Posted by: safedriver | January 2, 2014

Should rental cars have winter tires?

Hamilton 2-20130926-00585I recently had to rent a vehicle while another driving instructor borrowed my training vehicle. He needed the dual brake control in the vehicle and I wasn’t using my training vehicle so we switched vehicles. He got my car and I got his rental vehicle. To some people they like it when they rent a new vehicle as it almost seems like a “treat” for them to drive a different vehicle from their normal one. This time, it was no treat for me.

You would think that living in Canada during the winter season the rental companies would keep a snow brush in their vehicle. They don’t have to be the $20 snow brush because someone just may be tempted to take it when the vehicle is returned. The snow brushes can be the $2 kind that does the job for the time you have the rental. Chances are that no one will take that $2 kind when they return the vehicle any way, but if they do, it’s only $2. Luckily I had a spare snow brush at home, even though I went out and got another one. I always like to have a spare.

When I drove the vehicle on the way home it performed fine. That’s mainly because the road conditions were clear and dry. After the first snowfall, it performed terrible. Did I say terrible? I meant awful. The vehicle had regular all-season tires still on it. Seriously? All-season tires in the winter in Canada? Considering these are “professional” companies that assist many drivers who need their service, why can’t they have winter tires on their vehicles?

Consider the marketing they can do. “Come rent from us because all of our vehicles have winter tires so you can drive safely to your destinations” or something like that. The car rental agencies may be thinking of the added cost, but in the long term, those winter tires come off in the spring and the all-seasons can go back on. This can save those tires for the next winter and so on. They may even last for 3 winters, depending on the mileage that’s put on them.

Here’s the added plus. The car rental agencies make money when the vehicles are rented out. However, if a driver crashes one of their vehicles because it had terrible all-season tires on it, that vehicle can’t make them any money for the agency. The traction the winter tires give the driver would help the driver brake, steer and accelerate better, thus a better chance to avoid crashing. After all, the rental companies don’t know how good or how bad the driver is who just rented their vehicle. This will at least give them a chance to survive on the roads.

Here’s a thought; why not have tire companies sponsor the rental agency? They can provide winter tires for each of their vehicles at a reduced rate and then they both advertise and promote safer vehicles for the consumer. Maybe I have something here. Any takers? It sounds like a win-win situation here for everyone. Maybe it’s a win-win-win-win situation? Hey, if it works, maybe I could get a finder’s fee?



  1. Maybe you can do a commercial for them and young drivers at the same time! “Young drivers recommends winter tires – when you have to rent – rent from XYZ as they have winter tires” etc.

    • I like it!

  2. We should be lobbying the provincial government to make winter tires MANDATORY — even in Toronto.

  3. Interesting post! Definitely it became very tough to drive in winters after snowfall. Tire is one of the most important parts of any vehicle. Good car rental companies always provide better services and I think if you ask about winter tires they will provide you according to your need. These days it has become so easy to communicate with the service providers so whenever you are going to ask about a car rental quote, you can include the winter tire point in the quotation. If you want to know about car rental and car rental service provider in Ireland you can visit this link as Thanks for providing unique information to us. Keep writing and sharing such kinds of useful information to the world.

  4. What is the law on this? I currently have a rental car in Ottawa without snow tires of course and when I was driving into a parking garage today, I slid down the slight embankment. Luckily I was able to grab the ticket and the barrier went up just as I was about to slide through it, but what if it hadn’t? What if someone walked in front of me while I was sliding and couldn’t stop? Would I be liable or anyone else this could happen to? It’s a terrible, dangerous, and should be illegal practice. Moral of the story: NEVER USE A RENTAL CAR IN CANADA IN THE WINTER.

  5. They don’t put winter tires on the cars for a reason. If you crash the car and it is totaled, you have to buy the rental place a new vehicle, and you also have to pay them for “loss of use” (money lost unable to rent the vehicle). So it’s a great scam, because they get a brand new car to rent and don’t have to worry about trying to sell the old car to anyone. Great way for them to upgrade the fleet frequently without having to pay for it, because the drivers are constantly crashing the cars in the snow.

    I rented a car from Enterprise one winter and almost drove it into a barrier, because the tires had absolutely no traction. I was very angry that my life was at risk and I didn’t even know about it, because I simply trusted the rental agency.

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