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Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-08-2007, 10:59 PM   #1
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Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

Last month I made a ~2500 road trip to Austin in our 2000 Camry to get a head start on spring and meet up with some guitar buddies.

While driving with the windows down & Joe Ely Live at Libery Lunch in the CD player I did what any of you would do...mental arithmetic on the economics of using up ~2.5% of the miles we'll get out of a car we bought for $8500 and will dump for ~$500 after putting ~100K on it...

It seemed to me like I might be able to rent a new car with no mileage limit for less than the ~$200 I 'used up' on my trip.

Well, Friday I torqued my knee and wasn't able to replace the front brake pads on the Camry, so my wife rented a car for a ~1000 mile trip yesterday. $170 for the week...

Do any of you folks rent cars for long driving trips?

Cb
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-08-2007, 11:21 PM   #2
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

I don't, but a friend of mine used to rent a mini-van when her family took a driving vacation. The van she had wasn't in the best of shape, and she and her DH didn't want to be stranded on the side of the road with several kiddies.
They bought a new van recently, so they're not renting anymore.
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-08-2007, 11:37 PM   #3
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

Always, for any trip over 200 miles or so.

I used to own a beater, and always rented for any long trip. Now
that I do not own a car, the decision is even easier.
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-08-2007, 11:39 PM   #4
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

We plan to drive up from N California to Washington this summer. Wife and I were talking about renting rather than using our own. Will have to figure out costs I guess and see what kind of deals we can procure.
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 06:06 AM   #5
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

A few years back I looked into renting a car to drive from Maryland to Texas, for about 8 days. My daily driver was a Dodge Intrepid, so I wanted something comparable. I think I found a Pontiac Bonneville for $600, by the time I factored in the mileage. I decided to drive the Intrepid.

I think I put about 3500-4000 miles on that trip. I guess one way of looking at it is that, say I kept that car for 100,000 miles, then that trip used 3.5-4% of that car's life. However, highway miles like that, all accumulated very rapidly, are much less stressful on a car than local stop-and-go, daily driving. Presuming that the car is well-maintained, of course. Naturally, if you let it run low on oil, overheat, etc, you're gonna be screwed.

Maybe I could've found a better deal if I looked around, though. And I could have settled for a smaller car. And now that my car is getting up in miles, pushing 130,000, I might be more tempted to look into a rental if I had to go on a long trip. I was once fool enough to drive a 300,000 mile 1968 Dart from Maryland to Oklahoma and back, with no issues other than a speeding ticket, but when that car broke down, it was usually a matter of pay the $1.98 for a new ballast resistor and be on your way. Higher mileage modern cars don't give me the same, warm, fuzzy feeling.
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 09:07 AM   #6
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

A few years ago we took a driving trip over Christmas break that was about 1400 miles, roundtrip. Our family car (1990 Camry) was 14 years old with over 100,000 miles on it. I just wasn't comfortable driving a car that age on such a long trip. Vacation time is precious and a day delay due to a mechanical problem would have really messed things up. We were saving a lot of money by driving instead of flying so I thought the $300 to rent a new car was worth it. We rented a 2004 Camry from our Toyota dealer and it was wonderful to treat ourselves to a new car! The trip was great, we had plenty of room and a lot more power than our old car.

It was also great way to preview our next car. About 18 months later we bought a used 2003 Camry. Same body style as the one we rented for a week.

The 1990 Camry is still running. My son in college drives it. It looks like hell, custom rust job and it recently got hit on the rear quarter panel. But if you remember to check the oil, it should keep running a few more years *crosses fingers*.
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 09:20 AM   #7
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

I rent a car for long trips. I like not putting the miles on my car, knowing that the rental company will replace the car if I have problems, and driving a car with all the current safety features and luxuries I don't have on my car. Off-airport car rental sites often are willing to deal.

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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 09:25 AM   #8
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach
I rent a car for long trips. I like not putting the miles on my car, knowing that the rental company will replace the car if I have problems, and driving a car with all the current safety features and luxuries I don't have on my car. Off-airport car rental sites often are willing to deal.

Coach
Not a bad deal......... We need 2 cars for what we do, but I use the Honda as a workhorse and we keep the miles off the minivan. My Honda will have 100,000 on it LONG before the minivan hits 60K...............

So I guess my beater will be a Honda Accord, and our "trip car" will be the minivan, so that should work
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 10:15 AM   #9
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre1969
...... I was once fool enough to drive a 300,000 mile 1968 Dart from Maryland to Oklahoma and back, with no issues other than a speeding ticket, but when that car broke down, it was usually a matter of pay the $1.98 for a new ballast resistor and be on your way. Higher mileage modern cars don't give me the same, warm, fuzzy feeling.
Slant six? Did those engines ever die?
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 04:30 PM   #10
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

I used to do this all the time... I took a trip from Houston, to Memphis, up to Washington DC down the coast and back home... rental cost only a few $100...

I have flown to a starting point to take other driving trips... flew to San Fran, drove up the coast to Oregon and a bit in Washington state and back down to SF..
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 06:09 PM   #11
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

When I listen to Joe Ely the only mental arithmetic I do is miles per cerveza!
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 06:13 PM   #12
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

This is exactly what I do...although my daily driver is a $3500 car and not an $8500 car......I rent for road trips and drive the rental like I stole it (more fun). One reason I would never buy a used rental.
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 06:23 PM   #13
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by calmloki
Slant six? Did those engines ever die?
Nah, this one was a 318 V-8. Almost as indestructible as a slant six, but much faster, and also much more of a guzzler. As I recall, I averaged about 15-17 mpg on that trip, depending on the terrain. Going through mountainous areas it was about 15, but on one stretch across Arkansas I got into an area where gas stations were a rare sight, ended up driving like an old lady for about the last 50 miles until I finally found one, and I think on that particular tank I got about 17.7. But, gas was cheap back then, about a buck a gallon.

Wow, it sounds cheap to suddenly be talking about the "good old days" when gas was about a buck a gallon. I remember my Dad talking about it being 20-30 cents per gallon back in his "good old days"
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 07:11 PM   #14
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cb
While driving with the windows down & Joe Ely Live at Libery Lunch in the CD player I did what any of you would do...mental arithmetic on the economics of using up ~2.5% of the miles we'll get out of a car we bought for $8500 and will dump for ~$500 after putting ~100K on it...
I think you're underestimating the Camry life by a factor of many. If that car is well maintained, I think it will last much longer than 200K. You would probably sell it eventually because you're sick of owning it for too long, and unlikely because it needs to be replaced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cb
Do any of you folks rent cars for long driving trips?
Not me. I'd jump in my 95 or 97 Maxima (about 160K and 125K) and drive cross country at any given moment. In fact I already did many time. I know how reliable my vehicles are, regardless of age. It just does not make sense to me to rent.
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 07:19 PM   #15
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

Could someone clarify the reason for doing this? Is it because you're worried about the reliability of your regular car? Or the fun of tooling around in a nice new car?
It's not to save money, right?
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 07:34 PM   #16
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Could someone clarify the reason for doing this? Is it because you're worried about the reliability of your regular car? Or the fun of tooling around in a nice new car?
It's not to save money, right?
I would do it because my car is 18 years old and I'm not sure it could handle a long trip. Renting a car for a week or so is probably much cheaper than buying a new one.
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Old 04-09-2007, 07:39 PM   #17
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

I always thought that highway driving was easier on a car than all the stop-and-go stuff we do around town. (Admitedly, I'm not one of those guys pushing 85 mph on the highway).

I'm not talking 24-hour straight driving or anything like that, a trip of 200 miles is only about 3 hour's worth of driving ...
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 10:18 PM   #18
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

I remember a guy I used to work with who drove a serious beater but rented cars almost every other weekend to drive from the SF Bay Area to Tahoe.

At the time I thought he was crazy, but he made it to FIREhood years before I did, so who am I to judge. I'm sure his leaving to work for another company with juicy stock options was the real reason, but who knows His next car as I recall was a fancy Volvo. The hill driving on that trip does put some stress on the car, especially Old Priest Grade. So perhaps he was buying time until he could buy the car he wanted instead of settling for something he'd soon outgrow.

I've been considering a variant of this approach as I move to San Francisco: own a compact beater for getting around the city, and rent cars as needed for out of town or bad weather trips. There is even a car sharing service in San Francisco, basically a super-convenient car rental service. But the cost is just too much for me... approx $70/day to rent these share cars. I think I'd probably just become a hermit staying at home all the time if I had to pay $70 everytime I wanted to get out of the city.

Of course with advance planning you can get cheaper car rental rates, but the convenience factor of owning a reliable car is just huge... it takes several hours to shop rates, book a rental, pick it up, and return it. That's just too much hassle for me, especially if I'm supposed to be out having fun.
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 10:28 PM   #19
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

It takes me about 25 minutes to book a car online at Long Beach airport and
bicycle down and get it for $18/day on weekends.

It takes about about 15 minutes on weekdays, but costs about $25 to get it
at the neighborhood branch.
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?
Old 04-09-2007, 11:02 PM   #20
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Re: Own a beater & just rent cars for travel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Could someone clarify the reason for doing this? Is it because you're worried about the reliability of your regular car? Or the fun of tooling around in a nice new car?
It's not to save money, right?
Well, when I fly somewhere... have to..

When I did it way back when... yes it was because of an old FORD for a few times... once was because my company was paying for it since I was not flying to a conference (they would not pay for my car for some reason)..

Today I would probably take my car UNLESS I wanted to test drive some other vehicle
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