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How to return your hire car

Returning your hire car is a straightforward process, but there are some simple steps to keep in mind. Read out to find out more.

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 steps 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.

Don’t be late!

You must return the car at the time and date specified on your rental agreement. If you don’t, you could face a charge for returning the vehicle late.

Don’t forget any of your belongings

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

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 was 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.

A fuel exception

The exception to this rule is if you choose to pay for a full tank of fuel at the start of your rental period. When you collect the rental car, you’ll 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 — a handy option if you are only making a short journey.

Don’t have time to re-fuel?

If you don’t have time, or forget to fill up the fuel tank, you’ll 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.

Returning the car out-of-hours

If you need to return your hire car outside of business hours, you’ll need to have already confirmed this with the depot beforehand. If you’re 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’ll 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, and leave any return documents you are required to provide in the vehicle.

Returning the car early

If you’re returning the car early, you could face additional charges. For example, you may have booked a rental vehicle at a special rate because it was for a seven-day period, so if you return it earlier, an early fee may apply. 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.

Check for damage to the hire car

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

If you wish to dispute any damage that has been found, you will need to contact the car rental company directly. In this case, the rental provider will provide you with photos of the damage to the vehicle you are being charged for.

Additional charges

In some cases, additional charges can’t be determined on the spot at the time 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 your credit card for these additional charges.

Here are some of the additional charges you may have to pay when you return your rental car:

  • A charge for exceeding any set kilometre limits

  • Fuel charges

  • Damage assessment fees

  • Early or late return fees

  • Charges for any additional rental days

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.

Important Information

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.