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Car rental companies are so lame!

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

So, I'm flying to a few different spots this season, and my first trip is to Portland. I was talking to the GM at one of the hotels by Mt. Hood, and she was saying they were just getting absolutely dumped with snow, had a foot in the last couple days, snow higher than her office window, blah blah blah.

 

I'm thinking it'd be ludicrous to drive around up there without awd, 4wd, snow tires, or chains this early December.

 

So calling about every company around the airport, I've been told by every single one that:

 

a) they don't guarantee 4wd/awd, but only a class, but they said it's only a 50/50 shot of getting awd (even at Portland!!!)

b) they usually only have all-seasons, even on their suv's (are you kidding me?!)

c) their policies don't allow renters to use snow chains

 

To top it off, the SUV class costs a fortune to rent! Don't they know what Subarus are?

 

I'd hate to show up there, see it dumping snow outside, and get stuck in Portland with some car that's impracticle for these sweet La Nina conditions.

 

What's my best option here? Apparently, with these big box rental companies, it appears to make no difference whether they're in Miami or Seattle, because they seem to have the same crappy fleet cars. Do they not realize that different locations just might have different needs? Getting slightly annoyed here.

post #2 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinFromSA View Post

Apparently, with these big box rental companies, it appears to make no difference whether they're in Miami or Seattle, because they seem to have the same crappy fleet cars. Do they not realize that different locations just might have different needs? Getting slightly annoyed here.

 

Enterprise ares are locally owned. So your chance of finding a more "location appropriate" car is better. Just don't get a break down far away from where you rented the car, for they wanted you to drive the very SAME car back!


Having said that, I suspect Portland isn't all that used to snow.

post #3 of 19

We usually get very little snow here in Portland, although we are expecting snow tonight.  You are right, it is dumping up at Mt. Hood and right now you have to have chains or "traction tires".  AWD, 4WD, and all season tires don't count.  I would get an appropriate sized car and then try to buy chains along the way at Les Schwab Tire if conditions appear to warrent them.  Where will you be staying and when are you coming?  It could make a big difference whether you need them or not.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'll be there December 10th through the 13th. Just a quick weekend trip. I'll be staying right by the mountain (Government Camp area).

post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinFromSA View Post

 

I'm thinking it'd be ludicrous to drive around up there without awd, 4wd, snow tires, or chains this early December.

 

 


Only to someone from Texas.  biggrin.gif

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

 

Only to someone from Texas.  biggrin.gif



Hahaha. I may be from Texas, but I know a thing or two about driving in bad snow conditions. wink.gif Lots of time in AK and elsewhere back in the day. Hence why I don't wanna roll up to Hood with a Dodge Neon/Charger/similar with all-seasons and no chains. Lol. Guess I'll give Enterprise a call and see what they say.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Also, I could really use some help on the sleep front as well.

REF: http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/97975/lodging-recommendations-for-mt-hood-government-camp

post #8 of 19

If you were traveling tomorrow it would be different. But I think your worrying way too far in advance.

 

Alamo/Nationals, insider/emerald club let's you pick any car in class from the lot. If you pick SUV, you could definitely pick one with 4wd. 

 

Neon's  actually handle pretty well in the snow.

 

Stay in Hood River, nice town with some nice restaurants and brew pubs.

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
Alamo/Nationals, insider/emerald club let's you pick any car in class from the lot. If you pick SUV, you could definitely pick one with 4wd.

-

Stay in Hood River, nice town with some nice restaurants and brew pubs.



Good intel. Thanks!

post #10 of 19

When I was in SLC, I think I rented with... Budget?  (Or Hertz, maybe?)

 

They had something like a "ski package" that guaranteed the vehicle I got would have 4WD/AWD, snow tires, a ski rack, etc.  Only available on an "SUV", though.  I got a "small SUV", which I think was a Hyundai Santa Fe with 4WD, and it wasn't *absurdly* expensive.  Something like $700 for eight days with all the taxes, fees, etc.

 

It might have been a significantly higher rate/day if you only wanted it for 2-3 days, though.

post #11 of 19


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinFromSA View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

 

Only to someone from Texas.  biggrin.gif



Hahaha. I may be from Texas, but I know a thing or two about driving in bad snow conditions. wink.gif Lots of time in AK and elsewhere back in the day. Hence why I don't wanna roll up to Hood with a Dodge Neon/Charger/similar with all-seasons and no chains. Lol. Guess I'll give Enterprise a call and see what they say.



A Neon vs. a Charger in the snow would yield very different results.  While I think the Neon would do just fine with it's front wheel drive, the Charger with RWD and twice the power would prove more difficult.  That being said, the Neon is not out of the question.  I drove a Pontiac Grand Am over that nasty pass between Cortez, CO and Telluride in a Blizzard.  With a Charger that may have qualified as ludicrous, with the Grand Am, I'd say it was good practice.

post #12 of 19

budget had ford escapes that are 4wd

post #13 of 19

You will have to go skiing in Quebec; all cars must have snow tires in the winter there according to the law.

 

I once drove a rear wheel drive chevette over Roger's Pass B.C. with about 8" of snow on the road and all season tires (car was delivered with crappy all season tires (Goodyear Corsa GT I think). Handling was a bit tricky, but getting stuck was not a problem.  The drive was only really difficult when the idiot in front of me slowed right down in the bottom of a valley (didn't have enough momentum to make it up the next hill, had to reverse and get another run at it; lucky for me there was very little traffic).   All season tires, when new have a little sharper edges.  Handling improved 100 percent when I put snow tires on the following year.

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

When I was in SLC, I think I rented with... Budget?  (Or Hertz, maybe?)

 

They had something like a "ski package" that guaranteed the vehicle I got would have 4WD/AWD, snow tires, a ski rack, etc.  Only available on an "SUV", though.  I got a "small SUV", which I think was a Hyundai Santa Fe with 4WD, and it wasn't *absurdly* expensive.  Something like $700 for eight days with all the taxes, fees, etc.

 

It might have been a significantly higher rate/day if you only wanted it for 2-3 days, though.



I p.m'd you some suggestions - our jeep is $750 for 2 weeks AND includes insurance.

 

I've also heard people recommend rugged rentals (but they might be Utah based).

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by darent View Post

budget had ford escapes that are 4wd



 

post #16 of 19

I had this same problem last year. The only rental company that could guarantee me a 4wd was Hertz. Have you tried them? If you get the car from one of their non-airport locations it is much cheaper, and you can do a one way rental so you can drop it off at the airport on your way back at no extra charge.

post #17 of 19

Did you call them or just looked at the web site?

 

I found out that when you call Herz there are much more options which are not advertised on the web site.

 

Another thing - try to call their off-airport places (Herz local edition say in Gresham, which is on the way to Mt Hood ). First - much cheaper (no airport taxes etc), second - better options in terms of the car choice as well. 

 

It worked for me when very specific car (8-seater SUV) needed to be found.

 

There is a MAX train going directly from the PDX terminal or you can ren a regular for one day, drop it at the Gresham and pick 4x4 up. Local guys might have some smaller 4x4s... But if you rent regular, drive to the local Les Schwab, get chains for like 35-40 bucks - you're set. And you can return those if unused.

 

post #18 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

 

Stay in Hood River, nice town with some nice restaurants and brew pubs.


Only one downside - 30 min to the slopes... But sure worth it since apres options are infinitely better.

 

If you stay Govy side - walking to Skibowl, 10 min to Timberline, 15min to Meadows.

post #19 of 19

i'ld agree with VLADL,

 

I've gotten better deals or guarantees by calling the local rental office direct.  Last year in Portland Hertz local (airport) upgraded me to a Toyota Highlander 4wd.  Let em know what your planning and i'd be pretty certain they'd save ya a decent vehicle, if not be certain to talk to the manager and plead.  can't hurt

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