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The process of returning your rental car in Australia

Returning your rental car

You’ve finished your journey in your rental car, and now it is time to return the vehicle to the depot. There are a few factors to this process that you need to be familiar with. That is why VroomVroomVroom has put together this comprehensive guide to returning your rental car in Australia.

You must return the car at the time and date specified on your rental agreement. Otherwise, you could face having to pay a charge for returning the vehicle late. Here are some of the other key things you need to know.

You must return your rental car with a full tank of fuel

Before you can return the rental car to the depot, you will need to make sure it has a full tank of fuel. As the car will be provided to you with a full tank, this is how you are expected to return it. It is a good idea to find a petrol station that is close to your depot, so that the tank will be completely full when you return it. Although not required, it is recommended that you keep a copy of the receipt and take it to the depot with you.


The exception to this rule is if you choose to pay for a full tank of fuel. When you pick up the rental car, you will have the option to pre-pay the for the tank of fuel, so you can return it empty. It is important to note that you will not receive a refund for any unused fuel. In some cases, you can choose to purchase half a tank. This is handy if you are only making a short journey.

Don’t have time to re-fuel?

In this case, you will be charged a set price per litre to re-fill the tank. This is often charged at a higher rate than you would pay at the local petrol stations.

You can read more about fuel policies in our guide.

Returning the car out-of-hours

You will need to have already confirmed this with the depot if you are planning on returning the car outside of their operating hours. If you have been permitted to return the car after hours, it is important to ask the car rental company representative what their specific process is, as this may differ per location.

Generally, you will need to return the keys to a designated key box. Make sure you have locked the vehicle before you put the keys in the box. Leave any return documents you are required to provide in the vehicle.

Read more about returning your rental car out of hours here.

Returning the car earlier

If you are returning the car earlier than you specified on your rental agreement, you could also face additional charges. For example, you may have booked a rental vehicle at a special rate because it was for a seven-day period. In this case an early fee may apply if you return the vehicle earlier. The same will apply if you return the rental vehicle later. Although car rental companies typically allow a grace period, you can be charged for an additional 24 hour period.

Learn more about the early return policy by clicking here.

Arriving at the depot

Make sure you have removed all of your personal belongings from the car. You could be charged the cost of postage if anything has to be returned to you via mail.

If any damage was caused to the vehicle on your trip, let the representative know. The representative will check the vehicle for additional damage. Minor scratches and chips may be considered wear and tear, which you will not be responsible to pay for. You may be charged an estimated amount for the repairs of any damage, but you will be reimbursed if the actual cost of damage repairs turns out to be less than this.

Disputing damage

If you wish to dispute any damage that has been found, you will need to contact the car rental company directly. You will be provided with photos of the damage to the vehicle in the report from the company.

Read more about the process of checking for damage.

Final charges

Some charges can’t be determined on the spot when you return your rental car. For example, the full costs of damage repair will need to be assessed by third parties, and the company will still need to receive notification of any toll roads you have used. The car rental company will charge you credit card for these additional charges. Here are some of the additional charges you may have to pay:

  • A charge for exceeding any set kilometre limits
  • Fuel charges
  • Damage assessment fees
  • Early or late return fees
  • Charges for any additional rental days

Read about more additional charges here.

Providing there was no additional damage, or outstanding charges, your bond will be refunded by the car rental company. Note that this can take a while to appear back in your account. Find out more about the security bond.

Learn more about how to return your rental car in Australia with VroomVroomVroom


When you return your rental car

Make sure you re-fill the car before you return it. Bring a copy of the fuel receipt to the depot with you. If returning out of hours, make sure you have locked the vehicle and returned the keys to the designated box. Don’t forget to remove all of your personal belongings from the vehicle. Keep a copy of any receipt or invoices for damage charges if you are planning on making any insurance claims.

Looking for more information about the rental car process? You can also read our guide to the car rental process in Australia for more information. You can also find out more about reading your invoice.