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F10 Thoughts plus Turo PSA


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Last weekend while in Denver visiting family, I rented a F10 528xi off Turo because actual rental cars are unobtainable on short notice. It was an experience to say the least lol. While not a review, I have some thoughts on the F10 chassis as I haven't been in one since they were new and then I'll get to my first Turo experience in 6 years as well. 


So 2012 was the first year for the N20, which I had forgotten when I rented the car but I specifically chose this 528xi off Turo because of its very close proximity to where my brother Ben and his wife were staying for the weekend as they were our ride to and from the airport. It would've been an additional $50-60 to have the car delivered out there. This was also the cheapest BMW available on short notice as well at $67 a day which worked out too. Ben got to ride around his friend's new KTM Adventure too. 

I haven't set foot inside a F10 since they were brand new and I was really happy with how this chassis with 128k has held up. Especially for being a car that's rented out, the interior more or less didn't have any wear over the last decade. I can remember driving E60's with 60-80k miles on them that were falling apart inside and out but this car didn't have any squeaks or rattles. The iDrive shows its age obviously but the controls and screens all worked as they should. 

The car itself still handled and drove great as well. My only complaint with the car was I don't think the N20 is best suited for this chassis. The car's registration listed the curb weight at 4400lbs and the motor struggled to move it. Between the weight and the AWD I only got 20mpg on mostly highway miles around town over the weekend. Getting on on ramps at 50% throttle the motor would still wind out to 7k rpm and that would hardly get me up to traffic speed. I also had a "drivetrain malfunction error" pop up twice over the weekend which resulted in even more reduced power. Not sure if it was a waste gate rattle or exhaust in general but something was noisy although only noticeable at idle when parked. The N20 is great in the F30's and Z4's but is just overworked imo with the F10, my choice would be a 535i. 

Now the Turo experience:

So this was my first time using Turo since 2016 when I rented that 6spd E90 328i in Albuquerque, which was a fantastic experience. Things didn't go nearly as smoothly in Denver partly due to the host's assumptions and imo some flaws with Turo's app. I rented the car 2 days before my scheduled pick up day. Host had 5 stars and a few good recent reviews but like I said the proximity and price were really my deciding factors on renting this. The host got back to me within 10 minutes thanking me for booking and saying the car would be ready for me at my desired pick up time. Upon landing in Denver, I updated the host with our ETA to their listed address as I said I would earlier. I got no response. 

I arrived to the car parked on the street. Two cars were in the driveway of the house as well, but no answer to the video doorbell and an unanswered phone call as well. This is where my communication troubles started and assumptions by the host. I was not informed at all that I would be doing a "contactless check-in". I would assume now that this is the norm for most Turo transactions but like I said its been 6 years since I did my last Turo rental so I had no clue how this was supposed to work. Eventually I found the keys in the mail box and then realized after I started the check in process that photos of the keys in the mail box were taken by the host as part of their pre-trip photos. This 5min+ of confusion could have been avoided though in multiple ways buy communicating ahead of time and also answering in the moment. I took my photos of the light scratches and wheel curbing and went on my way.

After a late night visiting and catching up with family, the following Sat morning I see the seller had sent me a message Friday night asking to upload pictures of my drivers license. I was confused as the Turo app has my license verified, so I asked why that was needed. The response was "Those where supposed to be uploaded on the check out process so the app can see who’s driving the vehicle in case of accidents. Let’s say someone else took it and is driving it they won’t cover me if the ID is not on there for me to prove that you and not someone else". It was at this point that I found and read Turo's Contactless check-in and check out guide for hosts. Turns out I was supposed to verify my id up to 24hrs BEFORE pickup. I complied because you can later delete them from your trip photos for privacy reasons but I was upset that this wasn't requested at the appropriate time. 

After a very busy, long day of family activities that Saturday and Sunday morning I get to returning the car 1hr before I had scheduled it for as we wanted to grab food before driving to the airport. It's at this point I realize I missed a message from the host Sunday morning. Good morning, Check out list: . Fill up gas tank (premium only submit gas receipts showing premium gas) . Car wash (You can drop off the vehicle as is and we will take care of it and bill the app.) Please leave car parked in the drive way and put keys back in the mail box. Submit any pictures you need to the app. Thank you

I had put premium in the car because I knew that was required for the car but of course the receipt printer didn't work on the pump. I did take a photo of the pump total for purposes of splitting the gas bill later so luckily I had that. I actually didn't read the host's message until after I finished check out and we were down the block. The Turo app doesn't provide a notification inside the app and I missed this on the lock screen. I wasn't checking my email either so I'll admit this is on me but the core problem in this scenario is WASHING A RENTAL CAR. 

We turned around and went back because I forgot to take photos of the keys in the mailbox. The host ended up being there only 10min after I dropped the car off and I talked to them in the driveway about forgetting to take pics of keys and not receiving the message about washing the car until now. They were lienient on no gas receipt but I uploaded the gas pump photo anyways. At that point I was given the choice of taking the car 1 block away to the car wash for $12 and 20min of my time or the $30 cleaning fee. I stated, at this point I didn't have 20min to spare so I will just have to pay the fee after explaining I had a very busy weekend and told them this should have been communicated when picking up the car. The host agreed and this whole interaction was also recorded on a security camera. 

For those that know me, it takes a lot to get me worked up but I was pretty furious when I hopped back in my ride to the airport. Piss poor miss-communication drives me crazy and also I shouldn't have to worry about all this shit during the use of the car. On the way over I start reading Turo's policy docs and the renal terms. Cleaning the car - Turo Support states Guests aren’t expected to clean or disinfect the car upon return, though if you return the car in a condition that requires moderate, heavy or severe cleaning you may be charged a cleaning fee. (See cleaning levels table in the Cleaning and disinfection policy). To avoid fees, vacuum up excessive dirt, sand, or crumbs, wipe up any sticky spots or spills, and check the exterior for any significant dirt or mud that may need to be washed off.


I returned the car in "slightly worse" condition then when I picked it up. It was far from showroom condition when I got it. We ended up driving through some rain, resulting in water spots on the hood. I did shake out the floor mats when I returned the car and there were no crumbs or spills inside.

The host adds on $30 cleaning charge Sunday night, Monday morning I start the dispute which you have up to 48hrs to file:

Me: "The morning of my rental return (host) messaged me with checkout instructions requiring the car to be filled with premium gas and to be taken through the car wash. This was not communicated before picking up the car and I believe is against the Turo Policy. No matter what condition the car was dropped off in, P would charge this fee. I shook out the floor mats before return and washed the windows at the gas pump. We did drive through some rain so water spots on the hood but no excessive dirt or mud."

Host:  "Due to Covid 19 we are required to detail clean the vehicles to prevent the spread for our renters. Each renter is required to pay a cleaning fee at the end of the trip. Message was read at 9:30am and drop off was scheduled 5 hours later having enough time to deliver vehicle correctly. Before renting all extra fees are listed on the app. Every renter I’ve had sees them and pays for them before booking. I listed the prices of all the extra fees this vehicle comes with.

When renten dropped off vehicle I have him in camera saying he will pay the cleaning fee because he didn’t have time to go get a car wash. He agreed to pay for car wash. I mentioned it’s $12-15 plus 20-30 mins of his time. He refused and said he will pay the $30 fee. $30 fee covers employee time, car wash fees and cleaning materials. I’ve uploaded all pictures showing the fees and please let me know how I can submit that video in my drive way"

Me: Chris rated this trip and left a private message:

I was very disappointed with the communication on this rental. It was not communicated after booking that you were setting up a contactless check in. I don't believe the app's check in progress makes these instructions clear either so I will be writing feedback to Turo as well on this. I am disappointed that you didn't pick up the phone after initially ringing your door bell and then calling your phone number before finding the key in the mail box via the photos. The app did not require or mention needing to upload the drivers license photos that you later requested. Had the contactless checkin process been communicated before pick up the driver verification could have been completed 24hrs before as required by Turo policy.

If the entire video footage is uploaded, I stated I came back because I forgot to upload a picture for the key returned in the mail box. I also stated in the driveway that I did not have the 20min you estimated the car wash would take so I would just have to pay the fee instead. 

I understand the elevated requirements for sanitation due to Covid19 but a wash and vacuum at a car wash does not complete those requirements nor should that cost of business be passed on to the customer without prior agreement to picking up the car. 

Turo policy states "Guests aren’t expected to clean or disinfect the car upon return, though if you return the car in a condition that requires moderate, heavy or severe cleaning you may be charged a cleaning fee. (See cleaning levels table in the Cleaning and disinfection policy). To avoid fees, vacuum up excessive dirt, sand, or crumbs, wipe up any sticky spots or spills, and check the exterior for any significant dirt or mud that may need to be washed off." That cleaning and disinfecting policy is what is referred to during the rental agreement. 

Your trip rules as listed on the app are: Arrive on time, Bring your license, no smoking, keep the car tidy, 400 miles included, refuel the vehicle. I followed all the rental rules as agreed to when booking the car."

TLDR The host insisted that the $30 minimum cleaning fee that can be OPTIONALLY prepaid at the time of booking was part of the rental agreement. Turo did deny the charge. "We reviewed the documentation and information submitted to us and determined that you aren’t responsible for the reimbursement charge your host requested. We won’t be charging you for this invoice and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."

I asked Turo support about why people even pay that fee beforehand. I doesn't cover spills and stains so unless you intentionally feel like being a slob and making a mess, but not a big enough mess to require the higher cleaning fees, why wouldn't somebody wait until the proper fee is determined at drop-off? Turo's response: "Guests aren’t expected to clean or disinfect the car upon return, though if you return the car in a condition that requires moderate, heavy or severe cleaning you may be charged a cleaning fee. (See cleaning levels table in the Cleaning and disinfection policy). If you purchase a Cleaning Extra from your host, you don’t have to clean the car before returning it and can return it with Moderate level cleaning required. However, your host could still charge you a cleaning fee if the vehicle requires Heavy or Severe cleaning.To avoid fees, vacuum up excessive dirt, sand, or crumbs, wipe up any sticky spots or spills, and check the exterior for any significant dirt or mud that may need to be washed off."

Know the terms you are agreeing too! This applied to both me, the renter and the host who clearly doesn't understand the platform policies itself. 

My final thoughts are about the Turo app itself. We're 18+ months into the pandemic, why aren't these contactless check out procedures baked into the app at this point. The host should be able to chose what type of pick up they are offering and in the case of the contactless it should then walk me through the Turo guidelines as part of the check in process. The app should specifically ask for photos to verify my drivers license and shouldn't allow me to complete check in until done so. I also believe for cars requiring premium, it should be stated in the rental agreement and built in as part of the check out process as well. 

I also find it interesting that my generous 4.0 review with no public comments is the only one that shows on this car's rental profile tight now. What happened to the previous reviews I read?? Next time I rent on Turo, I'll be looking for cars with a longer rental history. 

I hope this helps somebody else in the future understand what they are getting into with a Turo rental and what is actually required. 

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I rented a Range Rover for my dad and grandpa to drive to Michigan next weekend and I'm really glad I read this.  I did pay the $30 ahead of time so my dad doesn't have to remember to wash the thing before dropping it off.

I'm curious how they're policing the "strict" cleaning and disinfectant policy.  There's no fucking way Turo can guarantee that and the $20 pre-trip cleaning fee added to the bill is just fucking pocketed.

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thanks for the insight on Turo. I almost used for a trip, then backed away because it seemed like I might be renting from a mouth-breather. seems like more of an app to use for a fun car rental, rather than for necessary transportation when you are in a hurry and stressed when traveling.  maybe use it for long test drive of a car you might buy.

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I used Turo to rent a Jeep Wrangler on the second half of my recent trip to Hawaii because rental cars were extremely hard to get and ridiculously expensive while we were booking things. I had never used it before, but we made sure to book with a host that had a bunch of excellent reviews because I'm sure all it takes is a crappy host to ruin the whole thing. We paid the cleaning fee upfront and an extra fee to have it parked in the airport parking when we arrived vs. their standard pickup location. Overall I'd say it was a good experience though it was definitely a little bit more effort than a standard rental. One of the 'downsides' was that I did feel like I had to be a lot more responsible with this car because it was someone's personal car, vs. a random rental through a major company. I'd say I would do it again, but only if I really wanted to rent something cool/specific or if it's really the only option. 


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