I have a gazillion apps on my phone, much like everyone else, but you might surprised to find out which one I use the most. Or maybe not.
Nope, it’s not Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat or blah or blahblah or blahblahblah.
It’s Turo. Yep. It’s been my favorite one for a while now because on Turo, you can rent cars like this.
Hahaha. You would have to pay me to rent a minivan from Turo.
I’ve been renting cars from Turo for a while now, back when it had a different name: Relay Rides. After an acquisition by a larger company, Relay Rides was renamed to Turo but it’s still the same thing. I fell in love with Relay Rides early on because with the app you’re no longer stuck to renting a boring Cruz or Cobalt from Enterprise. Instead, with Turo, you can rent one of the worst cars ever made—a 2008 Smart car.
It’s kind of a crazy notion to put your car up for rent, because if you think about how people treat rental cars, Turo cars must not be any different. I’m sure that if I put my M5 up there for rent, it would be destroyed within a few minutes and I’d have to go pick it up from the side of the road.
But I’m glad Turo exists because although I wouldn’t make my own car available, I love renting other people’s. I just wish there were more options on the site for Austinites. Depending on where you live, you could have access to a large variety of cars or nothing at all. I took a quick glance at Houston and there are way more options than what I normally come across in Austin—like this nice Cayman for $157 per day!
What I don’t understand is how Turo can be profitable for car owners? Wouldn’t you spend way more than $157 to fix a tear in the seat the previous renter left you with a week ago that you’re just now noticing?
Financial viability aside, Turo is great if you need a car right away and want to avoid dealing with rental car agencies and all that paperwork.
Click a few buttons on the app and voila—your car will be ready to go. No paperwork required.
Booking a car using the Turo app might be super simple but if you decide to cancel your reservation after you’ve booked something, you’ll have to pay a fee. This is unlike reserving a car through an agency where you could book multiple cars at various rates and then cancel all but the cheapest one you can find. Shhh..don’t tell anyone I do this.
I’ve had to cancel a Turo rental a couple of times, but had good reasons to do so. Luckily, Turo support credited back the extra charge but not without asking a bunch of questions. If you cancel just because you don’t feel like renting that specific car anymore, then you’re out of luck.
On the flipside if the owner cancels, then you get a nice Turo credit you can use on future rentals.
The fee makes sense so that both owners and renters are protected from rampant cancellations by either party—you know—specifically if someone wants to do what I just stated above. If you want to avoid dealing with a potential cancellation fee, a rental agency might be a better option but the downside to that is that—well—it’s a rental agency.
Great for enthusiasts
Turo can have a great selection of high-end sports cars to choose from like a 911, AMG, S5 depending on where you live and your choices will vary quite a bit. Also, owners can sometimes charge an exorbitant amount for driving their car—like $350 a day for a C7. No thanks. Not when I could drive an M4 for less than half the rate.
But you can negotiate on Turo because you’re dealing with normal people instead of a gigantic corporation. It’s not the easiest thing to do since you need to book the car first before you can talk to the owner. I worked something out recently with the Tesla when I negotiated with the owner to pay a flat $60 fee for 150 additional miles as opposed to 75 cents for each mile. When I turned in the car, there were even more miles—about 200—but the owner was nice enough not to charge me for it. That’s the beauty of Turo—everything is negotiable.
You could probably end up driving a Turo car for free if you’re an expert negotiator but if you’re able to pull this off, let me know how you did it, because I haven’t been able to do so yet.
There are insurance policies through Turo that you can get and I would highly recommend it. I’ve rented about 6 cars from Turo so far and fortunately haven’t had to use the Turo coverage for anything yet, but it’s good to have it in case something does go wrong. Maybe the insurance you already own would cover any damage, but it’s more peace of mind to get Turo’s insurance so that you don’t have to worry about anything when someone rear ends your Turo GT-R when trying to take a picture of a double rainbow.
You are renting cars from random people
With Turo, the only assurance you have that you’ll be dealing with a nice owner are the reviews. So far I haven’t dealt with any jerky owners but it’s absolutely possible which is why I only stick to owners who have great reviews.
There’s a chance that you might end up renting from someone with a severe case of OCD who will complain about a speck of dirt found underneath the accelerator on the floorboard. Or someone who busts out a magnifying glass and finds your dirty fingerprints on the steering wheel when you turn the car in. But let’s hope you don’t end up with someone like that.
Overall, I can’t complain about Turo because it’s worked out great for me every time. I don’t even use it out of necessity-mostly I’m using to drive new cars like the Telsa. I suppose that I now have another monthly payment—Turo rentals! Oh well, I’m addicted to Turo and there’s a price to be paid for all addictions.
Torque Affair is about exploring my fascination with cars. I’m always on the lookout for things that interest me in the car world.
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