Checklist for taking over a rental car

After buying/renting several cars in the different countries we have been visiting, I figured it would be about time to have a short checklist to go through when picking up the next car in Australia.

Therefore as a reminder to ourselves and whoever might find this useful, you should be looking at the following:

The obvious

  • Does the car have any dents? If so have them documented, especially any chip in the windscreen.
  • Is the tread on the tires sufficient? Do not forget to check the spare wheel.
  • Are the water and oil between minimum and maximum? We once had to return a car in Las Vegas due to low oil level before heading towards the death valley.
  • Does the promised connection between cell phone and radio work? Try using Bluetooth and the aux cable.
  • Are all electrical sockets working? Do not forget the 12V plugs which you definitely need to recharge your cell phone.

4WD cars

  • Is the roof or underside damaged? Usually the insurance does not cover any damage here.
  • Do you know how to switch to low gear? Try this at least once.
  • Are the tools for changing a tire on board and in working condition?

Camper Vans

  • Is the propane bottle filled up and does the stove work properly?
  • Is the sink draining the water? Same goes for the toilet if the car has one.
  • Is the fridge working?
  • As space is a luxury when traveling: Identify any equipment you don't need, leave it at the rental station and document it.
  • Ask for the power consumption of the appliances and the size of your second battery they are attached to. This allows you to estimate how long you can go without recharging the battery.
  • Is the interior cleaned appropriately? You will be living in this van for the next weeks.