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PLAN AHEAD TO REDUCE CAR RENTAL COSTS AND CONFUSION

 PLAN AHEAD TO REDUCE CAR RENTAL COSTS AND CONFUSION
 TULSA, Okla., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Vacations to view fall


foliage, visit relatives, go skiing or just relax often mean travel on unfamiliar roads in less than ideal conditions as cooler and wetter weather spreads across much of the country. More than ever, it's not a time to travel in a vehicle with worn tires, belts or wipers.
 Safety is a major reason why increasing numbers of vacationers are renting a car or minivan for their trips instead of putting wear and tear on their own. Rental vehicles typically are no more than six months old and undergo constant inspections and maintenance to ensure dependable performance.
 Following these tips from Thrifty Car Rental can make renting a car a clear, pleasant and money-saving process:
 Use discounts -- If the last group you joined was the Mickey Mouse Club, you're out of luck here. Otherwise, you can get the best rate by calling well in advance of your trip and using club or association discounts such as those that come with AARP membership.
 Watch extra charges -- Ask if the rental company imposes a surcharge to cover increased business costs in the city where you're getting your rental. Also check on special taxes or surcharges imposed by some cities, states and airports in addition to sales tax.
 Check coverage -- Check ahead with your insurance representative to see if your auto policy will cover any damage or theft of your rental car. If it doesn't, you may want to purchase a Physical Damage Waiver (PDW) or Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) to limit your financial responsibility for damage or theft as long as the rented vehicle is driven within the parameters of the agreement. If you do purchase a waiver product, be sure to check the per day charge because prices vary among companies and from city to city. The key is to know what you'll do before you reach the counter.
 Save money -- Don't just automatically go to the top brands. Be sure to check out slightly smaller companies like Thrifty who have a global network and brand new cars but don't charge near the price.
 Gas it up -- Don't be "fuelish" -- save more money by filling your rental car with gasoline before you return it, or buy the tank of gas up front when you check it out. Thrifty offers both options at many of its locations. Either way, you save money. Because of service and handling time, most car rental companies charge more for gas than the local gas station if they fill the car up upon return.
 Mileage considerations -- While a mileage cap (typically 150 miles per day) may save you $3 to $7 a day, you lose some of the freedom an unlimited mileage rate offers. Calculate your costs in accordance with your travel plans ahead of time.
 Smoke-free -- Nobody wants a car that smokes. Some don't want a car that has had smoking passengers. You can request a no-smoking car with some companies like Thrifty which pioneered the concept a decade ago.
 Trunk space -- Unless you're planning to illegally strap the kids to the roof, be sure to get a car with trunk space adequate for your luggage requirements and items you may purchase on your trip.
 Examine car -- Before leaving the rental center lot, look your vehicle over -- inside and out -- for any obvious damage. If you find anything wrong, either get it noted on your contract (so you won't be liable for that damage) or ask for a different car.
 Ask questions -- If you don't know, ask! A good rental car company will be eager to answer any question you may have about the car rental process.
 Even frequent car renters sometimes get confused by the myriad of options and considerations they have in renting a car, so first-time renters are encouraged to become well informed as they begin making their getaway plans.
 These and additional car rental tips for the United States and abroad are available free by asking your professional travel agent, or by writing to Thrifty Rent-A-Car System Inc., World Headquarters, Corporate Communications, P.O. Box 35250, Tulsa, OK 74153-0250.
 -0- 8/25/92
 /CONTACT: Meloyde Blancett-Scott or Ken Harwood both of Thrifty, 918-669-2379/ CO: Thrifty Rent-A-Car System Inc. ST: Oklahoma IN: LEI SU:


SM -- NYTFNS24 -- 2840 08/25/92 07:09 EDT
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Date:Aug 25, 1992
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