Adventures in car rentals

I had an over-night trip to Atlanta earlier this week. All of our institution cars were tied up, so I rented a car. It’s cheaper and better for all concerned than driving my own car and getting paid mileage.

Renting a car can be an adventure. The instrumentation and other gadgets on most cars work pretty much the same way, but there are exceptions.

The first time I got into a rental with a key-less ignition, I had no idea what to do. I had to get the rental attendant to show me how to start the darn thing.

Sometimes figuring out how the CD player works can be a challenge.

Hybrids can be different if you are not familiar with them.

This time, I ended up with a Chevrolet HHR. When I stopped to get gas on the way out of town, I encountered a familiar problem.

“How do I get to the gas cap?”

I looked at the gas cap cover and saw no “finger flap” to open it, so I started searching around the driver’s seat for a release switch. No such luck. It was still very pre-dawn, so I had trouble seeing anything in the dark. After popping the hood and the tailgate in my effort to find a switch, I was starting to get frustrated.

How about the owner’s manual?

No such luck. The rental companies remove them.

Just before pulling out my cell phone and calling the 24-hour emergency number, I took a chance and just pressed on the gas cap cover. Viola! It popped open.

I felt kind-of stupid for not thinking of that first. However, this is the first car I have driven that didn’t either have the little finger flap or a release switch.

Don’t you think it would be a good idea for the rental company to leave the owner’s manual in the car? Who would want to steal an owner’s manual for a car they don’t own?

Stupid question – I’m sure someone would.

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One response to “Adventures in car rentals

  1. I can’t imagine someone wanting to steal an owner’s manual from a rental car, but then again, they are probably the same people who necessitate the warning tags on things like blow-dryers. You know … the ones that say not to use the blow dryer while in the bathtub?

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