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Discussion Starter #1
I am on somewhat of a budget and there seems to be quite a few prior rental vans in my area that are low roof 136" for sale in my area. Some are ram certified with with a an extended warranty.

Can any forum members give me some advice or anything to look out for? They look to be priced at 21-22k for something that would be under 20k mileage.

Or it it be better to shop new and finance longer?

Thanks for your help.
 

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I bought one and I am happy with the purchase. 2017 with 19k miles. Looked at quite a few before I found one that was on nice shape. I bought a high roof 159 for $23.9k


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Discussion Starter #5
I bought one and I am happy with the purchase. 2017 with 19k miles. Looked at quite a few before I found one that was on nice shape. I bought a high roof 159 for $23.9k


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Did you get it off dealer lot? I see enterprise has a website with quite a few for sale.
 

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Did you get it off dealer lot? I see enterprise has a website with quite a few for sale.
Yes small used vehicle dealer that specialized in commercial vehicles. I did not like what I saw at auto dealerships. He told me that it came from enterprise.

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I own a used low miles off rental 159 high roof. I'm fairly certain it was an Enterprise rental. My main consideration was buying outright v.s. financing which is similar to your length of financing concerns. You don't say what you intend to do with your van, but warranty aside, I'd say your biggest concerns are options or lack thereof and the overall (largely cosmetic) condition of the van.

It's similar to the order v.s. buy-off-the-lot debates threads that you'll see if you search the forum. I'm going to list some of the trade-offs you'll make with an off-rental van.


  • Color - Do you like white? It's tough to find a rental van that isn't white.

  • Radio - Do you plan to replace the radio? Most have stock radios, so it's unlikely you'll have the backup cam option, GPS navigation or steering wheel controls. If any are important to you, research your radio options on this forum.

  • Mirrors - I didn't see any off rentals with heated or folding mirrors.

  • Seats - Most have base vinyl seats. No swivels, lumbar support, or passenger arm rest.

  • Condition of the cargo area - All I looked at had no flooring or mats etc, so the floor will likely be scuffed and scratched. There may be a bulkhead that you may or may not want and you'll have to add or remove it.

  • Missing stuff - If you don't know what you are looking for, you don't know it's missing. Mine appears to be missing the storage box under the drivers seat. I'm unsure if this was actually optional, but I didn't know it existed until I found out on the forum, so I didn't know to look for it. On the flip-side of this mine has the upfitters connector which again I didn't know existed until I found out on the forum.

  • Gotchas - Some rental damage can be hidden. I discovered some body damage underneath my van while installing running boards that was challenging and may have future rust implications. I looked at two vans that had roof damage from renters driving into low clearances. This was a shame because both vans were non white.


Again, I'll say it's similar to the buy-off-the-lot v.s. order debate with a more limited palette. Do you want it now, or do you want to search and search and wait for the right van to come along (or wait for your order to come in)? Do you want to pay less and do without the bells and whistles or upgrade it over time, or do you want to have your van closer to how you want it so you can jump in and start using it right away? Either way, you can benefit from researching the option packages and possible retrofit options, whichever route you take.

While I'm satisfied with my van so far, I compromised largely because I don't like getting into debt and I don't mind or even enjoy upgrading my van over time. I could just as easily waited on the front-end, bit the bullet and got into debt, or really really gotten into debt and bought an off-the-lot class B RV. It's the old good-cheap-fast triangle that we constantly struggle with. All you need to do is pick your version of two of these. :)

There is no perfect decision, just your decision. Good luck!
 

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I own a used low miles off rental 159 high roof. I'm fairly certain it was an Enterprise rental. My main consideration was buying outright v.s. financing which is similar to your length of financing concerns. You don't say what you intend to do with your van, but warranty aside, I'd say your biggest concerns are options or lack thereof and the overall (largely cosmetic) condition of the van.

It's similar to the order v.s. buy-off-the-lot debates threads that you'll see if you search the forum. I'm going to list some of the trade-offs you'll make with an off-rental van.


  • Color - Do you like white? It's tough to find a rental van that isn't white.

  • Radio - Do you plan to replace the radio? Most have stock radios, so it's unlikely you'll have the backup cam option, GPS navigation or steering wheel controls. If any are important to you, research your radio options on this forum.

  • Mirrors - I didn't see any off rentals with heated or folding mirrors.

  • Seats - Most have base vinyl seats. No swivels, lumbar support, or passenger arm rest.

  • Condition of the cargo area - All I looked at had no flooring or mats etc, so the floor will likely be scuffed and scratched. There may be a bulkhead that you may or may not want and you'll have to add or remove it.

  • Missing stuff - If you don't know what you are looking for, you don't know it's missing. Mine appears to be missing the storage box under the drivers seat. I'm unsure if this was actually optional, but I didn't know it existed until I found out on the forum, so I didn't know to look for it. On the flip-side of this mine has the upfitters connector which again I didn't know existed until I found out on the forum.

  • Gotchas - Some rental damage can be hidden. I discovered some body damage underneath my van while installing running boards that was challenging and may have future rust implications. I looked at two vans that had roof damage from renters driving into low clearances. This was a shame because both vans were non white.


Again, I'll say it's similar to the buy-off-the-lot v.s. order debate with a more limited palette. Do you want it now, or do you want to search and search and wait for the right van to come along (or wait for your order to come in)? Do you want to pay less and do without the bells and whistles or upgrade it over time, or do you want to have your van closer to how you want it so you can jump in and start using it right away? Either way, you can benefit from researching the option packages and possible retrofit options, whichever route you take.

While I'm satisfied with my van so far, I compromised largely because I don't like getting into debt and I don't mind or even enjoy upgrading my van over time. I could just as easily waited on the front-end, bit the bullet and got into debt, or really really gotten into debt and bought an off-the-lot class B RV. It's the old good-cheap-fast triangle that we constantly struggle with. All you need to do is pick your version of two of these. :)

There is no perfect decision, just your decision. Good luck!
Nicely said. I felt the same way. I kind of didn't want white and wanted a back up camera but I did not want to buy new. For me it was about $32k vs 24K for a van that is 6 months old. Having 20k miles was not a problem too as I don't plan on driving the van that much. Mainly trips. I really like the way the van is coming together even with it being a white van. Looking less like a delivery van now. Very happy with the purchase. Pic attached.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I own a used low miles off rental 159 high roof. I'm fairly certain it was an Enterprise rental. My main consideration was buying outright v.s. financing which is similar to your length of financing concerns. You don't say what you intend to do with your van, but warranty aside, I'd say your biggest concerns are options or lack thereof and the overall (largely cosmetic) condition of the van.

It's similar to the order v.s. buy-off-the-lot debates threads that you'll see if you search the forum. I'm going to list some of the trade-offs you'll make with an off-rental van.


  • Color - Do you like white? It's tough to find a rental van that isn't white.

  • Radio - Do you plan to replace the radio? Most have stock radios, so it's unlikely you'll have the backup cam option, GPS navigation or steering wheel controls. If any are important to you, research your radio options on this forum.

  • Mirrors - I didn't see any off rentals with heated or folding mirrors.

  • Seats - Most have base vinyl seats. No swivels, lumbar support, or passenger arm rest.

  • Condition of the cargo area - All I looked at had no flooring or mats etc, so the floor will likely be scuffed and scratched. There may be a bulkhead that you may or may not want and you'll have to add or remove it.

  • Missing stuff - If you don't know what you are looking for, you don't know it's missing. Mine appears to be missing the storage box under the drivers seat. I'm unsure if this was actually optional, but I didn't know it existed until I found out on the forum, so I didn't know to look for it. On the flip-side of this mine has the upfitters connector which again I didn't know existed until I found out on the forum.

  • Gotchas - Some rental damage can be hidden. I discovered some body damage underneath my van while installing running boards that was challenging and may have future rust implications. I looked at two vans that had roof damage from renters driving into low clearances. This was a shame because both vans were non white.


Again, I'll say it's similar to the buy-off-the-lot v.s. order debate with a more limited palette. Do you want it now, or do you want to search and search and wait for the right van to come along (or wait for your order to come in)? Do you want to pay less and do without the bells and whistles or upgrade it over time, or do you want to have your van closer to how you want it so you can jump in and start using it right away? Either way, you can benefit from researching the option packages and possible retrofit options, whichever route you take.

While I'm satisfied with my van so far, I compromised largely because I don't like getting into debt and I don't mind or even enjoy upgrading my van over time. I could just as easily waited on the front-end, bit the bullet and got into debt, or really really gotten into debt and bought an off-the-lot class B RV. It's the old good-cheap-fast triangle that we constantly struggle with. All you need to do is pick your version of two of these. :)

There is no perfect decision, just your decision. Good luck!
Thanks for the detailed response. It is super helpful!

One of the benefits of purchasing a prior rental van was not having to finance and just paying it outright. I am not sure of the resale value if I decide to sell the van in a few years and carfax indicates the first owner was a rental car company.

Maybe i'll price some new vans out and see the difference. I am really worried about purchasing something that has been abused.
 

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Maybe i'll price some new vans out and see the difference. I am really worried about purchasing something that has been abused.
I wouldn't worry about this but so much. Most serious issues come from poor maintenance. Rental vehicles are generally well maintained and most people renting a van will drive them gingerly because they are unfamiliar with driving something that big. Usually all the 'it's a rental' abuse is cosmetic, and even that is limited because they're inspected before and after rental. People might leave them dirty or get a scratch or two, but nothing serious.

You don't rent a ProMaster to go drag racing or do donuts. They might overload it a bit or abuse the transmission, but most of what you care about is covered under the drive train warranty.
 

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Even if you find the one you like. Drive a bunch and then you'll start noticing the differences between them. That will help you pick a good one.
 

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A friend bought a rental PM sight unseen. Big mistake. It has real body damage that is not immediately visible. Doors not aligned, gaps and cracks, etc. The PM appears to be pretty fragile. A van with no protection on the walls inside will show dings all over the "skin" of the van. An unsecured heavy object slamming into the rear doors will bend and damage things. My E-150 was built to be much more durable, it appeared to have much thicker sheet metal and more significant framing than the PM.
 

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I was looking at vans off rental leases or however. Vans in the 9k-15k miles. My issue with trying to find a rental was

1) they all lack a rear backup camera which isn't that big of a deal once I saw what the stock setup is and what's involved in adding one.

2) they lacked power mirrors. To me I don't want to go back to manual mirrors. My old 97 Chevy pickup I bought used has power mirrors.

3) they all had rear windows. I want to haul tools, carry material and use it to go fishing on the weekends. Whether I have tools or fishing gear in the back, I don't want windows. I'll be adding a solid steel partition and some kind of deadbolts or locks for the cargo area. Rentals all seem to have rear windows and no camera. I assume insurance reasons and inexperienced drivers used to using a rear view mirror vs the wide angle mirrors.

I rented vehicles from Enterprise before. They go over the vehicle when you turn it in. They were sticklers for any body damage. At least my location was.

They should also get regular maintenance as their business relies on good rental experiences. It wouldn't benefit them neglecting maintenance. If the can only has 9k miles anyways it may just be due for it's first oil change.

And like said above. If it was a mod size sedan or sporty suv it would probably be getting beat on.

A rental cargo van typically is going to be used for moving or getting building materials, maybe moving something like a motorcycle or dirt bike.

I don't think I'd be concerned about motor or transmission issues from the rental use.

Also to note most of the rental vehicles had side paneling and wood floors in the cargo area in my area listed on autotrader and Carfax.

I think getting a low milage one that you go look at in person is a good deal if you are looking for a work vehicle. Let them take the hit for depreciation. It also has some use already on it so you won't be worried about actually using it for work or hauling.

I looked and passed on a rough looking promaster that was used as a rental or delivery van before stumbling on a used non rental that turned up.

Find something a year old with low miles and you should be ok, rental or not. You'll have the factory warranty for a year or two, the power train coverage for a few more.

Once you start looking and driving these you'll realize there isn't much inside them to go south that is a big deal. Its a big box on wheels.

I was worked up researching these until I got there and looked and prodded and saw what I was working with in person.

After dealing with my diesel Volkswagen (needing a computer to change the fuel filter....like wtf) I'm looking forward to my more simplified promaster.

Get it for a good enough price and you can add any missing options as you need and can afford them. Think of a base model rental van like a blank canvas.
 

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I was told that Enterprise has many customers including corporations. Many companies have a deal going with Enterprise for 6 month leases. Enterprise takes care of the van and they get a new van every 6 months. At least that is what I was told by the dealer that I bought mine from. The vans that he gets are the returns from these leases.

I also agree with driving as many of these as you can. I drove many of them including a few new ones. There are noticeable differences between them as others have said. The one I ended up buying was a few hundred miles away from me. I liked the van as soon as I saw it. It just looked much nicer than the other used vans I was looking at. It drove like a new one. I also liked the fact that this dealer specialized in selling commercial vehicles and sells a lot of these vans. Looking at the rating of the dealer on Google and a few other sites shown good ratings and good comments. That helped me feel better about buying from them too even though it was in another state. I figured many of the comments had to also come from others that bought a ProMaster and they seemed to be happy.

Good luck in your selection. Let us know what you decide.
 

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Something to think about. IME only about half the stuff that happens to a vehicle winds up showing up on Carfax. My wife drives to work in an inner city area that is like a third world country. By the time she trades in her cars they have often been hit bad 4 or 5 times. But when we trade them in the dealer does a car fax and only half of it is ever recorded! Its always good to get under a vehicle with a bright flash light and look for crumpled metal where panels have been pulled out. Look for tool marks and misaligned panels too. Accidents rarely get repaired really well. Most owners just want the paint to look good.
 

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2) they lacked power mirrors. To me I don't want to go back to manual mirrors. My old 97 Chevy pickup I bought used has power mirrors.
To each there own, but this has puzzled me. I’ve never adjusted my manual mirrors at all. I left them as they came from the dealer and they are fine. Granted, I’m the sole driver of my PM. I could see the advantage of the retraction feature and even heated mirrors in cold climes, but I’m not one to fiddle around with my exterior mirrors— especially mirrors as wide-angle as these.

3) they all had rear windows. I want to haul tools, carry material and use it to go fishing on the weekends. Whether I have tools or fishing gear in the back, I don't want windows. I'll be adding a solid steel partition and some kind of deadbolts or locks for the cargo area. Rentals all seem to have rear windows and no camera. I assume insurance reasons and inexperienced drivers used to using a rear view mirror vs the wide angle mirrors.
Two that I drove had no windows and bulkheads. One had a UC5 radio, but oddly no backup cam. Since these were both non white, my guess was they were rentals or loaners that a dealership rented out. You’ll see pockets of this occasionally when you rent vehicles in smaller markets. I was looking for something with rear windows for a camper van, as I didn’t like any of the aftermarket rear window options and both had other problems so I passed.

I don’t recall a single van I looked at where I could get much of a history from a dealer beyond what state it came from and what you could get from Carfax. I agree those histories are likely incomplete. You need to inspect and test drive these vans thoroughly. Buying any vehicle sight-unseen is asking for trouble, rental or no.

Also to note most of the rental vehicles had side paneling and wood floors in the cargo area in my area listed on autotrader and Carfax.
I guess every market is different, but I didn’t see a single van with these options, but I was looking in a certain price range and region. I’d probably use multiple search engines were I to do this again and search further afield. I used Carguru.

My experience was in a certain price range and model year you saw more of these rental vans than not, so it takes a lot of searching to find any that stand out. I probably settled too early, but I was tired of the chase.
 

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To each there own, but this has puzzled me. I’ve never adjusted my manual mirrors at all. I left them as they came from the dealer and they are fine. Granted, I’m the sole driver of my PM.
You kind of answered your own question there Ziggy, so you shouldn't be puzzled anymore but you've brought this up before when people mention power mirrors. Not all of us are the sole drivers on our vehicle, and of that group not all of us have a spouse of the exact same height and inseam who can see with the mirrors in the same position. It really isn't puzzling at all.
 
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