Everything to check when picking up your rental car

blog car keys fob
Gareth Meade
17 Oct, 2022
5 minutes to read

Make sure you leave enough time at the depot

You’ve packed your bags, booked your accommodation and are about to pick up your rental car. You’re so close to being on the road! But before you turn the key and set off on your journey, it’s important to check some things first. Read on to see GoSee’s list of what you need to check and what you need to know before you leave the depot.

People standing at a check-in desk.

1. Have your paperwork and documents ready

It's not the most fun part of the trip, but the more prepared you are, the quicker you're going to be getting on the road. Ensure that you have checked-in online, if this option is available to you, and that you have any documents you need to present at the depot ready to do. This will include your credit card and drivers licence. If your licence isn't in English, you may be required to have an International Drivers Permit in addition to your licence. Information on these requirements and more will be in your rental agreement, which you should be familiar with and sign before driving away. Regarding checking in, all drivers will be required to do this before you can leave. 

2. Get to know the car inside and out

There’s only one way to know whether you caused a scratch, windscreen crack, or stain in your hire car and that’s to check it over at the depot. A handy tip is to take photos of anything you see so that if you’re questioned at drop-off, you can show evidence this happened prior to your rental. In some cases, your rental supplier may provide you with photos of current minor defects with the car. This is great, but definitely still look for anything else, like dents, chips or marks on the upholstery that aren’t noted and document them yourself. Then you can drive away comfortable knowing your rental vehicle inside and out.

A person sitting in the drivers seat.
a person checking their tyre pressure.

3. Test out the things you take for granted

Do you know what’s great? Door handles that work, windows that open and wipers that don’t make too much noise. These things can often be taken for granted when hiring a car, but it takes less than a minute to check that doors open and lock properly, windows go up and down as expected, all lights work and the wipers will do what they’re supposed to. Because of the increasing number of electronics in a vehicle, also check the radio, Bluetooth, USB ports and whatever other fancy things your rental has to make sure you can use the vehicle in the way you want to. Lastly, if you’re in a country that drives on the opposite side of the road you’re used to, keep in mind that the indicator and window wiper stalks may be the opposite as well.

When you first get in the car, take a moment to adjust what you need to so that you are comfortable.

4. Take a moment to get comfortable

People of all shapes and sizes rent cars. So it’s unlikely that the seat position and rear-view mirror will be where you want them. When you first get in the car, take a moment to adjust what you need to so that you are comfortable. This is especially important if you have a long ride ahead of you, as you don’t want to be fussing with around with things either on the road, or after you’ve had to pull over.

A person handing car keys to another person.
A person filling their car with petrol.

5. Know what fuel you need to use at the pump

You’ve booked a car that takes petrol, you walk up to the counter, they take you to the vehicle and… it takes diesel. Despite everyone’s best efforts, sometimes things don’t go as planned. If this happens to you, it pays to understand what this will mean at the fuel pump. Make sure you know the type of fuel the car takes, not only if it’s diesel or petrol, but also if it’s regular or premium, if it’s a hybrid, or if you’ve found yourself in a full electric vehicle that requires charging instead of fuel at the pump. That way you’re sure to avoid any confusion further down the line.

    6. Make sure you have a full tank

    Speaking of fuel, your vehicle should be full of it when you pick it up. It can pay to double check this is the case before you drive off and to do so couldn’t be simpler. Just turn the car on and check the gauge. If it hits the ‘F’, you’re good to go. If it’s anything less, maybe check with the rental supplier before you drive off. When it does come time to get petrol, make sure you know where the nearest or most convenient petrol station is to the depot.

    A full fuel tank gauge.

    Ready to book?

    A car driving beside the ocean,

    Get going and have a great time!

    Now that you’ve taken 5-10 minutes to do your due diligence on your rental car, there should be nothing standing between you and the trip you’ve been waiting for. If you haven’t booked yet, make sure to check out the great deals and plentiful vehicle options on GoSee. We partner with hundreds of suppliers all over the world, so we can bring you the best choice at the best price.