Cars have been made to become smarter and smarter. They all run on or with electronics galore. They can be locked and unlocked remotely. They come with GPS so you can figure out how to get places. You can use the telephone hands-free via its audio system. And the list goes on and on.
Having such smart cars makes driving much more convenient. But if you have a rental car, it also allows the rental car company to keep tabs on you, if they so choose.
What info can car rental companies collect?
More often than not, car rental companies use their “powers” for good, and to help their customers get out of a jam. But they can and will sometimes use that information to help themselves.
- GPS: GPS can be used to report the location of their cars that have mechanical problems, recalls or that have gotten into accidents. It’s also helpful if their vehicles have been stolen or suspected of the same. But GPS can also double-check to ensure that you didn’t drive the car to places you weren’t supposed to, such as, depending on your contract, across a state or international border. If you did, there’s no doubt you’re going to get a nice sized surcharge for that, if not get put on their Do Not Rent list.
- Remote Lock / Unlock: The most common case for unlocking the car remotely is to help customers who lock keys in the car. Of course, the car rental company could charge you for that assistance, should you need it. More so, there’s a reason the police need to get into the car you’ve rented and they have a warrant, that remote unlocking will be a big help.
- Remote Shutoff: If the car still running after an accident or stolen, remote shutoff stops the vehicle from moving. Going back to that police scenario, if the car needs to be stopped because it’s being used for nefarious reasons, well, there you go.
- Operating Statistics: Rental car companies rely on their cars’ technology to keep track of information about their vehicles to help them with planning maintenance, alert them of a problem, etc. However if you were using the car inappropriately, say, driving 90mph in a 30mph zone, they could potentially find that out, too. And that could put you on their Do Not Rent list.
Of course, if you rent a car and use it how it was intended and how you promised as per the contract you signed, you shouldn’t have a problem. But if a renter decides to do something outside of those limits, chances are good the car rental company will find out.
Feature Photo: Hertz
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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There are advantages to having our 1997 car. If I just leave my cell phone at home, maybe no one will ever find me.