Can You Rent A Car from A Dealership For A Day

Can You Rent A Car From A Dealership For A Day

When you need a car for just a day or two, such as when your vehicle is in the shop for repairs, can you rent one conveniently right from a car dealership? While not always widely advertised, many dealers do offer short term rental programs that provide customers with temporary vehicles.

Benefits of Renting from a Dealership

Renting a car through a dealership for a short period can offer advantages over rental car companies:

  • Wider selection of makes and models to choose from, including luxury vehicles
  • No need to travel to airport locations for traditional rental agencies
  • Rates may be more affordable, especially for just 24 hours
  • Easy to add to an existing repair service bill
  • May be able to test drive a car you’re considering purchasing
  • Familiarity and convenience if you already have a relationship with the dealership
  • Faster pickup and return process dealing only with the service department

When Dealership Rentals Make Sense

Short term dealership rentals tend to work best in these situations:

  • Your vehicle is in the shop for service or repairs for 1-3 days
  • You need a temporary replacement while shopping for a new car
  • Trying out a car model before purchase or lease
  • Your car was totaled and you need transportation right away
  • Out-of-town guests need a car for a limited time
  • You want something specific like a truck or SUV for a small project
When Dealership Rentals Make Sense
When Dealership Rentals Make Sense

Restrictions to Be Aware Of

While convenient, dealership rentals do come with some limitations:

  • Limited availability – Dealers may only have a few loaner cars intended for service customers
  • Mileage limits – You may only be able to drive up to 100-200 miles per day
  • Insurance requirements – You may need to show proof of auto insurance
  • Geographic restrictions – The car may not be authorized for out-of-state use
  • Age requirements – There is typically a minimum age such as 25 to rent
  • Return time – The vehicle often needs to be back during service department hours
  • Fuel – You may need to return the car with a full tank of gas

What to Expect with Pricing

Pricing for a dealership daily rental may vary but often ranges from $35-$100 per day depending on these factors:

  • Vehicle class – Compacts are cheaper than luxury models
  • Time of year – Prices are higher in peak summer and holidays
  • Location – Major metropolitan areas cost more
  • Brand – Premium brands like Lexus often cost extra
  • Age requirements – Under 25 renters pay additional fees
  • Add-ons – GPS, car seats, or coverage add to the rate

Overall, the per-day rate from a dealer is very competitive with traditional car rental companies if you only need a car for 24 hours. But the convenience is hard to beat.

What To Expect With Pricing
What to Expect with Pricing

Alternatives for One Day Rentals

If your local dealership does not offer loaner rentals, alternatives include:

  • Traditional rental agencies – Most have daily rates and allow returns outside business hours
  • Car sharing apps – ZipCar, Turo, Getaround allow hourly and daily rentals from local owners
  • Rental car delivery – Hertz, Enterprise, Avis will deliver for 1-day rentals in many locations

For quick access to an affordable temporary vehicle for just a day or two, don’t overlook contacting your local dealership to see if they can meet your short term rental needs. The ease and convenience may be worth looking into.

Here is a summary of top national rental car companies and typical daily rates in paragraph form:

Several major national car rental companies provide competitive rates for daily rentals, making them a budget-friendly option for extended test drives or one-day transportation needs.

Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, Budget, and Dollar are among the largest brands, with daily rental rates often ranging from $25 to $40 based on location and vehicle type. Compact cars tend to be the most affordable, starting around $25-30 per day. Mid-size class options run closer to $30-35 on average. Full-size or premium vehicles cost more, from $35-50+ per day.

In addition to these household names, companies like Thrifty, Payless, Sixt, Alamo, and National also offer national coverage with average daily rates in the $25 to $40 range. Rates are lowest for airport pick-up locations that have high inventories. Additional fees for add-ons may apply.

While costs vary by region, the major national car rental brands provide reasonably priced options for daily rentals that allow you to effectively test drive or use a vehicle for a day affordably. Proximity and availability make them convenient choices for this purpose.

Popular National Rental Brands For Affordable Daily Rentals
Popular National Rental Brands for Affordable Daily Rentals

some common additional fees to be aware of:

State and local taxes can add 10-20% or more to the base rental rate. Most daily rentals include 100-200 miles per day before overage fees apply. You’ll pay upcharges if you don’t return the car with a full tank.

  • Airport surcharges – Rentals from an airport location often tack on fees of $5-$20 extra per day.
  • Underage driver fees – Daily renters under 25 years old typically pay added daily fees.
  • Insurance – Liability insurance runs $10-$20 per day unless you decline coverage with proof of your own policy.
  • Extras like GPS, car seats, roadside assistance.
  • Concession recovery fees – These miscellaneous fees can add a few dollars more per day.
  • Early/late return fees – Dropping off the car outside of business hours can incur extra costs.

Cancellation/no show fees – Cancelling or not picking up the reserved rental can result in penalty fees.

be aware of these common cancellation and no-show fee terms:

Most rental companies require 1-3 days advance notice to cancel without penalty. Cancelling with less notice, like day before pick-up, can incur fees equal to 1-day’s rental. No show fees – Not picking up the reserved rental may result in a charge for 1-day’s rental rate.

  • Hourly window for cancellation – Some brands allow cancellation up to 2 or 4 hours before pick-up time without fees.
  • Refundability of prepayment – Prepaid rentals cancelled in advance per policy may qualify for a refund minus administrative fees.
  • Change vs cancel – Changing pick-up date/time vs fully cancelling may alter or waive fees.
  • Rebooking – Fee may be waived if you rebook for a future date rather than outright cancel.
  • Status and memberships – Elite status renters may have more flexibility to change or cancel reservations.
  • Prepay vs pay at counter – Prepaid rentals often have stricter cancellation policies.

Here are some frequently asked questions and a conclusion to summarize the key points on renting a car for one day from a dealership:


Q: How far in advance should I book a 1-day dealership rental?

A: Ideally at least 2-3 days ahead if available to ensure they have a car. Some may allow same day rentals depending on inventory.

Q: Can I buy insurance from the dealer instead of using my own policy?

A: Yes, dealers typically offer liability coverage for an added daily fee, which may be more convenient than using your own insurance.

Q: Do I need to be an existing customer to rent from a dealership?

A: Most allow rentals to anyone who meets age and license requirements. But priority often goes to repeat service customers.

Q: What if the car breaks down or has an issue during my 1-day rental?

A: Contact the dealership service department right away and they should provide a replacement vehicle for the remainder of the term.


Renting a car from an auto dealership can be a handy option when you only need transportation for a single day or two. While availability is limited, the rates are competitive with traditional agencies and the convenience factor is high. Just be aware of mileage limits, insurance needs, and cancellation policies to avoid surprise fees. With a little planning, dealership daily rentals provide an affordable solution for your short term transportation needs.

Related posts

Leave a Comment