When I reached the ripe old age of 25, the barrier to renting cars was no more, much to the chagrin of the rental agencies. You see, when I drive a rental car, I have fun. I do things that I would never do to my own car. Knowing that I drive the way I do, I would not consider it wise to purchase a used rental car. Not just because of me either. I can’t imagine I’m the only one who drives them that way.
One example is when I rented a convertible and couldn’t figure out why the top wouldn’t go down. The instructions said the emergency brake had to be engaged, which it was. When I pressed the button I heard an unpleasant grinding noise and the top remained up. I opened the windows and tried again. More grinding. I continued to fiddle and discovered that there were two clips fastened to the windshield. Call me crazy, but that might have made it a bit difficult for the motor to put the top down.
In my own car, I would have been more careful to make sure I didn’t produce any grinding noises that had the potential to ruin something. Since it was a rental, I pulled up on the emergency brake lever while driving, just enough to have the light turn on, and then put the top up or down. My passenger even stopped it halfway, so it stood tall and proud like a sail as we cruised down the highway at 65mph.
It was in a rental car that I discovered the joys of putting one foot on the brake pedal and the other on the accelerator, causing the rear tires to squeal with delight. This created a large cloud behind us, the smell of which was not so delightful.
I always turn off traction control (if it exists) when I get in a rental. This makes it easier to spin the tires. In fact, no traction control combined with a light rain does wonders for easy tire spinning.
Some may say I’m justifying my use of rentals, but I have to pay for the use of the car, and return it intact. If something gets damaged, I (or my insurance) would pay for the repair. The rental company is not in any danger of losing out, and as a result, I don’t think it is unethical to abuse rental cars within reason.