Should Rental Agencies Be Required To Stop Renting Recalled Cars?

There's a bit of a kerfuffle in Washington regarding rental cars, car dealers, and recalls. Washington wants cars involved in a recall to not be rented until the recall is satisfied. Car dealers and automakers don't agree. What do you think?

A bill in Congress would require rental car companies to effectively ground a car if it were placed in a recall order, no matter what the issue is. Rental companies and Congress want to take those cars off the road immediately when a recall is issued and have the problems fixed. This could feasibly create a shortage in rental cars and inconvenience people on trips. If loaners are required, it would also put the squeeze on dealers and automakers.

Likewise, it could save lives and lower insurance costs as the risk of a car breaking would be much lower. Rental companies are presumably for it because it reduces their liability if something breaks and will keep their fleets fully compliant all the time.

Automakers and dealers are behind the idea of fixing the cars, but they don't feel the immediacy and grounding of an entire fleet is always be warranted. For example, if the recall is for the cupholder (This has happened for cars like the Dodge Durango) there is no need at all to immediately stop renting cars impacted by this.

In fact, most recalls do not tell drivers to immediately stop driving their cars. Why do the rules need to be different for a rental company? The last time I can remember something like this is when BMW ordered dealers to stop selling and owners to stop driving the new M5 and M6 because oil pressure could suddenly drop and ruin the engine.

I'm totally for getting a recalled car fixed, but perhaps it's time for a more nuanced set of rules than one sweeping, one size fits all, declaration. If the recall is related to the driving part of the car, then it needs to be fixed right away. If it's related to the moonroof not opening in cold weather and the car is in Miami, maybe don't ground thousands of cars to get that fixed.

But what do you think? Should rental car companies be required to get every single defect fixed immediately if recalled, or can they wait on the less pressing issues?