The Budget Rent a Car brand is a familiar name in the auto rental business. With humble roots starting in Los Angeles in the late 1950s, the company would later be acquired by the parent firm of Avis Rent A Car. Budget is now part of rental giant Avis Budget Group, which also owns Payless Car Rental and ZipCar. But Budget is more than rental cars; it also sells vehicles previously in its rental fleet.
Formerly operating as Budget Car Sales, the effort now falls under the Avis Car Sales banner. Regardless of the label, this outlet can be a good resource for a previously owned vehicle. It can be beneficial in times of tight inventory. Let’s dive into the details of Budget Car Sales.
Budget Car Sales: How Does it Work?
Budget Rent a Car and its parent, Avis, have huge vehicle inventories that regularly rent out to users. The companies do significant business renting cars to tourists, people on business, and those in need of temporary vehicles while their own cars are being repaired.
Once a car reaches a point in service, Budget/Avis sells the vehicle through its own network. The endeavor usually has 500 to 1,000 vehicles available at any one time. Most of the available models are American brands like Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, and GMC since these are the popular rental models used by Budget Rent a Car. But, you can also peruse a range of Japanese brands like Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Toyota. Volkswagen is another brand that sometimes appears in search results. The Avis Car Sales website shows current inventory details.
Users can search for cars by make, model, body style, mileage and price range. Price ranges include:
A shopper can narrow selection by entering the location (city/state or zip code) and a mile range. Most sites are in California, Florida, and Texas, but there are Avis Car Sales locations across the U.S. Once buyers have chosen a car, the next stage is to do the “Ultimate Test Drive.”
Ultimate Test Drive
An important part of the buying process with Budget Car Sales is the “Ultimate Test Drive.” This is one of the features that sets the Budget/Avis method apart from a traditional car-buying experience at a dealership. Budget allows you to pick up the prospective car and test drive it for up to two hours. That means a buyer can run errands, drive along different roads, and see if the vehicle fits in the garage.
Beyond that, the Ultimate Test Drive offers rental availability of the car for up to two days (at a fee of $70 or more per day). In this scenario, a buyer can commute to work, bring the family along for an outing, or take the car to a mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection. At the end of the rental, the vehicle gets returned or purchased. And Avis refunds any rental fees if the car is bought.
Do Budget Car Sales Come with Warranties?
Before being offered for sale as an Avis Certified Pre-Owned vehicle, a candidate car is thoroughly inspected by ASE-certified mechanics to ensure quality. Avis has set requirements for the process, including the vehicle:
- Has only been in the Budget/Avis fleet since new and never owned by another party
- Has undergone all routine and scheduled maintenance along the way
- Is not subject to any open recalls or safety campaigns
- Has passed the company’s multi-point inspection process (details are available here )
These cars may come with any remaining manufacturer’s warranty protection and added coverage. A 12-month or 12,000-mile limited powertrain warranty with a $100 deductible. Plus, coverage includes rental car expenses (up to ten days at $35 per day) due to a covered mechanical failure or faulty manufacturer’s repair. Other coverage includes:
- Up to $75 in towing charges for a covered mechanical breakdown.
- Travel breakdown protection that activates when more than 100 miles from home, including reimbursement up to $100 per day (five-day maximum) for food and lodging due to a covered mechanical breakdown
- 24-hour roadside assistance for the first year
- $50 in emergency services for things like flat tire help, jump-starts, lockouts, and fuel delivery
- Availability of additional protection plans
Budget Car Sales: Pros and Cons
So, is it worth getting a car from Budget/Avis? Does a former rental car make a good purchase? Let’s review the advantages and disadvantages.
First of all, rental car companies like Budget and Avis maintain their reputations by offering reliable vehicles, often at a moment’s notice. And preserving these brands is only possible through diligent fleet management. In other words, taking care of these cars is smart business.
It’s an approach that keeps the rental customers happy and helps preserve the value and quality of the vehicles. At a minimum, you’re assured that a Budget/Avis car has undergone required maintenance and operates within required safety requirements.
Other standouts are the two-hour test and the ability to rent the exact car you’re interested in for up to two days. It is the Ultimate Test Drive.
Another key advantage is pricing as Budget/Avis offers some cars below $15,000. That can be a hard-to-find price point these days, especially for newer vehicles. What’s more, the website makes it easy to find a car that’s suited to your budget and brand preferences. The selection of available vehicles gets updated regularly, so new choices always come online.
Avis Car Sales also tries to be distinctive through its special offers. As of this writing, a buyer with good credit can purchase a car with no money down and no payments for 90 days. The car just has to be four model years old or newer and have less than 60,000 miles.
Finally, the Budget/Avis car sales website gets points for detailed listings with good photos, a “quick look” function, and free CARFAX reports. Another convenient feature allows a shopper to compare different models using Kelley Blue Book values, model year, equipment, and other factors.
Compared to larger car-selling platforms like CarMax and Carvana , Budget/Avis has a more limited selection. It’s a clear disadvantage compounded by Budget/Avis selling only former rental cars. If the idea of buying a car driven by dozens of people isn’t appealing, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Larger operators source their inventories in multiple ways, so they have more to offer.
Outside of California, Florida, and Texas, you’ll find limited locations primarily near major cities. Prospective rural buyers may need to travel a great distance to check out a Budget car in person. And, unlike platforms like Carvana and Vroom, Budget/Avis does not offer a 100% online shopping experience.
Budget Car Sales: A Good Channel?
It’s easy to overlook Budget/Avis or similar sellers like Enterprise . But, if these operations have a car you want nearby, it’s worth checking out. You might uncover a hidden gem overlooked by other buyers relying on more popular channels. Budget/Avis also offers in-house financing to make for a one-stop-shop transaction at most locations.
Perhaps, the main thing holding anyone back on this platform is selection and location. But, with these factors withstanding, Budget Car Sales can be a find for the right buyer.