Pros: saves money, no 21-24 age restrictions or extra fees, will pick up/ drop off
Cons: mileage restrictions, off-site locations, limited vehicles selections
Rent-A-Wreck: sounds like you'll be getting some rusty beater that sounds as bad as it looks, right? You may be pleasantly surprised by what you actually find at Rent-A-Wreck.
I have used this car rental agency twice, once in Orlando and once in Southern California. Both times I encountered a very small agency with effective, polite customer service and great prices. What first drew me to Rent-A-Wreck was the incredibly high fees charged to 24 year old drivers at most other car rental agencies. Alamo, National, Hertz and most other major renters charge between $20-$25 additional per day for drivers between the ages of 21-24. Rent-A-Wreck requires drivers to be 21 years or older, and does not charge any additional fees for age. For younger travelers, this is Rent-A-Wreck's greatest advantage over all other rental agencies.
When I rented from Rent-A-Wreck last year, the charge for a Ford Taurus was $20 per day. This size car would be classified anywhere from a mid-sized vehicle to a standard size to a full size depending on which major car rental agency you asked. Budget charges around $45 per day for the same size vehicle. The difference between a major chain like Budget or Alamo and Rent-A-Wreck is that the Ford Taurus you rent from Alamo will likely be a 2001 car with under 1000 miles. The car I rented from Rent-A-Wreck looked identical to those at the other agencies but it was 2 years old and had 10,000 miles on it. Aside from the year and the mileage, you couldn't tell the difference. My car ran smoothly, provided a quiet ride and the body was flawless.
Both occasions when I used Rent-A-Wreck, the owner was happy to pick me up (once at my hotel, the second time at the airport) and drop me off at my designated location without any additional charge. They were on time, professional and polite. One of the few drawbacks to Rent-A-Wreck is that often their location is several miles from the airport. They do not bring the car to you. You are required to be driven to their site in order to complete paperwork and pick up the vehicle. They are, however, happy to pick you up either at a designated time or within minutes of your call.
All the fine print was straight-forward and very basic. I encountered no hidden charges or secret clauses. Rent-A-Wreck does have a mileage restriction that could inconvenience some drivers. They limited the mileage on my car to 100 miles per day. This was certainly a greater distance than I planned on driving so it was suitable for me. However, if you are planning on traveling long distances or between many locations in one day, you will be better off with a major rental agency who will offer unlimited miles as a standard.
The only other drawback I found with Rent-A-Wreck is they have a very limited choice of vehicles. If you are looking to test drive a brand new convertible for your tropical vacation, this is not the place for you. Also, if you are looking for a larger vehicle like a minivan or SUV, Rent-A-Wreck may have little or nothing to offer you, but it never hurts to call and check. Don't expect to request a shiny red sportscar with tinted windows. You will likely be given a decent size, four-door, family car of an ordinary style and color that you will have little to say about. This is not the place to rent from if you're looking to return home with bragging rights.
However, if you are simply looking for a comfortable vehicle to get you from point A to point B at a reasonable cost, I would certainly recommend Rent-A-Wreck.