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Smoking in a Rental Car - Can You Do It? What You Need to Know

People prefer renting a vehicle for road trips, weekend getaways, and family vacations because they don’t want to put mileage on their cars. Moreover, renting a car can be a more financially viable option if travel requirements are confined only to occasional holiday trips.  

However, car rentals could prove costly if you have a habit of smoking while driving. Yes, many car rental companies charge smoking and vaping fees if they detect evidence of smoking in the car. Sometimes, the potential cleaning charges for smoking in the car may exceed the actual car rental costs.  

This article provides an overview of potential cleaning charges for smoking in a rental car and offers several tips that may help you get the smell of tobacco smoke out of the car.  

Is There a Cleaning Fee for Smoking in a Rental Car?

Yes, all rental companies collect a cleaning fee for smoking in a rental car. However, the charges may vary from company to company.

Let’s look at the cleaning fees of various rental companies in the United States:

  • Hertz: Hertz charges a cleaning fee of up to $400 for vehicles returned with evidence of smoking.

  • Enterprise: Enterprise-Rent-A-Car has a strict no-smoking policy. It charges a cleaning fee of up to $250 if evidence of smoking in the car is found.

  • Dollar: Dollar, as an operating subsidiary of Hertz, will also charge a cleaning fee of up to $400 for vehicles returned with evidence of smoking.

  • Alamo: All Alamo vehicles are smoke and vape-free. The organization may charge a cleaning fee of $250 if evidence of smoking is found.

  • Avis Budget Group: Avis Budget Group’s cleaning fee for smoking is the highest in the industry. Its smoking fees may go up to $450.

Are There Any Rental Car Companies that Allow Smoking?

None of the rental companies in North America and Europe will allow smoking in their rental cars. The rental agreements of many car rental companies will carry a clause that emphasizes their smoke-free policy.

In fact, smoking in cars is banned in many counties and cities of the United States. For instance, the cities such as Indianapolis, New York, New Jersey, Montgomery, and many others will impose penalties for smoking in cars with children under 18.  

How Do Rental Car Companies Know If You Smoke?

Every rental company will thoroughly inspect vehicles returned by customers. The inspection may enable rental companies to assess the cleanliness of the cabin, evidence of smoke, and dents to the vehicle.

Car rental companies recognize the signs of smoke through the following methods:

  • The smell of smoke: Rental companies assess if there is a smell of cigarette smoke in the car. Typically, the odor of a cigarette will linger for about 48 hours in the car cabin after you have smoked it. Therefore, the tobacco odor within the cabin is the primary evidence of smoking in the car.

  • Physical evidence: Rental companies will also check for physical evidence of smoking in the car. The presence of ashes within the car cabin may be one of the major pieces of physical evidence for smoking in the car.

  • Cigarette butts left in the vehicle: The presence of cigarette butts in the vehicle may also help rental companies claim that the car is smoked.

How to Get the Smell of Smoke Out of Your Rental Car

Renters are always advised not to smoke in rental cars. In unavoidable circumstances, take all the required measures that help you get the cigarette smell out of the car before returning it to the rental company.

The top three hacks that eliminate the smoke odor from the car are:

  1. Get Your Rental Car Professionally Cleaned

  2. Select a Package with Interior Cleaning

  3. Ask For a Deodorizing Scent

Let’s take an in-depth look into these three hacks below:

1. Get Your Rental Car Professionally Cleaned

If you have smoked in the rental car, get it professionally cleaned before returning it to the rental company. Many professional car cleaning agencies in the United States offer car cleaning services for under $100. This cost is much less than the potential cleaning fees rental companies charge for smoking in the car.

2. Select a Package with Interior Cleaning

The tobacco odor lingers within the cabin of the car. If you opt for basic cleaning services such as wash, wax, interior vacuuming, window wash, and tire cleaning, you will not be able to get the tobacco odor out of the car. You should choose a package with interior detailing that comprises services such as steam cleaning of the upholstery and shampooing of carpet.

3. Ask For a Deodorizing Scent

Professional car cleaning and interior detailing may not work if the tobacco odor is too intense and strong. That’s why you should ask the car cleaning agency for a deodorizing scent.  If the deodorizing scent is already included in your interior detailing package, it's well and good.

Car cleaning agents regularly use a variety of odor removal products. They generally know the products that work better for the removal of tobacco odor. Just tell the cleaning agent that the purpose of cleaning is to remove tobacco odor so that they will use the right product and get the job done quickly.

Travel Smoke-free with Airport Van Rental

By strictly implementing the non-smoking policy, many car rental companies charge a cleaning fee of up to $450 for vehicles returned with evidence of smoking. They consider the traveler violated the no-smoking policy if pieces of evidence such as tobacco odor, ashes, and cigarette butts are found inside the car cabin during the inspection.

However, you can avoid these hefty charges by getting the car professionally cleaned before returning it to the rental agency. The cleaning should also emphasize the interior detailing of the car and the use of odor removal deodorizing scents.

Planning to rent a car for your road trip or family vacation? Airport Van Rental (AVR) may be the perfect travel partner for you.

AVR is the fastest-growing car rental company in the United States. We are a family-run business operating to help customers take safe vacation journeys.  With a premium smoke-free fleet of vehicles, including sedans, convertibles, SUVs, minivans, passenger vans, and cargo vans, we can cater to the vacation travel needs of customers of all types.

If you are embarking on a road trip, we’ll serve you with the best-in-class convertibles and SUVs. For family vacations, we have a range of minivans and luxury passenger vans.

The main benefits of renting a car from AVR are:

  • Premier customer support

  • Over a dozen rental locations

  • Flexible pick-up and drop-off options

  • Well-maintained fleet of vehicles

  • Commitment to customer safety

  • Chauffeur services

  • Discounts for AAA and USAA members

Book a smoke-free rental car with a credit card for your next vacation from AVR to take the advantage of lowest prices and reliable services!

AVR Van Rental

Book with confidence, we have your back.

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