How to Protect Yourself from a Potentially Deadly Rental Car

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

As holiday travel plans pick up, there still is no federal law requiring rental car companies to fix recalled vehicles before handing the keys to consumers.\

It turned deadly for sisters Jacquie Houck, 20, and Raechel Houck, 24, whose rented Chrysler PT Cruiser from Enterprise in Santa Cruz, CA was under recall notice from Chrysler with the warning that the power steering fluid could leak and result in an underhood fire.

The warning became a reality when the sisters were driving home up Highway 101 and the PT Cruiser engine went up in flames. “All the black, noxious smoke would go immediately fill the engine compartment, so you wouldn’t be able to see,” their father Chuck Houck said. “You wouldn’t be able to breathe.” He said they had no steering ability as the car caught fire, and Raechel swerved across the median strip into an oncoming truck. Both girls died instantly.

Click here to read the full story from ABC