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El Monte RV Rental offers nationwide RV rentals for both round-trip and one-way destinations. If you want to take a real, wheels-to-pavement road trip, but you don’t want to deal with the cost and hassle of owning an RV yourself, El Monte provides an excellent (and surprisingly affordable) alternative.
In this article, I’ll walk you through everything I’ve learned about the company through my own research and experiences. This way, you’ll know whether El Monte RV Rentals is a quality company that’s worth your time before you ever rent a vehicle from them.
About the Company
El Monte RV Rental is a nationwide chain that offers inexpensive RV rentals for road trips. While they don’t have branches in every state, their stores are relatively well-distributed across the USA. Most of El Monte’s branches are located on the west coast (primarily in California, especially around San Francisco and Los Angeles).
As you might expect, El Monte RV Rental also does used RV and motorhome sales. Because they both rent and sell RVs, you get the opportunity to “try before you buy,” which is an excellent advantage for those who feel unsure of what they want. They offer both Class A and Class C RVs in many sizes, and they only keep RV models from the last few model years in stock.
While renting an RV from El Monte isn’t cheap, the company does offer periodic deals, such as one-way specials, winter specials (or other off-season specials), and factory specials. If you can take advantage of one of these specials for your road trip, you may be able to save a great deal over the usual costs.
Overall, my feelings about renting with El Monte RV Rental are mixed. While the people I spoke with were extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and accommodating, I felt like other company members might not have much regard for their customers. In particular, the cleanliness of the RVs I toured was a huge sticking point for me. For those reasons, El Monte is not on my list of the best RV rental companies. I would recommend RVShare or Outdoorsy instead.
Working with El Monte RV wasn’t bad. The entire process was relatively painless, and though I didn’t end up renting from El Monte in the end, I might consider doing so in the future, especially if I can snag a spot during one of their specials. El Monte is similar to Cruise America, who I didn’t love.
- Lots of seasonal specials that can make renting more affordable
- Lots of RV lengths and models
- Most RV models are three model years old or less
- Customer support is amicable, competent, and helpful
- The RVs tend to show wear and tear, even though they’re newer
- Furnishings can feel/look cheap or flimsy
- Difficult or impossible to make reservations during peak seasons
- Cost breakdown can be confusing
- Cleanliness is an issue
While I didn’t end up signing my name on the dotted line in the end, I got a pretty good idea of the rental process from working with El Monte RV Rental. They’ve been in the RV rental business for a long time, so they have a relatively streamlined process for getting you into an RV and out on the road.
I didn’t have any real complaints about the rental process itself. If anything, the only thing I didn’t like was the lack of price transparency on the rental website. It’s hard to get a good idea of what mileage, rental, and net costs will be just by browsing the site.
Of course, part of this lack of price transparency is how much prices can vary during peak and off-seasons. However, it would be nice to have a range of costs to expect, as well as a breakdown of what the net price would look like.
Prospective renters should know that you will need a major credit card (not a debit card or prepaid card) to cover certain costs, such as the $1,000 security deposit. If you don’t own a credit card, this might put El Monte RV Rental out of reach for your vacation plans.
When I toured my local El Monte RV Rental facility, I was impressed by the wide range of sizes and models they carried. While El Monte only deals in 22’ – 30’ RVs and motorhomes (personally, I was hoping for something a bit smaller, but I was exploring other options), they certainly had a lot for me to look at.
What troubled me about their inventory is that I seemed to be scraping the bottom of the barrel, as it were, when it came to what was in stock. The models I toured seemed “well-loved.” However, that issue might be on me – I went to the dealership during the summer when the road-tripping season was in full swing, so others may have picked everything over already.
One of their programs that really interested me was their “Factory Special” program, which apparently can start at about $9 per day. This program lets you rent brand-new RVs for cheap (and you get a good chunk of free miles, too) as long as you drop the RV off at a specific destination. It’s a great way for RV companies to move their newest RVs to high-demand areas while still offering customers a great deal.
Pricing, in an overall sense, was one of the areas where I took the most issue during this whole experience. While a lack of real price transparency is relatively common in the industry, it nonetheless put me off. Eventually, during my visit to the dealership and with thorough research, I was able to piece an approximate net cost together, but it still wasn’t that close to the actual quotes I received.
The problem with El Monte RV Rental’s pricing (and RV rental in general) is that not only do you have to pay to rent the RV, but you have to pay for miles, too (plus other fees, such as the security deposit, normal deposit, insurance, rescheduling fees, etc.). At El Monte, there’s no “unlimited miles” option either – if you go over the miles you buy, you have to pay for the extras at an increased cost.
A dedicated pricing section on the company’s web page would go a long way towards earning my respect.
I was decently impressed with El Monte’s insurance coverage overall. While it’s a good idea to have your own insurance coverage for rental vehicles (primary third-party liability insurance is what you need), some El Monte RV Rental branches will allow you to purchase temporary coverage directly from the rental center. While this is the more expensive option, it may be a lifesaver for those who don’t have access to it themselves.
I didn’t like that the insurance availability was only a “maybe” – meaning you might have to shop around for different dealerships who offer it if you need it for your trip. However, the fact that it’s available at all is a point in their favor.
I couldn’t check to see how much the insurance would cost since I opted to go with my own coverage instead of theirs.
While I didn’t get to put El Monte RV Rental’s roadside assistance through its paces myself, I’ve only heard (and seen) good things about it. On the company’s website, they tout “24/7” roadside assistance, so no matter what happens to your RV out on the road, they’ll help you get it fixed anytime, anywhere.
Additionally, if something in your RV breaks down or otherwise isn’t right through no fault of your own, El Monte is excellent about refunding what you paid for supplies. For example, if you end up buying an extra hose because the one provided to you is leaky or non-functional, they’ll cover the cost of the hose you purchased, no questions asked.
El Monte RV Rental’s cancellation policy is about average for the industry. As long as your reservation is at least seven days away, you can cancel or change it for free for the first 24 hours after making the reservation. However, if it’s less than seven days away and you need to cancel, your reservation deposit (which is $250) isn’t refundable.
After that initial 24 hours is up, you can still reschedule your vacation for up to one year in the future rather than canceling it, but this may incur extra fees, too. However, the ability to salvage your vacation if you miss that 24-hour window is reassuring.
El Monte RV Rental really stands out in its customer service. All of my interactions with team members were informative, pleasant, and, best of all, satisfying. Each time I had a question, I came away feeling like those at the rental center valued and cared about my concerns, no matter what they were.
While I did love the people, I believe El Monte could change how they handle customer service calls in particular. Most of their communication methods involve calling and leaving a message rather than talking to an assistant immediately. If I were to get into trouble out on the road, I know I would feel stressed if I were forced to leave a message and wait for a call back.
If you’re interested in renting your own RV from El Monte RV Rental, you should have a decent idea by now of what to expect. My time spent at my local dealership was enjoyable, even though I didn’t end up renting from El Monte. In all honesty, if I would have planned my road trip for a time that coincided with one of their specials, I likely would have gone through with it.
Despite that, though, I would only rate my overall experience with them as average (including my online research, touring the rental center, going over pricing, etc.). The best parts of El Monte were in the people who worked there; the worst parts were in the RVs themselves.
However, you should keep in mind that your El Monte RV Rental experience may be different from mine. They’re definitely worth a look, especially if you don’t mind taking a road trip during the off-season. Because different dealerships tend to run things differently – especially if they’re a partner rather than a branded El Monte dealership – the RVs you look at might be entirely different than what I experienced.
All in all, if you’re interested in renting an RV, El Monte RV Rental is definitely worth a look. While they may not be for everyone (my personal feelings for them are still mixed, for example), they’re a reputable business with excellent customer support and assistance.
After all, when you’re on the road, the most important thing is your safety and comfort, and you can rest assured that they won’t let you down in those categories. Check out their website, send them an email, or call them today to get more information about what’s available near you.