With regards to renting cars out, I'm wondering, besides direct damage like crashing it or hitting a kerb, what type of driving habits renters might have that might damage the car.

I know people might go over humps fast and probably damage suspension or maybe do diagnals on humps and damage wheel alignment but not sure what other things they might do and how this wheel damage the car. Another thing would be harsh driving or braking which I guess would cause general wear but that would happen over time anyway.

How else might they damage it?

  • spilling liquids inside, tearing the upholstery, just about anything you can think of...
    – Solar Mike
    Oct 24, 2017 at 5:00
  • They could wreck the interior. But generally beyond abuse i would think compounding issues by continueing to drive a car after a problem is discovered. Overheating engines driving on flat tyres or without oil or water. Oct 24, 2017 at 5:00
  • 1
    accidentally torching the wreck and returning it to the rental firm on a flat bed
    – Old_Fossil
    Oct 24, 2017 at 5:05
  • go rent Steve McQueen The Hunter :)
    – agentp
    Oct 24, 2017 at 16:00

2 Answers 2


As stated previously, the biggest damage is people completely thrashing the car, especially from cold. 'Drive a rental like you stole it' is most people's thought process - they haven't got to pay for the damage, and it's likely they won't even see the outcome of their aggressive driving by the time they give the car back. Probably a bit extreme, but watch Amon Oliver in his Swift or his other very cheap cars is a good idea of what some people might do with a rental.


People driving rentals have a tendency towards showing less mechanical sympathy then they would to their own car. Add in the people who are just plain poor at driving and you can expect significantly increased wear and tear on many of the car's components.

  • 'Thrashing' the engine from cold - this will increase wear on the engine internals as the oil is not up to temperature (and therefore full lubrication) yet.

  • 'Clumsy' gear changes - in a manual transmission there is all sorts of ways that sloppy gear changes could damage or otherwise increase wear on transmission components such as the clutch, the gearbox itself etc. Unfamiliarity with a manual shift that is different from what they are used to could lead to incorrect gear selection (from changing at suboptimal points to going for a shift to sixth to discover that's where the rental's shifter has reverse!)

  • Misfuelling - if they are used to driving a petrol car and rent a diesel they could easily auto-pilot into filling the tank with the wrong fuel and if they then drive off significant damage to the fuel system or even the injectors/engine could result.

  • Increased wear on consumables - they may drive aggressively increasing wear on tires and brakes.

  • Misguided maintainence - it's not impossible that someone unfamiliar with a rental might go to fill the windscreen washer tank and add it to the coolant overflow instead.

  • Interior damage - as mentioned in the comments by Solar Mike there is always the potential for spills or tears to the interior.

  • Other damage that's not directly their fault - they may take the car off-road for example. Leading to damage from rough terrain or excessive stone chips or "My car can get through that puddle" only to discover that the rental cannot.

The list goes on of course but hopefully that should cover the common things you can expect.

  • In a rental for a longer period, such as a week or a fortnight, something like a slow puncture may not be noticed and the car could be driven for some distance on a soft or even almost flat tyre. There are any number of ways in which a rental car could be damaged but the main one is that the renter doesn't own the car so they won't take the kind of care of it that they would were it their own. Oct 24, 2017 at 9:27

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