Car Rentals in Spain – Don’t dent the roof!

Our little Fiat

Our little Fiat

Having spent a few days wandering around Barcelona, Cherie and I boarded a flight to Malaga on a wonderful budget airline, Vueling, and were picked up by the folks at the car rental agency I had contacted a few weeks prior. Not being located at the airport, the cost of renting out little Fiat was about 160 Euros for 2 weeks, not bad.

A quick 5 minute drive and we arrived at our car rental destination. A silver Fiat was brought to us immediately with half a tank of gas, the gas been charged at 25 Euros. The whole idea here, unlike car rentals in North America, is we are expected to bring the rental car back with an empty tank. Just how empty I guess depends on how much you’re willing to gamble on not running out on the way back to the rental agency.

Having rented numerous cars in North America I did my typical walk around and noticed a large dent in the left front fender. On mentioning this to the rental agency they said they don’t note this sort of damage, all they are concerned about is tires, glass and the roof. OK! I really hoped I wasn’t going to get screwed at a later date! I wondered about the roof factor but didn’t ask, after all, what can happen to a roof? Off we go to explore southern Spain.

We had a wonderful drive north to Granada and having arrived in this beautiful old town I began to get a drift about what the rental agency was talking about with their “don’t worry about dents” attitude. Many of the streets were narrow, cars were parked everywhere and most of them were what we call beaters. Even new cars were beaters! I already was beginning to feel a little better.

How can you do this to a beautiful southern Spain town? Iglesia de Santa Maria and parking lot

How can you do this to a beautiful southern Spain town? Iglesia de Santa Maria and parking lot

We managed to survive both Granada and Rhonda without any damage and I found southern Spain a fun place to drive in general. The cars are small; most drivers seem competent, overall no complaints. On top of this the scenery was fantastic and our little piece of junk Fiat was treating us well.

Narrow roads, Arcos de la Frontera, Spain

Narrow roads, Arcos de la Frontera, Spain

Towards the end of our trip we visited Arcos de la Frontera near Jerez. In Arcos I finally figured out why the car rental agencies really don’t care, they can’t. Many of the streets were barely wide enough for me to squeeze our small Fiat through yet people were driving BMW’s and Mercedes, often with one or both rear view mirrors missing or at least tucked in. Being in Spanish driving mode I parked our car part way on a sidewalk and hoped that it might still be there in a few days.  It was.

New Car, Arcos de la Frontera, Spain

New Car, Arcos de la Frontera, Spain

Even new BMW’s had bashed up bumpers, often parked within a few centimeters of other cars that would just muscle themselves out of the way when needed. I couldn’t help but think about how much the first dent bugged me with my last new vehicle; after two years of ownership. In Spain you would be lucky to get 2 hours of new car ownership.

Happily everything worked out well, no new dents, didn’t get screwed by the car rental agency and managed to return it with less than 10% of the tank full. I can’t wait to go back.

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One Response to “Car Rentals in Spain – Don’t dent the roof!”

  1. Jaqueline Reising says:

    What a great website this is. Found it thanks i will be come back.

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