What to Do with a Rental Car if You Return it After Closing Time

returning rental car after closing timeCan’t get your rental car back on time?  You may be wondering, can I return the rental car outside of office hours? Some companies say yes and some say no. And yet others say only at your own risk. There are indeed risks if you return the vehicle when the shop is closed. So you need to be leery.

If you wonder “can I return the rental car outside of office hours”, remember someone could come along and slash tires, paint graffiti, drain the gas, the car can be keyed, dented, it can be pelted with eggs, a soap and wax mixture can be a big pain to clean up, and there are a number of other things and that puts you in a severe problem. And guess who’s responsible for it? That’s right. You! One last hope in that case if you think, is that hopefully there are plenty of security cameras to find what happened, and maybe the perpetrator can be found.

If the tires have been slashed, they might slash just one, or they could slash them all. So now you are responsible for one to four new tires for the vehicle. And, of course, you more than likely will not be going to your favorite discount tire company, you’ll be responsible for tires the rental company wants to use.

If you are wondering what to do in similar cases, remember: if the car has been painted, graffiti isn’t easily taken care of. Sometimes the whole car needs to be repainted. Once again, the paint job will be done at the place of the car rental company’s choosing and you are stuck with a premium bill.

Remember too if you are thinking returning the rental car outside of office hours, that the gas could be siphoned out, which can be high. Remember, they’ll charge upwards of $6 – $8 per gallon which is way above what you would have paid at the pump. And you’re the one that will pay for it when it’s gone after you have left it overnight too.

The car could be keyed while sitting in the lot.  Hopefully that would only require a touch up, but the fees, whether a touch up or full paint job will be expensive and again, you will be the one who gets the bill.

The car could get dented, and there are so many ways that can be done that I’m not even going to get into those right now. Keep in mind that when pulling out the dent, the paint tends to chip off, so that will have to be taken care of too. But like the others, the fees for this go to you.

Another thing that could happen is the car could be vandalized with eggs or something similar. If there is any heat on the surface of the car, the eggs get baked on, and it is nearly impossible to clean off and can cause a huge mess to the paint job.  Again, you will pay the bill for the work. Wax on the windows is not fun to get off, but it does happen, and you get to pay the lovely fees of the person that gets to get the wax off of the windows.  The keys could go amiss out of the overnight drop box, or even worse, the car could be stolen.

Or again if you are thinking about returning the rental car outside of office hours, there’s a good chance that nothing would happen. The company will find the car in good condition in their parking lot in the morning and everything will be good.

Perhaps though when thinking can I return the rental car outside of office hours, you should think twice.

It would be better to wait for the office to open the next morning. Even if the company won’t drop the extra day’s fees, the fees will surely be less than any repairs you could incur by taking a chance.

Another option is to find a car rental company that is open 24 hours, and makes it easy to turn in your rental any time of the day or night. That makes everything easier for you and vandalism is very unlikely. So whether you rented a van or a sports car, you can turn in your rental car and have no worries.

Now that you have contemplated over some of the risks, you can make an educated decision as to what you should do with your rental car after hours.