Should rental cars have winter tires?
I 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?