Many people are not aware of the fact that when they rent a vehicle from a service that they are supposed to return it in the condition which it was rented in. Although that sounds like common sense, what most people consider “clean” won’t be clean as far as the rental service is concerned. Car rental services can charge cleaning fees if you don’t bring the vehicle back to them in pristine condition. There are a few things that you can do to guard against these fees, however.

First of all, don’t smoke in the car. This is one of the worst things that you can do, because even if you smoke with the window rolled down, it will still leave an odor in the car because the smoke clings to anything it touches. This includes upholstery and carpet. De-odorizing the car costs money, so obviously the service is going to pass that cost to you.

Clean out from under the seats and anywhere else that dirt and trash can collect. It’s easy to clean out the floorboards and vacuum, but under the seats is a really easy location to miss when you’re cleaning. Things often get trapped under there that you may not realize were there until you get the bill.

Don’t forget about the car’s storage compartments. Most modern vehicles have at least a few of them, including the glove box. Make sure before you return the vehicle that you clean these out. Even if you don’t remember using them, check them again, anyway, just to make sure you’re not leaving anything behind. Whether it’s papers, cell phones, pens, jewelry, or anything else even remotely important to you, things get left in storage compartments on a regular basis. Do yourself a favor and check them out.

Last, but certainly not least, you want to keep in mind as you are driving the rental car that it doesn’t belong to you. Even if you really want it really really badly, you still have to return it at the end of your rental period, no matter how much damage you’ve done to the interior or the exterior. It is your responsibility to keep the vehicle in good operating condition while it is in your care, because after all, you wouldn’t borrow a friend or relative’s car and not take care of it, would you?

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