USA TODAY: Is the Car You Just Rented Safe?

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUSA Today notes that rental fleets may not comply with recalls on a timely basis, and that renters find it hard to determine what a company’s policy is on compliance.

A bill in Congress — the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 — that would ensure rental companies would comply with recalls as soon as possible, has a narrow chance of passing.

Former NHTSA Administrator David Strickland: “Currently, there is no prohibition on rental car companies renting vehicles that are under a recall, but have not yet been remedied.”

NHTSA recalls have become a regular stream of news in the last few months. One thing you never consider is whether or not your rental car has been recalled, and whether or not the company you rented from has complied with a NHTSA recall.

The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Act of 2013 — a bill currently in congress, sponsored by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) attempts to rectify that, requiring that all rental car companies that receive recall notices comply with the recall or pull the vehicle from the fleet until it’s been fixed.

The bill before Congress is named for two sisters — 24-year-old Raechel Houck and 20-year-old Jacquline Houck — who were killed when the Chrysler PT Cruiser they rented burst into flame. The fire was caused by a power steering hose that had abraded and leaked when it came in contact with the transaxle cover. Chrysler recalled the PT Cruiser for the hose in 2009, but Enterprise Rent-A-Car had continued to rent the car in question four times between the time of the recall, and when the Houck sisters rented it.

According to the USA Today article,¬†most major rental firms — including Alamo, Budget, Hertz, Thrifty, National, Avis, Dollar and Enterprise —¬†support the legislation, but it has received pushback from the auto manufacturers. GovTrack — which tracks the progress of bills in Congress — suggest that the bill only has a 14 percent chance of passing.

The article provides a list of rental companies and their policies on recall compliance, as well as a list of suggestions on what you can do if you’re concerned about the problem. Visit USA Today for the entire article.

Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at