Recalled rental cars not getting necessary repairs

Hertz has been pulling recalled vehicles from their lots since 1999. (Photo: Dwight Burdette/Wikimedia Commons)

Every year, American drivers pour millions of dollars into their cars for maintenance and repairs, especially when car makers issue vital recalls to correct widespread problems.

But for the millions of travelers who rent cars every year, the rental agencies may not be doing that same due diligence.

In fact, there are no rules requiring rental companies to pull recalled vehicles from their fleet. In 2011 alone, 184,000 cars in the Hertz and Enterprise rental car fleets were under recall. That number is actually down from 2010, when the number was 350,000.

"People don't deserve that," car renter Veronica Wisniak said. "If a car is recalled, and it's from a rental car company, it's not should be taken back."

It has been proven a deadly practice. In 2004, Enterprise Rent-A-Car admitted blame in an accident that killed two sisters.

The issue may not be one for much longer. The Senate is planning on taking up an amendment next week that would require rental agencies to pull recalled cars from their lots.

Hertz has been doing it since 1999, and the company is now backing efforts to make it industry standard.

"When a rental car company doesn't fix recalled vehicles, we have millions of recalled vehicles out in the mainstream of commerce unrepaired," consumer advocate Pamela Rivera says.

Dissenters believe that the new rules would just be more government interference in commerce.

"Congress needs to do more with their time than to tell us how to rent our cars," car renter Ken Kelley said.