pupava from the rental department at Suburban Ford in Sterling Heights, his dealership offers in-house rental vehicles if a customer has a vehicle in service that is being worked on.

He said prospective renters must be at least 25 years old and must bring their proof of auto insurance as well as a major credit card, the last of which is required just for holding purposes. In addition, smoking is not allowed in the vehicles, he said.

Mark Waad, manager of Executive Car Rental in Oak Park, said his business has as many as 300 to 600 vehicles rented out at any particular time, but that exact figure can vary depending on the season and time of year.

The reason for renting usually involves needing a transitional vehicle while the regular one is being repaired, or needing a larger vehicle to take a family road trip or vacation — be it to places like Florida, California or Cedar Point, he said.

Waad said his business offers rental vehicles to people ages 21 and up with a valid driver’s license, and he said it sometimes requires a second form of ID such as a utility bill to verify residence. But unlike some rental places, he said it does not require proof of insurance, pay stubs, a credit check or a major credit card.

“We do accept cash, and our process is very easy to get a rental vehicle versus the big chains,” he said. “They do a credit check. They want a major credit card, proof of insurance.”

Before taking out a rental, it’s very important to walk around and inspect the vehicle for signs of any pre-existing damage that needs to be documented beforehand, Waad said.

“(Customers) should take a picture of it because their phone will time-stamp it,” he added. “It’s always good for a customer to make their own notes.”

Waad said customers should also make sure an oil change has been done recently, and they should verify that the vehicle comes with an owner’s manual and a spare tire.

Drivers should also remember to adjust their mirrors and know how to access the child safety locks and open the fuel tank door, he said.

Learn more about Suburban Ford in Sterling Heights by visiting www.suburbanfordofsterlingheights.com or by calling (586) 268-7500. Learn more about Executive Car Rental in Oak Park by calling (248) 414-1600.