How to Protect Yourself from a Potentially Deadly Rental Car

What every consumer needs to know before they get behind the wheel.

ByABC News
November 15, 2010, 5:25 PM

Dec. 3, 2010— -- 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.