We knew renting from an “affordable car rental company” would be a gamble. With a website boasting a daily rate of $12.95, we figured it’d be one of those “get what you pay for” scenarios. And boy, were we right, as we quickly realized why these cars are nicknamed rent-a-wrecks.

Let me preface this by saying, it definitely made our trip to Kauai more adventurous; there wasn’t one dull moment in our Island Car rental. And honestly, our dilapidated rentals were what kept us laughing the entire trip! But never again…

Typically, rent-a-wrecks – like Island Cars – turn broken down cars into rentals. That doesn’t mean they’re in perfect condition nor does it mean they’re completely running. Which leads me to wonder how every car has an up-to-date safety check, vehicle registration and car insurance (?). And it’s probably making you wonder why we even took a chance. I guess I just had to see it for myself.

We initially had an old, rinky-dink sedan but returned it the next day because it wouldn’t start. In fact, the guy had to tow it back to the rental shop. The replacement car wasn’t much better. We got a Nissan Frontier that had a fickle radio and a jammed passenger window. Those were the least of its worries (or rather, our worries); with dim headlights and Bondo holding it together, this truck had some major issues!

But we somehow made the best of it. Mostly because they wouldn’t have any replacement cars available for a couple of days and because we weren’t going to be doing too much driving anyway. Plus, we already paid for it and couldn’t get our money back.

On the bright side, our rent-a-wreck blended in well with the local cars, as in it looked pretty weathered. Thanks to the Bondo and buffered paint job, there was absolutely no way of telling it was a rental! LOL. That gave me a smidgen of reassurance every time we left the car, that we wouldn’t get robbed. A second plus: the truck made transporting our surfboards to and from the beach a cinch.

But no matter how much of an adventure that was, I’ll admit that I’m never renting a wreck again! Next time, I’d willingly pay the extra $100 for a safer and hassle-free car. It’s alright to travel on a budget, but if it involves risking your safety to save a buck, then think again!


  1. Call Hawaii Aloha Travel next time eh? LOL shame on you!! We could have saved you a lot of grief, our discount rentals start at 20 bucks a day including tax

  2. Live & learn..at least you’ve learned from experience. Car rental prices are so manini (small) don’t jeopardize any time of your vacation just to save $5.00 Call us 1-800-843-8771 and we can help.

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