Deep Thoughts: Why are Rental Cars' Interiors Always Black?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 11, 2019

Dear Car Talk:

I am retired, but I work part time as a transporter for Hertz Rental Car at our local airport.

As I drive the cars, moving them around, I've noticed that almost all the cars have black interiors. Is this for cost savings for the car companies, or do rental companies just buy cars with black interiors? Thanks.

-- Arnie.

It's to cover up the latte stains, Arnie. Or whatever other stains rental car customers leave behind.

While cloth interiors are certainly cheaper than other options, the black cloth is probably no cheaper than, say, gray or tan cloth. But when you've got families with kids renting cars for the weekend, and little Freddie eats too many jelly beans at Grandma's and tries to read "Where's Waldo" in a moving car and ... Well, you get the idea.

Being able to hide stains is something rental car companies figured out was important pretty quickly. That's why Rent-A-White-Interior Rental Cars went out of business years ago, Arnie.  

By the way, this is a good time to remind all of our readers to check with your credit card company before renting a car.

Most major credit cards provide insurance coverage for any rental car you pay for with that card. More often than not, you can decline the "supplemental insurance" that the rental car companies offer, which is expensive, and in most cases, unnecessary.

You'll still have to hit those black cloth seats pretty hard with Febreze after the "Where's Waldo" incident, but you'll save a good chunk of money on the rental fee.

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