The second installment in our rental car blog series covers recalled vehicles and how to avoid renting them—an important part of the rental car process.

The most popular rental car companies like Hertz, Alamo, and Enterprise are plummeting in the stock market after concern over renting recalled vehicles, a regulation that has never been an illegal practice or even an issue–until now.

Vehicles, as we’ve seen recently with Toyota, Honda, and Chrysler, can often be recalled by the manufacturer due to hazardous conditions which make road travel unsafe. Only one month before Enterprise Rent-a-Car rented a PT Cruiser to young driver, 24, and her sister, 20, the rental car company was notified that the PT Cruiser was being recalled due to fluid leaks that could cause the vehicle to burst into flames, but Enterprise did not pull the vehicle from its fleet.

Tragically, both young women were killed in a fiery crash after the PT Cruiser leaked fluid, causing it to burst into flames.

Immediately thereafter, Senator Charles Schumer (D—NY) took action to introduce a new bill into Congress that would prevent rental companies like Enterprise from renting recalled vehicles due to safety issues.

While it’s an incredible but true fact, there are no laws which prohibit a rental car company from renting recalled vehicles—only car dealerships are prohibited from selling recalled cars, but there are no other policies in effect.

Recalled vehicles: Rent with caution & ask questions

As a concerned consumer, it makes sense to ask questions. Don’t be shy to ask your rental representative to confirm that the vehicle has passed all safety inspections and is free of any recalls. You may even want to ask the fleet manager to be certain.

Some vehicles that have existing recalls according to SaferCar.org include:

  • 2011 Honda Odyssey
  • 2011 Honda Civic
  • 2011 Chrysler Town & Country
  • 2011 Buick La Crosse
  • 2011 Cadillac SRX
  • 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser
  • 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser
  • 2011 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2011 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2011 Toyota Tundra
  • 2011 Jeep Wrangler
  • 2010 Jaguar XF/XK
  • 2010 Volkswagen Routan
  • 2008 Kia Optima
  • 2009 Hyundai Elantra

Car accidents or injury in a rental car

Nothing can be scarier than getting into a car accident with a vehicle that isn’t yours, and that you’re not used to. If an accident does happen, try to remain calm and take the following steps:

  • Use a car accident checklist (download now)
  • Call the police to report the accident
  • For injuries, seek medical care, even if you feel confused or shaken-up
  • Call the rental insurance company to report the accident

If you are hit and injured by another driver while driving a rental car, call 1-858-551-2090 to speak to a San Diego personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC. Our attorneys will confidentially discuss your options in order to preserve your legal rights. Contact us today.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s rental car series blog on rental car contracts and how insurance coverage may or may not cover you in the event of a car accident.

For more in-depth information about vehicle recalls, please go to http://www.SaferCar.gov

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