31 December 2006

Rental Car Blues

GLH and I sold our cars before we left Kansas City to spend Christmas in Cleveland.

Since then, we have not had good luck with rental cars.

We ordered a minivan for our stay in Cleveland so it would be easier transporting 5 adults and possibly more about the Cleveland area. When we arrived late on December 22, Avis had run out of minivans and we were left with a Chevy Suburban. My apartment in New York City was smaller than this vehicle. Plus I was embarrassed to ride in it. It just screamed "I don't care about the environment!" Not a message that we wish to project. But it was late and we were tired.

The next day in the light of the morning sun we noticed it was actually quite dirty on the inside and had a very large grease stain on one of the seats. Once we discovered Hertz had minivans available, we swapped for what we reserved in the first place.

When we got back to Kansas City on December 28 the Subaru Outback we were assigned was dirty. When we started to drive away, we noticed there was a loud grinding sound every time we stepped on the brake. We took it back and received a Ford Equinox instead. It was filthy and smelled bad. Once again we complained. Another Outback was just being turned in. Although it was dirty, it seemed in good shape and we accepted it. Apparently they didn't want to send a newer car in good condition on a one way trip to another location in Minneapolis.

We spent all day Friday toting things to storage or to Goodwill or to the hotel where we stayed. Friday evening the "Check Engine" light came on and the "Cruise Control" light began to flash.

We literally spent several hours trying to contact Hertz to have this taken care of. Thankfully we weren't stuck by the side of the road because calling the Roadside Assistance number did nothing!

Finally this morning we were able to exchange the Outback for a nearly new Toyota RAV4, the size being necessary for all the things we had to take to Minnesota. In fact, it is so nice that GLH is now trying to convince me that it would be a very practical car for Switzerland.

Thus far it is running well, doesn't smell bad, has no flashing indicator lights and no suspicious stains. Keep your fingers crossed that nothing develops before we turn it in at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport on Wednesday!

Posted from Mom and Dad's house in Minnesota...


Jul said...

The clean, efficient public transportation of Zurich will welcome you with open arms. :)

Happy New Year, and best of luck with the rest of your move!

Global Librarian said...

Looking forward to that!

We'll get a car eventually, most likely for weekend trips and so on. But we aren't in a hurry and intend to use public transport getting about Zurich itself, car or no car!

Expat Traveler said...

wow - now that is a story!

You are going to love the transport in Switzerland. At times, I did enjoy a car but mostly I used public transport for everything and enjoyed it!

The Big Finn said...

Buy yourself a tram pass, and try going without a car for a couple of months to see how you get on without one. If you need a car for a weekend trip, you can just rent one.
What do cars cost here? CHF 50,000? Add in parking (125-175/mo.), insurance (2,500/year), license (600/year), gas ($5.00+/gallon), speeding tickets (40 - ?/each), maintenance (expensive!), and you'll soon see that your savings add up to a lot of tram rides, taxi rides, and rental cars.
I constantly toy with the idea of getting rid of our car. Last year, I only drove 2,995 miles for the whole year. When one adds up the cost/mile, it's just not worth it.
I'm for getting rid of the Jeep. Mrs. TBF is against it. We'll see what happens this year...

Global Librarian said...

We're both going to get annual passes for Canton Zurich and are considering Half Passes for Switzerland. (Does anyone have experience with these? We've heard mixed reviews of their usefulness.)

I've also heard of Mobility Car, kind of like a timeshare for cars.

However, GLH is definitely an American male, and one who grew up in the suburbs besides. Therefore a car is in our future.