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Rental properly: Is it better to rent a car for that next vacation?

Aside from deciding exactly where you plan on going for your summer vacation, you might also find yourself debating something entirely different than just the location.
Is it better to rent a car to drive to your destination or use your own?
Plenty of would be travelers opine over this dilemma to the point that they're crunching numbers, talking about daily rental fees, gas and insurance versus the prospect of driving your own vehicle across the country (or something considerable) like Clark Griswold and hoping for a better result that he got with his "family truckster."
Simply put, taking your own car also costs gas money but you also have to consider the wear and tear on the vehicle, everything from brakes to oil and especially the idea of turning those tires from new to old rather quickly.
The real answer lies mostly with the money saving aspect in the short term. The average car rental is about $50 per day, so a five day vacation is going to cost at minimum $250, not including taxes and other fees associated with the rental itself. If you're not inclined to spend the money or simply don't have it at that moment, then you'll easily opt for taking your own car and worrying about the maintenance as it comes. Truth be told, you're not going to all of a sudden speed up the life of you car, truck or SUV with one 10 hour trip to the coast.

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That said, if your car isn't any the kind of shape it should be, then renting might be your only option. Nothing derails a vacation quite like breaking down on the side of the road halfway through the excursion and you kicking yourself for not paying attention to the warning signs of bald tires or oil changes that went from every 3,000 miles to every 2,000 miles because you're driving around in a car with 100K or more miles. The fact remains that if you're taking your car, and it isn't new, you should get it serviced if you have any doubt on its dependability.
A reliable vehicle, coupled with resisting the urge to buy into the marketing ploy that is vehicle rental, should lead you to using your own vehicle nine times out of 10. This one trip isn't going to be a deal breaker or lead to a significant breakdown if your car is totally capable.

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