Is a Rental Car the Best Option When Traveling a Long Distance?

Which is better for that future road trip? Renting or driving your own vehicle? To answer these questions, a few factors must be taken into consideration. In addition, you must consider your own preference. Do you want to drive a vehicle you aren’t familiar with, or would you rather cruise down the road in your own automobile? If you are concerned about your car, truck, or SUV making the trip, bring it into Pit Shop Auto Repair. Consider this, as well.


Let’s flesh out familiarity further. Even if you rent the same make, model, and year vehicle that you currently drive, it isn’t your automobile. The rental might handle differently, and the engine might have a few quirks you aren’t used to. Maybe the transmission doesn’t shift as smoothly or there’s a funny sound. The rental car companies are responsible for keeping their fleet road-ready, so the vehicle will be maintained, but it will still feel different.

That’s Okay

If you’re okay with this, then there are reasons why a rental car would serve you well during a long road trip. The first one is simple: You won’t be adding miles to your vehicle. How long of a trip are planning to take, and how much driving will you do during that duration? If you’re looking at five to seven days of driving all day long, you might want to rent because that’s a lot of miles and wear and tear on your vehicle.

Another way to think about it is your service schedule. Where are you at with your mileage milestones? Will driving your vehicle on this road trip push you past the 30,000, 60,000, or 90,000 maintenance milestones? If so, are you prepared to have the work done at those milestones before, during, or after you’ve been on vacation? Keep in mind, these service milestones require more work and are more expensive than an oil change.

Vehicle Size

Another thing to consider is your vehicle size. Perhaps you and your family are heading south to hit the beaches and scuba dive. Maybe you’re crossing the northern border into Canada for some skiing in the Canadian Rockies. Will your luggage and additional items such as scuba gear or skiing equipment fit reasonably into your vehicle? If not, a rental is the way to go for two reasons: You can rent a larger vehicle and you won’t overload yours.

The same holds true when your mind heads in the opposite direction. Maybe you don’t need extra space and you’d rather save money by driving an economy car rather than your gas-guzzling SUV. Think about this, as well. Take a moment to calculate your storage and passenger needs alongside the fuel efficiency of all your options. Remember, overloading your vehicle will reduce its fuel efficiency.

Finally, driving your own car will reduce its resale value with each mile you add to the odometer. If you plan to sell or trade it in at some point, it might be better to rent a car for your road trip. If you do decide to drive your own, bring it into Pit Shop Auto Repair in Libertyville, IL, for a pre-trip inspection. We’ll get you road-ready in no time. Call us today.