What If I Take My Rental Car Back Late {Car Rental Tips}


July 1, 2023

Reading Time:- 6 minutes

What If I Take My Rental Car Back Late

For information regarding “What if I take my rental car back late”, you have to continue reading the guide.

In this post, we have discussed the consequences of returning a rental car late. Also, the steps that you need to take if it does.

There are lots of things that you need to keep in mind while renting a vehicle. Among all, the most important is returning the car on time.

However, failing to return the rental car on time can have several major effects. This includes fees and penalties for damage as it can degrade your credit score.

Consequences of Returning Rental Cars Late

The most important significance of returning rental cars late is the fees and penalties charged by the rental company. The fees charged by them are not fixed they can differ. Usually, it depends on the rental company and the terms and conditions of your agreement.

Sometimes, you may be charged a full day’s rental fee for every day which can add up quickly. Despite this, other fees include late return fees, towing fees, and even administrative charges. These fees are charged if the rental company needs to regain the car from a difficult location.

Another consequence is the effect on your credit score of returning a rental car late. You are essentially taking out a loan for the use of the car when you sign a rental agreement. However, if you fail to make payments on time then it can damage your credit score. Late payment fees show your credit report and also lower your credit score. Due to these reasons, it creates difficulty for you to gain credit in the future.

Moreover, returning a rental car late can also affect the rental company’s attitude. Rental companies inform the customers to return their cars on time so that they can be rented again. If customers return the car late then it can cause inconvenience for other customers. Also, it can disorder the rental company’s operations. Thus, this shows a negative impression of the customer.

Last but not least, returning the rental car late can also cause valid results. If you keep the car until the retail period is over then you could be determined as theft for a criminal offense. These are the reasons why you need to understand the terms of your rental agreement and fix them.

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Reasons for Returning Rental Cars Late

It’s important to understand that sometimes it can happen for reasons beyond your control. Given below are some of the reasons that make you understand why people might return rental cars late:

1.   Unforeseen circumstances

Unexpected delays are sometimes caused by traffic or accidents. And due to this, it is difficult to return the car on time. Apart from this, emergencies can also prevent you from returning the car on time as planned.

2.   Lack of planning and organization

You may find that you need the car for a longer duration if you don’t plan your rental period well. Usually, this happens if you don’t have a plan for how much time you want the rental car. So, before renting a vehicle you must plan your trip.

3.   Miscommunication with the Rental Company

Miscommunication can also be the reason behind returning the rental car late. It can create confusion about the return date and time with the rental company. This happens if you don’t read the rental agreement carefully.

How to Avoid Returning Rental Cars Late

Apart from the reasons behind why you might return a rental car late, there are also steps to avoid it. Here are a few tips:

1.   Plan and schedule ahead

Before renting a vehicle, ensure that you plan your rental period carefully. However, if you are not known with the area then take extra time. Also, build in extra time if you are traveling during a busy time of day.

2.   Communicate with the rental company

Contact the rental company directly if you have any queries about the rental agreement. Also, you can extend your rental period by communicating with the rental company in advance. Doing this helps you to avoid returning rental cars late.

3.   Utilize GPS and traffic apps

You need to use GPS and traffic apps to avoid potential delays. However, this helps you plan your route and also prevents any unexpected traffic or construction that causes delays.

4.   Avoid unnecessary stops and detours

Don’t use unnecessary stops and detours always go to your planned route. Doing this can prevent you from returning the car late and being on time.

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Steps to take if returning Rental Cars Late

Here are a few steps that you need to take to minimize the consequences:

1.   Contact the rental company immediately

First off, contact the rental company instantly once you realize that you will be returning the car late. Doing so helps you to avoid paying any extra fees or penalties. Also, allow the rental company to make arrangements to accommodate your late return.

2.   Be honest and apologetic

While talking to a rental company, always be honest and apologetic. Explain to him the reasons for your late return. Also, show your consent to pay any additional fees or penalties.

3.   Negotiate fees and penalties

To degrade fees or penalties linked with your late return if possible, try to consult with the rental company. Mostly, it might not be possible but it’s worth it if you have a valid reason for your late return.

4.   Follow the rental company’s instructions and policies

Regarding late returns follow the rental company’s instructions for returning the car carefully. This can maintain a positive relationship with the rental company and also avoid any further consequences.


There are various consequences regarding “What if I take my rental car back late”. Sometimes, it can happen for reasons beyond your control. After following the above steps you can avoid returning a rental car late.

If it happens then you can maintain a positive relationship with the rental company. Besides, have any issues then contact directly with the rental company. Doing so can ensure you a stress-free rental experience.


What happens if you return a hire car late?

If you return a hire car late then you will be charged for an extra day of rental.

What happens if the car rental place is closed?

If the rental car place is closed then the customer is liable for the vehicle. They are responsible until the decent check-in of the rental vehicle the next business day.

Do rental cars give refunds?

Yes, rental cars give refunds. You will see the refund in your account within 5 to 10 business days.

How are car rental days calculated?

Car rental days are calculated as any 24 hours. This time is calculated from the time of pick-up equals a rental “day”.

Category: Car Rental Tips


Write By

My name is Alicia Smith, and I am the editor of the well-known informational website for Car rentals, SpinnyWheels.co

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