Around half the population in the U.S. rents cars for vacations and road trips because renting a car gives you more freedom than hiring a cab.
You can rent a car via any local rent-a-car service if you want to pay a visit to your hometown over the winter holidays or go on a road trip with friends to that place you kept saying you would visit but never really did.
Well, imagine you’ve rented a car and its check engine light starts blinking? Is it safe to continue driving?
And in case you do since you’re on your way to your much awaited getaway and the car breaks down, what can you do?
Instead of turning on your panic mode, hold your calm as we’re here to guide you through what should be done in such cases.
5 Things To Do When Your Rental Car Breaks Down
1. Inspect the Broke Down Rental Car Yourself
What do you do when your phone freezes?
You try to restart it, fiddle with it to see if it makes a difference and then try to remove the battery in case nothing works, don’t you?
The similar logic, with slight differences, applies to your broke down car too.
You can try restarting it, checking if spark plugs are loose in the bonet, keep a lookout for the check engine light, and also keep an eye for other issues such as battery failure.
Inspecting the car is essential to determine where the breakdown has exactly occurred.
This needs to be done so that you can prove to the rental car company that the failure was mechanical, and you were not at fault in any way.
How would this help?
It could save you from being held liable to pay for any car damage.
You could use your phone camera to take photographs of the damage or broken parts, if they’re visible.
If you were at fault for the breakdown, through negligence or irresponsible driving, you will likely need to pay for the damages.
Don’t experiment with things around the car, as you could be causing more damage than you think. Resort to a safe place and call for help if you’re unable to figure the issue on your own.
2. Get Help
Once you get your car out of the crowded road it’s stuck on, your next step is as obvious as it is- ‘Call for Help’
The first thing you should do is call roadside assistance and if you’re unable to connect to them, then contact A&G Customs towing service to take the necessary precautions while towing your car or you could call your local non-emergency police station.
Some companies have a tie up with a servicing company or prefer having their cars sent to a specific servicing company.
Keeping this in mind, ensure that you call the rental car company before going ahead with your decision of calling for help.
3. Read the Rent Agreement
Don’t take for granted that the car company will pay for the damage done.
Hence, don’t ignore that document you signed on before driving away with the rental car.
That document includes clauses that describe who will be responsible for various types of damages to the vehicle.
If you have recognized the issue that caused the car’s breakdown, then you can check to see if you will be blamed for the parts and repairs or the company.
Most big and renowned rental car companies have ethical clauses while the small companies may sneak in clauses that may hold you responsible for all damages.
It is thus required of you, as a responsible renter to read the agreement beforehand so that you know what you’re signing up for.
4. Call Your Insurance Company
After understanding the clause in the agreement and after having communicated with the rental company, you will have to contact your own insurance company.
The insurance company will require you to explain the circumstances of the breakdown and describe the specific issue with the car.
Upon further clarification whether or not you were at fault for the breakdown, they would be able to tell you if the damages and repairs will be covered by your insurance.
When you call your insurance company, you could most likely say the following, “I’m driving a rental car in Doylestown, and the car just broke down.
The engine stopped running, although I did nothing to put me at fault. I wanted to know that, if the rental company refuses to pay for the damage, will my car insurance cover the cost of repairs?”
Why you need to do this is simple!
In case the rental agreement states that the rental company will pay, then you’re safe and your insurance company wouldn’t need to intervene.
However, in case your rental company blames you and expects you to pay for the damage you were not at fault for then you can have your insurance company step in.
5. Have the Vehicle Towed Safely
After understanding whether or not you will have to fix the damages on your own, you can go ahead and have your vehicle towed to a servicing centre.
If the rental company is paying for the damages, then they’d prefer to have the vehicle towed to the servicing center of their choice.
In such cases, you may not have to call for a towing service unless it’s after working hours.
If the servicing company is closed, then you can call for a trusted towing service and have the vehicle stay in overnight, after which it would be towed to the servicing company mentioned by the rental company.
However, if you’re the one paying for the damage, it is advisable to choose a service that provides 24/7 towing service as well as repair services.
The next time you find yourself stuck with a broke down rental car, you know you can call your all-in-one automotive service next door - A&G Customs!