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avni_01SL2 01-23-2001 03:23 PM

Loaner Cars
So, what's the deal with loaner cars? The dealer I bought the car from said yes, the dealer closest to me said no.

Assuming it's yes, is it only for warrentied service, or anytime they're doing work for you? Specifically, I want to bring my car in to get a dent checked out/fixed, and once I leave my car there, I have no good way to get back home or get to work or anything. Should they give me a loaner car? Will they offer to rent me a car at a nominal fee?

How has your experience with this issue been?

BobL 01-23-2001 04:11 PM

My dealer used to give loaners at times for warranty work but discontinued it after several were wrecked.

Almost all dealers have a connection with a rental agency for discounted rates. Compare first to see if their deal is good - remember, the agency will ask you to buy extra cost insurance which you may or may not find valuable. You may be covered on your current policy or credit card - check it out.

Most body estimates on driveable cars can be done while you wait. You may be able to get the work scheduled during a time when you don't need the car.

Almost all dealers will shuttle you within a reasonable distance free. mine will actually pick you up when your car's done too.

film52 01-24-2001 11:46 AM

My dealer told me to rent a car and if the service manager approved the repair the dealership would pay for the rental car. I asked to informed up front if the rental was covered and was told that the service manager would make that determination after the repair. A position I find completely ludicrous. I also asked if approval also had to be granted by the account or the dealership owner. What if rentals are over budget and the service manager is unaware? What if the dealership is having a bad month? Is it better to rent and seek approval at the 1st of the month before sales figures have been tallied? I have to drive to different parts of town during the day and cannot leave until I complete the call. Does the rental time period end the nano second the repair is complete? What if I canít pick up my car until the next day do I also pay for the rental over night? Why do I get the feeling that as soon as I leave the dealership my car will be moved to the front of the line and the techs will attack the problem like a NASCAR pit crew, throw their hands in the air when the repair is complete and stop the clock on the rental? While I do like my car very much why didnít I buy the Saab?

saturnnut 01-24-2001 05:04 PM


With all due respect, considering Saab's horrid reliability record and titanic resale values the only thing worse you could purchase would be a KIA. If you are seriously unhappy in your situation it is within your right and reason to trade for another model but I would strongly urge you to consider a Lexus ES300 which is in Saab pricing and the lexus is actually worth the asking price. Good luck

kazi 01-24-2001 05:36 PM

Don't want to get too off topic, but no way is an ES300 worth the asking price. Basically, it's just an upscale Camry with the Lexus 'service' that cost upwards of $10,000 more. What's more suited to worth the asking price maybe the Acura TL/CL. Compared to a BMW or even a Lexus in the near luxo market, it's cost thousands less.

Anyways, I don't think you should expect a loaner from most mainstream dealers. I got a shuttle to work (5 miles away) when I had to drop off my Saturn for a few TSB fixes. Rentals can be arranged for a small nominal fee. There are a few exceptions. My brother received a loaner for his Honda when the ETA on his repair went over a day. But, again, you shouldn't expect a loaner from mainstream autoline such as Saturn or Honda. Most mainstream dealer can't afford giving loaners out to everyone who gets serviced. Get a luxo vehicle and pay thousands more if you want this level of service.

BobL 01-25-2001 08:08 AM

We get shuttles both ways. If the repair's overnight, you can have a rental under extended warranty (if you have one) and Saturn will cover $30/day for rentals. As the contract's written, you can also be reimbursed for taxi or public transit up to $30 so you don't always need a rental if you're only going back and forth.

Once in a while, a used car/demo can be loaned out to a good customer although this is not in the policy anywhere.

film52 01-25-2001 11:52 AM


Donít get me wrong Iím happy with the car; itís the service Iím disappointed with. When I had a problem with my í93 SL1 that required the car to be towed to the dealership there was a rental waiting for me. It was late at night and I had told the sales manager I required transportation. The rental was there before I got there and the dealer covered the cost. Now itís required that I rent the car if I need transportation and be reimbursed. My job requires that I have transportation and I drive a lot daily (which is why I purchased the extended warranty). I donít want to take a vacation day and sit at the dealership waiting for my car to be repaired. If I have to rent a car and be reimbursed so be it. But I find it asinine that the service manager cannot tell me up front that the rental cost will be reimbursed, or that the cost is only covered for overnight repairs.

I know three people that own Saabs. One had to have the motor for the top replaced it was done under warranty, one has had no problems, it has maybe 35k miles. One is 17-18 years old and has about 235k miles; she (the owner) was stranded once not long after she purchased the car, something with the clutch. I picked up the owner once when she dropped her car at the dealership and gave her a ride to the airport; she was going out of town for an extended period. The reception she received at the dealership was incredible. My friend was only there for minor repairs but it was like she was Hillary Clinton at an International Socialist meeting. Maybe thatís the only dealership of any type in the world that treats it customers that way but, I was impressed.

OPEC 01-25-2001 11:59 AM

Kamakazi - How can you be so wrong all the time? :)

If you have driven a ES300 you would not say it is an overpriced Camery. While I am sure you have read a review where they said that (I have as well) when I drove an ES300 I was BLOWN AWAY! I was expecting a very nice Toyota, but it was that and a whole lot more. An ES300 is well worth it, and currently they are being heavily discounted since they are slow sellers.

Oh ya and as for rentals could you please find something worthwhile to complain about? Your Saturn retailer is probably losing money and is doing everything possible to stem the bleeding. Controlling rental costs is just one way of doing that.

kazi 01-25-2001 12:57 PM

OPEC, sometimes it may be a matter of opinions, but I'm not wrong all the time. :-P

Granted, the ES300 is a very nice looking car inside and out. But man oh' man, how can you justify $32,000 msrp for essentially an upscale already-overpriced Camry XLEv6 ($26k), and that doesn't even include leather seats or moonroof. Basically, parts on a Camry v6 are interchangeable with an ES300. The ES300 may have some extra sound insulation to quiet it the cabin more than the Camry, but the handling on both vehicles are very similar (smooth and slushy). I would prefer paying thousands more for something more exclusive or even larger in a luxo brand. The ES300 is very nice vehicle, I won't doubt that, but for 32k msrp, I might opt for the Lexus IS300 or again the Acura TL/CL type-S (comes fully loaded) instead. Again, it's all a matter of opinions and preference, and some people do prefer a quieter, nicer look to a Camry with free oil changes and maintenance, free courtesy car or free no mile-limitted shuttle and pay a lot more for it.

back on subject....

I might agree now that it would've been nicer if the service dept would pay for the rental first rather than risking being denied from a reimbursement and taking chances on a higher rental bill you would have to cover. But again, Saturn is by no means a luxo brand where the dealer profits $x,xxx more for the lower traffic they receive. Because of the lower customer base and higher profit margins, the luxo brands can afford to pamper their customers. I wouldn't expect a free courtesy car from either my Saturn or even my Honda dealers. Now on the other hand, if I did have a Lexus or even a Saab, they better give me a free rental if I had to take it in for a TSB that takes half a day.

film52 01-25-2001 02:20 PM


I agree that Saturn is not a luxury brand and Iím not asking to be pampered. All I expect is to receive the same level of service when I take my LS1 in for repairs that I received in the past when I took my SL1 in for repairs. Also Iím not even asking for the rental to be paid for up front, but the service manager should be able to tell me if the rental is covered for the time period the repair takes. I would not expect to drop my car off, pick up a rental and keep it for a week if the repair took only a day.


I consider this something very worthwhile to complain about, transportation is a requirement for me to perform my job duties. It isnít that I drive to work and the car sits in the lot all day, I need to be mobile all day long in order to get paid. If the dealer is loosing so much money the he needs to stem the bleeding by tossing out any aspect of Customer Service the he should go ahead and close the doors now.

saturnnut 01-25-2001 11:37 PM

allow me to specify, as I said in a previous post directed at film52, kamazaki posted his personal opinions regarding the lexus ES as being an overpriced camry. With that aside, I said before...

"Saab's horrid reliability record and titanic resale values" when comparing the two as far as value goes. The Lexus does have great resale values, and does have great reliability, it has more horsepower then the Camry, a softer yet sportier ride, something that is hard for people to argue over.

BobL 01-26-2001 08:12 AM


Agree with you totally about the uncertainty of the rental's charge. It's absolutely ignorant of them to not be upfront with you and let you know where you stand. I'd certainly not want my bill for a rental to depend on whether the service manager "got lucky" the night before and was, consequently, in a good mood.

With the extended warranty, your $30 is deducted up front by the rental company, and you just pay any overage (extra insurance). No wait for reimbursement.

BobC 01-26-2001 10:36 AM

You have just experienced, first hand, just how quickly and how far the various strings on this board can be drawn 'way off topic.

You asked: "So, what's the deal with loaner cars? The dealer I bought the car from said yes, the dealer closest to me said no.
Assuming it's yes, is it only for warrentied service, or anytime they're doing work for you? Specifically, I want to bring my car in to get a dent checked out/fixed, and once I leave my car there, I have no good way to get back home or get to work or anything. Should they give me a loaner car? Will they offer to rent me a car at a nominal fee?"

The answer, as to most things in life, is it all depends.

Primarily it depends on the dealer. In my own experience with only two Saturn dealers, they both went out of their way to be helpful. In the first instance, the selling dealer in Halifax, NS loaned me a new LS1 for about three or four days while my LS2 was in drydock for warranty work.

The second instance took place only yesterday when I took my LS2 to the nearest dealer in St. Augustine, FL. After road-testing my car for a front-end vibration and examining my tires, they decide to replace the tires under warranty. But it was going to take an additional four hours to get the tires in. Without any prompting whatsoever, the assistant service manager offered to provide me with a rental AT NO COST TO ME so I could drive home (45 miles) and come back the next day to pick up my car. I said I didn't want to put them to that kind of expense, after all they were replacing my tires with only 15,000 miles (and without arguement). She replied: "Hey, it's not a problem, we're Saturn." Although I decided not to take up her generous offer, needless to say, I was impressed. That incident drove home to me what differentiates Saturn service from the pack.

As regards your specific question on getting a loaner from another dealer to "get a dent checked out/fixed," I believe that request goes 'way beyond even "Saturn service." A dent, whether self-inflicted or otherwise, is not covered by your warranty, and I don't think you should expect a loaner, especially from a dealer who didn't sell you the car.

Yankeez01L30094SL2 01-26-2001 11:00 AM

It does all depend on the retailer. My retailer has paid the rental fees for me (although i had to use my credit card and actually make the contract with the agency) just for dropping my car off for the 30,000 mile or similar time consuming service. Of course it is service like that that keeps me coming in every 3,000 miles for service with two cars. I think paying the fees for a rental if the customer signs for the car and has the responsibility for it is a fair way to provide a loaner. In this day of liability I wouldn't expect any dealer to provide a loaner car of thier own.

avni_01SL2 01-26-2001 03:23 PM

BOBC -- thanks for getting back on topic. It sounds like you've got some very good Dealers in your area. Of course, being extra nice to you with regards to the tire replacement may have to do with the potential for catastrophic failure of Firestone tires on hot pavement. (Your in Fla, right?)

But, anyway, I certainly wouldn't expect the loaner from the dealer who didn't sell me the car -- he was the one who flat out said "Nobody gives loaners anymore." I was more concerned with the dealer who DID sell me the car, and who DID say I could get a loaner -- how would his statements hold up when it was time to actually leave my car there.

I've always owned old cars which I was perfectly happy bringing to my local mechanic who was then a 10 minute walk from the subway. This idea of drivining out to New Jersey and then abandoning my transportation is a bit new to me.

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