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How Do Rental Car Companies Know if You Smoke?

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Renting a car is certainly one of the most convenient ways to travel to different regions of a country you visit. And many different car rentals in any country make your travel experience more enjoyable. However, with every car rental, there are several rules to follow. And one of those rules is the ban on smoking or vaping inside the rented car. Most car rental companies, including RealCar, have a special non-smoking requirement that is in demand from every customer. This is, of course, required to provide a clean and smoke-free car and return it in the same condition. But how do rental companies know that you smoked in the car? In this article, we are going to do a deep dive into the topic and find out.

Why can’t you smoke in rented cars?

The first thing a smoker who wants to rent a car is interested in is whether you can smoke in rental cars. And in almost all of the cases, the answer is no. The car rental companies that don’t allow customers to smoke in the car mainly want to keep the smoke odour out of the car’s interior. So what happens if you smoke in a rental car? When smoking in the car, you will notice the smell of the cigarette, which is not very easy to remove. And many companies pay extra money for the cleaning services. Additionally, when smoking a cigarette, you can burn the salon or leave stains, which will also be noticed by the rental company, and you will have to pay a penalty. That is why smoking in a rental car is not acceptable, and many rental companies, such as RealCar, do not allow it.

Another question that can come to your mind would be: “Can you vape in a rental car?”. At first thought, vaping will not leave any stains or burns on the car. And there won’t be a bad odour after vaping. However, vapes will also leave an unusual smell in the car, which will require an extra cleaning service. So whether you want to smoke or vape in a rented car, it is most likely that you will pay a penalty for it. If you’re looking to buy a vape, check out vapo vapes.

How do companies understand that someone was smoking in the car?

Many people think that car rentals put smoke or odour detectors in the cars before providing them to customers. However, that is not the case. Car rentals do not provide any tools or accessories in the car that will later show them whether you smoked in the vehicle or not. It is very interesting to find out how rental car places know if you smoke. The answer is very simple. On the day of the return, the car will be checked by an agent for any damages. And if they notice any stains or smoke smell, you will be noticed and fined. You will also be fined if the specialist finds any physical evidence of a cigarette or vape tool that will suggest you smoked in the car. Of course, you will be notified about this inspection before you sign the contract. So you will know that the specialists will inspect the car on the drop-off day. And that is the main way rental car companies know if you smoke. And if you have smoked in the rented car and don’t want the agents to give you a penalty for that, you should take the car to a cleaning service before taking it to the car rental office. That way, you will avoid getting fined, and the agents won’t notice anything suspicious.

What will happen if you smoke in the car?

So now that you know how rental cars know you smoke, it is also important to know what would happen if you smoked in the car you rented. As we already mentioned above, most rental companies will notify you that the cars you rent are non-smoking and you are not allowed to smoke or vape inside them. You will also find a special point mentioned in the rental contract you sign. Apart from this, the agents will also notify you about the penalties and fees that should be paid in case you smoke in the car you rented. Once you take your car for a drop-off at the rental office, it will be checked by an agent for any damages, odours, or suspicious activities. So, although rental companies do not have any smoke or odour detectors in the cars, the agents will notice the smell of smoke or a vape during the check-up. And after they confirm that you smoked in the car, you will get a penalty. Depending on the car rental company you took the vehicle from, the charging penalty might differ. But it usually starts at $300. If you compare the penalty of the rental company with the cleaning service that you can take before dropping off the rented vehicle, it is surely worth taking the cleaning service, as it will cost you somewhere around $30. So if you are a smoker and want to rent a car, there are two options for you. Either you should not smoke in the car while you drive, or you should take the car to a cleaning service before you drop it off.

The bottom line

So, can you smoke in a rental car? What are your thoughts on this? You can, of course, smoke if you want to take the consequences. However, almost all rental companies require you not to smoke in the rented car. And whenever you want to rent a car, make sure to check it before you sign the contract. You can check for any bad smells, stains, or cigarette burns. And if you find something suspicious, ask the rental company to change the car. You can also ask the car rental representative to check everything with you before you agree to take the car to be sure that there will be no surprises afterwards. Otherwise, you can take some pictures of the damaged parts to show them to the agents after you drop them off. This way, you will avoid any penalties or fees.





Zuella Montemayor did her degree in psychology at the University of Toronto. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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