An NBC news study has found that rental cars are potentially filled with bacteria and viruses, including those that cause stomach problems and strep throat. In their study, 66% percent of cars tested were found to have high bacteria levels, some on par with public toilets.
What can you do to minimize the dangers? To start, use an antibacterial wipe to clean the surfaces most likely touched by other drivers, such as the steering wheel, the door handles, the window switches and the gear selector. After driving the car, be sure to wash your hands with hot water and soap, or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
NBC’s study revealed that rental car agencies, under increasing pressure to reduce costs, typically do not clean cars between rentals. One industry insider claims that as few as 30% of cars are actually serviced between rentals; when serviced, they are typically just given an external wash and light vacuuming.
Think of that the next time you grab a fast food lunch behind the wheel of your rental car.