How to Check Your Hire Car

Posted on: 18 July 2016

Whenever hiring a vehicle from a company whether it's car, minivan or bus hire, it's important to carry out a thorough inspection and take photographic evidence of the condition of the vehicle before signing any contract. This will ensure that when you return the vehicle, you will only be liable for any damage caused by you, and not previous drivers. A quick look from a distance won't be of much use; you should be methodical and take your time to make sure any scratches, dents to the bodywork or faults are detected and clearly annotated on the rental agreement. 

Body Work

The body of the car is clearly going to be the first thing you see when you approach the vehicle. Be sure to look at all sides and try to identify any rust, scratches or dents within the bodywork. Looking from different angles will help you to identify less obvious bumps and dents which can often be hidden because of the lighting. Also check the wing mirrors to ensure they are tightly secured; it is common for these to be loose as they are easily knocked by cyclists and people squeezing past your car. Should you find any damage, take a photo on your phone and make a note on the paperwork roughly detailing the location and size of the defect. 

Lights, Engine and Fuel

Jump into the car and start up the engine—not only can you check the ignition and fuel level at this point, you can also do a quick check of the interior to ensure there is no damage to the dashboard or seats. Looking at the general cleanliness is also important and can be done now; why hand back a car that is immaculate inside if it was covered in mud and debris when you collected it. Checking the lights is also essential but quite hard to do if you are alone. Try to get someone to stand in front of and behind the car and tell you if the brake, fog and main lights are all in working order. Failing this, you can at least try to check them using the reflection in a window or wall. 


Finally, check to make sure that the car contains a spare tire and any country specific tools you may require. For example, different European countries require different compulsory bits of kit to be stored in the vehicle, such as a first aid kit, a high visibility jacket or warning triangle. Failing to produce these can result in an on the spot fine which you will be liable for.