How to Get a Loaner Car From Dealership?

Have you ever found yourself stranded without a vehicle while yours is tucked away for repairs at the dealership? Well, you’re not alone. I’ve been there, and so have countless others. This is where the concept of a loaner car comes into play, acting as a temporary lifeline. Borrowing a … Read more

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Written by: Mohammad Sameer

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Have you ever found yourself stranded without a vehicle while yours is tucked away for repairs at the dealership? Well, you’re not alone.

I’ve been there, and so have countless others. This is where the concept of a loaner car comes into play, acting as a temporary lifeline.

Borrowing a car from a dealership can be a seamless process, provided you understand the loaner car policy and dealership policy.

In my journey, I’ve learned that not all dealerships operate their loaner program the same way.

While some may offer a courtesy car for even minor car service, others might have stringent loaner car eligibility criteria.

The essence of a good customer service experience at an auto dealership lies in how transparent and accommodating they are with their loaner vehicle policies.

What Is a Loaner Car?

When you drop your car off at the dealership for service, you might find yourself in need of a ride. That’s where a loaner car comes into play.

Think of it as borrowing a car from the dealership – a temporary car to use while yours is under the knife.

Dealerships offer these service loaners as part of their customer service commitment, ensuring you’re not stranded.

This courtesy car isn’t just any old ride; it’s often a newer model, giving you a taste of the latest features while your car is being tended to.

Why Do Dealerships Offer Loaner Cars?

Now, you might wonder, “Why go through the trouble?” The answer lies in the benefits for both you and the dealership.

  1. Customer Satisfaction: It’s all about keeping you happy. A loaner car means you’re less inconvenienced by the lack of a vehicle. This gesture makes a big difference in how you view your dealership’s service.
  2. Loyalty & Retention: Providing a loaner car can make you more likely to return for future services or even your next car purchase. It’s a long game, where courtesy transportation translates to customer loyalty.
  3. Showcasing New Models: Ever noticed how loaner vehicles are often the latest models? This is no coincidence. It’s a smart way for dealerships to let you test drive a new car in real-world conditions, potentially whetting your appetite for an upgrade.
  4. Marketing Strategy: Yes, offering a loaner car is also a subtle form of marketing. It speaks volumes about the dealership’s commitment to customer service and can be a deciding factor for potential customers choosing where to buy or service their car.

people who’ve experienced the convenience of a loaner car highlight its value. Imagine, “I had to leave my car for a major service, and the dealership offered me a brand-new sedan as a loaner. It was so smooth and convenient; I didn’t miss a beat in my daily routine.”

The Evolution of Customer Service in Dealerships: Beyond Loaner Cars

Customer service within auto dealerships has dramatically transformed over the years, evolving from basic sales support to a comprehensive suite of services designed to enhance the customer experience.

Loaner cars have played a pivotal role in this evolution, symbolizing a shift towards prioritizing customer convenience and satisfaction.

How Dealership Customer Service Has Changed

Decades ago, buying a car was a transactional process. You’d select a vehicle, negotiate the price, and the relationship with the dealership would end there.

However, as the automotive market became more competitive, dealerships recognized the need to improve customer service to retain buyers.

This need sparked the introduction of loaner programs, where customers could use a temporary car while theirs was in for service. This marked the beginning of a new era in dealership customer service.

The Role of Loaner Cars in Dealership Services

Loaner cars emerged as a key component of the dealership service experience, bridging the gap between simple sales transactions and a more holistic approach to customer care.

Dealerships began offering loaner vehicles as part of a courtesy transportation program to ensure customers were not inconvenienced when their cars needed maintenance or repairs.

This approach not only enhanced customer satisfaction but also fostered brand loyalty, as customers appreciated the seamless service experience.

Emerging Trends in Dealership Amenities and Customer Care

Today, the landscape of dealership amenities and customer care is continuing to evolve, with loaner cars being just one aspect of a broader strategy to cater to customer needs.

Dealerships are now offering more personalized services, such as:

  • Customizable loaner car options for specific models or needs.
  • Advanced booking systems for loaner car appointments.
  • Digital platforms for loaner car requests and loaner agreement management.

Additionally, dealerships are leveraging technology to improve the customer experience, incorporating apps that allow customers to track the service progress of their vehicle, schedule loaner car pickups, and even select the loaner car they prefer.

How to Get a Loaner Car From Dealership?

image of Being a Customer at the Dealership

Being a Customer at the Dealership

First and foremost, being a loyal customer at the dealership plays a pivotal role in securing a loaner car.

I’ve found that dealerships highly value long-term relationships with their customers.

For instance, if you’ve purchased your car from them or have a history of getting your vehicle serviced there, you’re more likely to be prioritized for a loaner car.

This isn’t just about loyalty; it’s a testament to the trust and rapport you’ve built with the dealership.

It’s akin to being a regular at your favourite coffee shop and getting that occasional free coffee as a sign of appreciation.

Having a Vehicle in for Service

image of Having a Vehicle in for Service

Next, your eligibility hinges on having your vehicle in for service.

This seems straightforward, but there’s more to it.

For your car to qualify, the service needed often must be more than just a quick oil change.

We’re talking about services that leave you without a vehicle for at least a day or two, sometimes longer.

This includes significant repairs, maintenance work, or warranty-related services.

In essence, if the service appointment significantly inconveniences you by depriving you of your vehicle, the dealership’s loaner program might just be your saving grace.

Meeting Age and Insurance Requirements

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the legal and policy requirements for a loaner car cannot be overlooked.

You must typically be over a certain age, usually 21 or 25, depending on the dealership’s policy.

Moreover, possessing a valid driver’s license and having proof of insurance is non-negotiable.

This isn’t just bureaucracy; it’s about ensuring safety and responsibility.

Think of it as the dealership lending you a piece of their trust, encapsulated in a vehicle.

Your insurance not only protects you but also safeguards the dealership’s asset – the loaner car.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Loaner Car?


When your car is in the shop, the last thing you want is for your daily routine to come to a halt. That’s where borrowing a loaner car from the dealership becomes a game-changer. Imagine not having to rearrange your schedule or rely on public transportation. The ease and accessibility of having a temporary car mean you can keep moving without missing a beat. From dropping off your kids at school to heading to work or running errands, a service loaner ensures your life doesn’t pause for car repairs.

Cost Savings

Let’s talk numbers. Opting for a loaner vehicle over a traditional car rental can lead to significant cost savings. Many dealerships offer this service for free or at a minimal cost as part of their customer service excellence. This means you’re saving on the daily rental fee, insurance, and other hidden charges that usually come with renting a car. I’ve seen firsthand how this benefit alone makes customers more inclined to return to a dealership that helps minimize the financial burden of automotive repairs.

Ability to Test Drive a New Vehicle

Here’s an often-overlooked perk: the opportunity to test drive a new vehicle. Have you ever considered buying a new car but felt unsure? A loaner car can be your unexpected test drive. During the time your vehicle is being serviced, you get a unique chance to experience the latest models and features. It’s like an extended test drive that allows you to assess the car in real-life situations, not just a spin around the block.

Customers often share stories of how they fell in love with a model they borrowed as a loaner, leading to a purchase they hadn’t planned. It’s a win-win; you get a feel for a new car while your own is getting the care it needs.

What Are the Drawbacks of Using a Loaner Car?

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When you’re navigating the world of automotive care, borrowing a loaner car from a dealership can seem like a seamless solution.

Yet, it’s not always sunshine and smooth drives. Let me walk you through the less-talked-about side of loaner cars to ensure you’re fully informed.

Limited Availability

Imagine this: You’ve just dropped your car off for a lengthy service, and you’re counting on a loaner car to keep your life on track.

However, loaner car availability can be as unpredictable as a plot twist in your favourite show.

Dealerships often have a limited fleet of loaner vehicles, and their allocation is primarily influenced by dealership policy and the sheer demand from customers.

It’s like trying to book the last hotel room in a tourist hotspot during peak season – challenging, to say the least.

Limited Mileage Allowance

Now, let’s say you’re one of the lucky ones who secures a loaner vehicle. But there’s a catch: the loaner car mileage allowance.

Think of it as being given a ticket to explore an amusement park but only being able to ride a few attractions.

Dealerships often set a cap on how many miles you can drive, which can be a dampener if you have a road trip in mind or just a busy week ahead.

Potential for Additional Fees

Here’s where the plot thickens. Borrowing a car from a dealership might feel like a complimentary perk, but it can come with strings attached.

You might encounter loaner car fees that weren’t in your budget, such as charges for extending the loan period, exceeding mileage limits, or even administrative fees that come out of the blue.

It’s like ordering a coffee and finding out there’s an extra charge for oat milk – a small detail that can leave a bitter taste.

How to Request a Loaner Car from a Dealership?

When your car heads into the shop for repairs or maintenance, not having it can disrupt your daily routine. This is where a loaner car comes in handy.

Here’s how you can seamlessly request a loaner car from your dealership and ensure a smooth process from start to finish.

Contact the Dealership

The first step in securing a loaner car is to get in touch with your dealership. It’s best to do this as soon as you know your vehicle will need to be in the shop.

  • Make a call or use the dealership’s online portal to initiate the request.
  • Mention that you’re interested in a loaner car while your vehicle is being serviced.
  • Ask about the loaner car availability and any specific loaner program details they might have.

Provide Necessary Information

To streamline the loaner car request process, have the following information ready:

  • Your contact details: Name, phone number, and email.
  • Vehicle information: Make, model, and reason for service.
  • Service appointment details: Date and time.
  • Insurance information: To verify that you meet the loaner car insurance requirements.

This information helps the dealership quickly assess loaner car eligibility and streamline the loaner car reservation.

Follow Dealership’s Policies and Procedures

Every dealership has its own set of loaner car policies and procedures. Understanding these is crucial:

  • Loaner car eligibility: Not all customers or services qualify for a loaner. Know the criteria.
  • Loaner car agreement: Be prepared to sign an agreement outlining the loaner car terms, including mileage limits and insurance requirements.
  • Loaner car process: Familiarize yourself with the process, from loaner car pickup to drop-off.

What to Do When Returning the Loaner Car?

Returning a loaner car in the right condition is just as important as the borrowing process. Here’s what you need to do:

Fill Up the Gas Tank

  • Replacing the fuel you’ve used is a common courtesy and often a dealership policy.
  • It ensures the next customer can use the car without immediate inconvenience.

Clean the Car

  • While you don’t need to detail the loaner car, removing personal trash and wiping down surfaces is appreciated.
  • This maintains the loaner car condition for the next user and reflects well on you.

Follow Any Additional Instructions from the Dealership

  • Each dealership might have its unique requirements upon the loaner car’s return.
  • This could include a loaner car inspection, completing a return checklist, or other loaner car return procedures.

By following these steps, you ensure a hassle-free experience both for yourself and for the dealership, fostering a positive relationship for future service needs.

Remember, a loaner car is a courtesy that can significantly reduce the inconvenience of not having your vehicle. Treating the loaner vehicle with respect and adhering to the dealership’s policies ensures the continuation of such programs for all customers.

Additional Considerations

When you’re navigating the waters of borrowing a car from a dealership, several key points come into play. Let’s dive deep into what you should know.

Do Dealerships Give Out Loaner Cars?

Yes, many dealerships offer loaner cars as part of their customer service commitment. This practice allows you to keep moving while your car is under the wrench. Whether it’s for maintenance or repairs, having a temporary car can be a game-changer. However, the availability of this service can vary significantly based on the dealership’s loaner program policies and the vehicle’s warranty status.

Requirements for a Loaner Car

To get your hands on a loaner vehicle, you’ll need to meet certain criteria. These typically include:

  • Being an existing customer of the dealership.
  • Having your vehicle in for service or repairs.
  • Meeting specific age and insurance requirements.

The loaner car agreement may also spell out additional terms, such as loaner car insurance coverage and mileage limits.

Do Dealerships Charge for Loaner Cars?

This is where things can get a bit tricky. While many dealerships offer loaner cars as a complimentary service, especially for customers with vehicles under warranty or those undergoing significant repairs, there might be costs involved. These could include insurance upgrades, mileage overage fees, or even daily rental rates, depending on the loaner car policy.

What to Do if Your Dealership Won’t Give You a Loaner Car

If you find yourself in a bind because the dealership won’t offer a loaner, don’t panic. Here are a few strategies:

  • Ask to review the loaner policy to understand the decision.
  • Inquire about alternative courtesy transportation options.
  • Look into local car rental deals as a backup plan.

Remember, persistence and understanding the loaner car process can often turn the tide in your favour.


Can you rent a car from a local dealership?

Yes, you can rent a car from a local dealership. Many dealerships offer rental services for temporary transportation needs, such as when your vehicle is in for service or repair. Availability, terms, and costs vary by dealership.

What happens if you scratch a loaner car?

If you scratch a loaner car, report the damage to the dealership immediately. You may be responsible for the repair costs, depending on the terms of the loaner agreement and your insurance coverage.

Does Kia give loaner cars for recalls?

Yes, Kia often provides loaner cars for recalls. This service is subject to availability and dealership policy, especially for repairs that require your car to be at the dealership for an extended period.

What is a loaner cat?

A loaner cat likely refers to a typo and should be “loaner car,” which is a temporary vehicle provided by dealerships to customers when their cars are in for service or repair.

How much is car rental per day?

The cost of car rental per day varies widely, typically ranging from $30 to $100 depending on the type of vehicle, rental company, location, and time of year.

How much is it to rent a car for 4 days?

Renting a car for 4 days can cost between $120 and $400, based on factors like the rental company, type of car, location, and additional services or insurance you opt for.

Sources and References with Actual Links

A fantastic resource is the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), where guidelines and industry standards are readily available (NADA Website).

what to expect during the loaner car agreement phase (Edmunds Article on Loaner Cars).

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) provides resources on loaner car insurance and financial aspects of loaner cars (CFPB Website).

J.D. Power offers comprehensive reports and feedback from real users that shed light on customer experiences with loaner cars (J.D. Power Reports).

both consumers and sales professionals share their firsthand experiences (Reddit r/askcarsales).

For instance, Toyota and Ford have sections on their official websites dedicated to courtesy transportation and loaner services (Toyota Customer Service) and (Ford Service Loaner Program).

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About Mohammad Sameer

My name is Mohammad Sameer and I have over 3 years of hands-on experience repairing cars, motorcycles, and trucks. Ever since I operated on my first engine in 2018, I’ve been passionate about all things automotive. In 2021, I launched my blog “Motoring Mastery” to share my knowledge with car enthusiasts and DIY mechanics.