Rent a vehicle that will get you safely through the snow.
Driving in snowy and icy conditions requires thoughtful preparation. Knowing what to look for in a car rental can make the difference between a smooth driving experience and a hazardous one.
Whether you’re taking a vacation, visiting family, or going on a business trip, keep you and your passengers safe and comfortable. Use these top tips for renting a vehicle in snowy weather.
1. Get 4WD and Know Your Tires
Depending on the severity of winter conditions, you might want to rent a vehicle with four-wheel drive (4WD). In a 4WD system, the engine sends power to all four wheels. Four-wheel drive improves traction by engaging both sets of wheels rather than just the front or back.
Most companies equip rental cars with all-season tires and prohibit customers from changing the tires to a different type or adding chains. So if you are concerned about their performance in snow and ice, talk to a representative of your prospective rental company and ask about the availability of snow tires.
2. Consider Storage for Winter Gear
If you’re going to enjoy a winter sport such as skiing or snowboarding, consider adding storage accessories to your car rental. Ski racks and rooftop boxes will keep your bulky equipment out of the way and organized.
Another top tip for renting a vehicle in snowy weather is to adjust features before leaving the lot. Adjust the driver’s seat and mirrors to ensure optimal visibility.
Familiarize yourself with the location of buttons, knobs, and—if applicable—the layout of the display screen. Prepare your GPS directions and turn on audible instructions so you can keep your eyes on the road.
4. Defog, Defrost, and Clear the Vehicle Before Every Drive
Driving in snowy conditions is tricky, and you don’t want poor visibility to make it worse. So remove snow from your car and ensure you have clear windows before every drive.
If the vehicle becomes covered in snow, check that the tailpipe isn’t covered. Once you’ve ensured the tailpipe is clear, turn on the vehicle and the defroster.
Never pour hot water on the vehicle to clear ice off the windshield. The temperature change can cause the glass to break. Instead, use an ice scraper to make vertical strokes to loosen the ice and push it off.