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tire chains - rental car

Medellin, Colombia
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3 posts
6 reviews
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tire chains - rental car

I am planning a trip to Sequoia Nat'l Park in December. According to the park website, you are supposed to have tire chains in your car during winter, but I asked in Hertz (that's where I am renting the car) and they told me that they don't allow tire chains in their cars and that they have snow tires in all of their vehicles. Any suggestions? What could happen if I don't have tire chains installed? I already have reservations at Wuksachi Lodge, but don't know what to do about this issue.

Santa Monica...
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for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
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1. Re: tire chains - rental car

You may not use chains on rental cars, with any rental agency. But you can rent a 4WD, which is sufficient in winter, and will be okay in the Park.

Fresno, CA
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for Fresno
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2. Re: tire chains - rental car

even with 4 wheel drive, you are required to carry chains. Sometimes they will require you to show them the chains.

california
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3. Re: tire chains - rental car

Rental company indicated their car tire is M&S. Does that means it is snow tire and ranger will allow us to drive up without snow chain?

Appreciate someone who encounter can enlighten us.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: tire chains - rental car

M&S means "mud and snow", they are snow tires, but if they are actually checking for chains at Sequoia, they will NOT allow you in with just M&S tires or even 4WD with M&S tires.

4WD with snow tires will substitute for chains on California *state* roads under *most* conditions, but the National Parks make their own rules, and if they are checking for chains, they will require them no matter what sort of vehicle or tires you have.

They may not require you to have the chains on the tires, only in your possession--usually they will only ask if you have chains, they will not require you to show them. But if it's a really bad storm they may require you to have them on, I don't know.

Fresno, CA
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for Fresno
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5. Re: tire chains - rental car

I drive in the National parks in winter all the time. I have a 4 wheel drive with mud and snow tires. I MUST carry chains as well. I am usually just asked if I have them, but there have been occasions, when a big storm is coming or arrived, that they ask to see them. Most of the time, if chains are required, it is on non-4 wheel drive vechicles. This is R2 conditions. Since many of the parks have very few plows, and they try to save the roads and plows from repairs, they plow the road very high, leaving crust of ice. R2 conditions are the most common in the winter. If a storm hits and they can't plow fast enough, they will change the conditions to R3. That means EVERY vehicle, including those with 4 wheel drive and mud and snow tires are required to put chains on. I have encountered this in Yosemite 2 times over the past 5 years. I don't drive Sequioa in the winter, but their budget and equipment are probably having the same limitations/problems.

Camarillo...
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for Maui
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6. Re: tire chains - rental car

This is always a catch 22 for out of town travelers who use rental cars. The rental companies do not allow chains to be on their vehicles. If you use them and they cause damage to the car, the contract is voided and you are fully liable for the damages.

On the other hand, if you are traveling in the mountains and the CHP puts up a "chains required" condition due to a storm (which it seems they sometimes do at the sight of the fist snowflake), you could be facing a serious fine if you are stopped or worse, run off the road, and don't have chains.

Renting a 4 wheel drive will often get you waved through in most conditions. But the law still requires you to carry chains. And the way storms can oftem blow through the Sierras, it's a good idea. So rent your 4X4, swing into the first auto parts store and buy a set of tire chains/cables. As long as they are unused, you can return them for a full refund at the end of your trip.

Dallas, TX
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7. Re: tire chains - rental car

I have the same problem and got the same answers. Did you get any suggestions from anyone? My idea was to buy some in Fresno then haul them around, but where, and how do I know if I can find them once I know what type tires I have rented? I am told they might not let you in the park if you don't have them, and there go your reservations...this seems like a big problem! Melinda, Dallas.

Visalia, CA
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8. Re: tire chains - rental car

Traveling Melinda, First off I would definitely rent a 4WD. See what size tires you've got, then go buy some chains. You can get them at just about any auto parts store. Keep the receipt, and, if you don't use them, return the chains for a refund. Also get the cable style chains if you can. These are easy to install and low profile. Not likely to cause any damage.

9. Re: tire chains - rental car

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