How Early Can You Pick up a Rental Car: The Facts to Know

When you want to rent a car, it’s crucial that you understand the whole policy of basic car rental arrangement, including about how early can you pick up a rental car, especially if you don’t want to be charged extra for the action. In most cases, the car would be ready within an hour of pickup time, but it depends on the company. Car rental companies have their own policies and regulations, so we can’t really make a uniformed standard assumption.

Car Rental Mechanism

How Early Can You Pick up a Rental Car

When you want to rent a car without making any reservation, you will have to come to the counter. You need to arrange a thing or two. You need to make sure that you have met all the requirements. It’s even possible that the company may perform checking on you.

What if you have reserved first? In most cases, the time needed to deal with the arrangement is likely shorter than not making any reservation. When you have booked first, you simply enter the office, provide the documentation or the proof of reservation, and make the arrangement. You need typically half an hour (or 30 minutes) to complete everything and you can drive away with the car that you want. This process is definitely faster than reserving on the spot, which can take around an hour.

Early Checking Policy

How Early Can You Pick up a Rental Car

A lot of people tend to make mistakes by assuming that coming earlier can never hurt anyone. It’s true that your car may likely be ready an hour before your actual pickup time. So, when your pickup time is set at around 2 PM, for instance, it should be okay to show up and pick it up at 1 PM. However, if you show up at 10 AM, for example, it may cause a little bit of issue. That’s way early than your reserved hour.

So, how early can you pick up a rental car? It depends on the company’s policy, really. You can always ask them before signing anything. Most car rental companies won’t include such a thing in their contracts, so it’s always a good idea to ask them. Some companies may be okay with you showing up 2 hours prior your time, while others may not be so much. That’s why you should always them. Also talk about the possibility of extra charge or additional payment in case you have to do the upgrade or such thing alike.

Read more How to Rent Cars for 18 year olds : A Guide for Young Drivers

What You Need to Know

Here’s how the car rental system usually works: When a car is returned to the office, it will have to go through a detailed and thorough checking. The company wants to check whether there are damages or not. And then they will have to clean it up, and the cleanup covers the exterior as well as the interior areas.

The process itself can be lengthy, which can take up hours. If the car is one of the most popular ones, it would immediately be ready for the next client once it has been thoroughly checked and cleaned. But if it’s not, then it would go to the storage area.

Again, such a ride will be ready within an hour before the time, so if you come at 1 PM, you can have it ready and drive it away once the administrative stuff is cleared out. However, it’s not a set regulation. There is always a possibility that it’s not ready yet when you arrive at 1 PM. So, the decision about how early can you pick up a rental car depends on the company too. You will have to talk things thoroughly with them.

Bottom Line

Never assume. If you already sign the deal and you want to show up early, contact them immediately. They are the ones who can decide how early can you pick up a rental car and deal with the arrangement.