In car rental, a vehicle inspection is an act of checking the conditions of a rental car. Car rental companies inspect their vehicles before handing them over to a customer and also after the customer brings the car back. During the inspection, a staff member usually fills in a report that states all the damage to the vehicle (interior and exterior), current fuel level, and kilometres (or miles) travelled. These documents are used to check if any new damage occurred during the rental and that the renter abided by the fuel and mileage policy.
Since the renter is obliged to return the car in the same condition as it was before collecting it, the customer should also check the condition of the vehicle before driving off and after returning it. Some car rental companies inspect the vehicle with the renter before pick-up but some do it in advance to make the pick-up experience faster. It is recommended to check the report and also to take pictures (or a video) of the vehicle. By signing the contract, the renter agrees to the condition stated in the report.
When returning the vehicle, the renter has the right to demand an inspection before they leave or they can trust the company to do it afterwards. If they choose the latter, the company will send the report to them later. But it is recommended for the renter to inspect the vehicle with the supplier’s staff.
The vehicle inspection is mostly done by sight which can result in errors and disputes. Many suppliers also take pictures of the vehicles to be able to show them as evidence to their customers. Since this whole process takes time and is prone to errors, new technologies are in development that would automate the inspection process using AI. Some of these technologies include automated inspection booths that detect damages. Others try to use the software of the car itself (connected car data).