Anyone who has ever been involved with the search for a used vehicle has undoubtedly come across the possibility of purchasing a corporate fleet vehicle, and you may have wondered whether it was safe to make such a purchase. These kinds of cars are usually advertised as a very advantageous deal for the buyer, and they do seem to be well maintained, with generally comprehensive service and maintenance records.
Several rental car companies have distinct operations, and sometimes entire divisions, which are assigned the task of reselling used vehicles from the corporation. This is also true of many used company cars as well as surplus vehicles used by government personnel. If you have ever considered purchasing one of these kinds of vehicles, you should take the same approach that you would for any other kind of used vehicle, and research it properly.
Just as you would with a used vehicle offered by an individual, you should determine whether or not you can get a good price, how well the vehicle was maintained, what its current mileage reading is, and what kind of warranty might be included with the sale. In other words, when you think about purchasing a corporate fleet vehicle, you should subject it to the same kind of thorough examination you would with any other used vehicle you might consider.
What Kind of Corporate Fleet Vehicle Is Better?
It does matter what kind of corporate fleet vehicle is being sold, and here’s why. Used rental cars might be fairly well maintained, but rental companies are hanging on to those vehicles longer these days, so it might be difficult to find one that’s less than a year old and has no more than 15,000 miles on it. You can also count on most rental cars having been put through some level of abuse because drivers have no responsibility whatsoever for the vehicle.
Used government cars might also be well maintained, but it’s hard to find one that’s in really good shape. Most government agencies only dispose of such vehicles when they’re not economically viable, so that should tell you that they may not be a good buy for you personally. Used company cars are true corporate fleet vehicles, and they can actually be a pretty good buy in the used car market.
Those which have been handled relatively kindly by sales representatives or manager type personnel tend to be in better shape than service and delivery vehicles, which are routinely run into the ground. Some auto dealers retain some vehicles for use as demo models and loaners for customers, and these tend to be in fairly good shape. Many dealers have limits on when such cars should be sold off, and usually, these types of vehicles remain under warranty at that time, so these can be a bargain.
Have the Car Inspected
If you have any doubts about the car’s overall condition, you should have an independent mechanic give it a thorough inspection, and that mechanic should have no relationship at all to the seller. Your mechanic should be instructed to check out the wear level on all items so that you know maintenance was performed regularly.
It’s also a good idea to have your mechanic check on the kind of replacement parts that were installed, to make sure that the owner wasn’t going the cheapest route possible. Obviously, any clear signs of abuse or non-operational parts should be discovered and reported, so that you can disqualify that particular vehicle from consideration.
Obtain a Vehicle History Report
It will always be to your advantage to learn as much as possible about any vehicle that you’re considering purchasing. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to get a vehicle history report from one of the companies that make these reports available.
You need to be aware that not everything will always appear on these reports however, so you should always be sure and ask the seller about the car’s history as well. Many kinds of repairs are accomplished privately, and you’ll need to know what all of these are so that you can have some level of confidence that proper repairs were made, and that the vehicle is roadworthy.
Conduct a Test Drive
You should always do a test drive of any vehicle you’re thinking of buying so that you can get a feel for how it performs, and so you can notice any obvious issues. Make sure to pay attention to any odors you smell, since the vehicle may have belonged to a smoker, and that odor will never be able to be completely removed, which means you’re entitled to a discount.
You should also try to detect the presence of mold or mildew because some vehicles are stored for long periods in areas that are warm and humid, and that can promote the growth of nasty substances in the vehicle.
Check on Available Warranties
Protecting yourself against the immediate failure of the vehicle is virtually a necessity so that you don’t get beat out of whatever the purchase price was, and get stuck with a lemon. To avoid this, inquire about any warranties which are available on the vehicle you’re considering, for instance, a powertrain warranty, any kind of roadside assistance for travel breakdown, and perhaps even a repurchase agreement.
If the car does that come with a warranty, make sure to read all the fine print so you are aware of what’s covered and what isn’t, and where you would have to take the vehicle to get it repaired. Your best bet for buying any kind of corporate fleet vehicle is to look for one which has earned the designation as a certified pre-owned vehicle.
While this might cause the asking price to be a little higher, it will generally be backed by an extended warranty issued by the manufacturer. This is probably the highest level of confidence you can have in purchasing a used vehicle, and you can be reasonably certain that you’ll get your money’s worth out of it.