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Thread: Hand Controls for Rental Cars

  1. #1
    Senior Member MikeC's Avatar
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    Hand Controls for Rental Cars

    I just started using hand controls a few months ago and may fly for vacation around Christmas. Most rental companies offer hand controls. I was wondering what type most provide and if they are reliable (if I say I need hand controls - will the car have them?).

    Appreciate anyone's experience/tips.

    Mike
    T12 Incomplete - Walking with Crutches, Injured in Oct 2003

  2. #2
    The company puts them in. They are either push, pull or push, 90, degree for gas. Tell them when you make the reservation that you need hand controls. If you are a quad some have adapters for the steering wheel. Only problem I've had was you couldn't adjust the steering wheel, as it would interfere with the hand controls.

  3. #3
    They are very good with hand controls. Just give them more than 2 days notice. Hertz uses the 90 degree hand control. I think National does as well. Avis uses the pull-push. Be aware of two problems with rental cars:

    1- They sometimes give you a 4-dr car when you reserve a 2-door car. You can usually be sure of getting a 2-door car by talking to the desk at your destination directly. They have more control over the car selection than their corporate reservation desk.
    2- They won't put hand controls in economy cars. You can't get around this. But if you want a larger car then this works in your favor. You can reserve the smaller car, pay for the smaller car, but drive a larger car.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeC View Post
    I just started using hand controls a few months ago and may fly for vacation around Christmas. Most rental companies offer hand controls. I was wondering what type most provide and if they are reliable (if I say I need hand controls - will the car have them?).

    Appreciate anyone's experience/tips.

    Mike
    I've used rental hand controls only twice. The first time at the airport in Columbia, SC I had to wait for four hours because (despite two phone calls days ahead of time to warn them) they didn't have a vehicle with hand controls ready to go and had to go find the guy who could install them, then get them installed then bring the car to me (all this after I showed up). They were push/pull type of hand controls. Once installed they worked reasonably well, but I had to wait four hours... which is kind of a big deal (though I was newly injured at the time and had nothing else I was really doing at the moment, so it bothered me less than it would nowadays).

    My second mishap... I mean time I rented a vehicle with hand controls, was in Las Vegas, again from the airport. To be honest, this time I was busy and didn't call them to get a vehicle with hand controls until I was in the airport waiting to board the plane for Vegas. When I arrived they did indeed have a vehicle ready and waiting for me with hand controls. It was a Mercury Grand Marquis (like a Crown Vic, but a merc) this was like 2015, so they hadn't made this model vehicle for at least 4 years. It was beat up and old and the hand controls were the most disconcerting contraption I've ever had the poor luck to drive with. They were push down for gas, forward for brake mounted on the left hand side, but those hand controls must have had the same 150,000 hard driven miles that the car had because they were worn and rattled and seemed to be about to snap off. While maintaining steady downward pressure to accelerate the gas pedal had a good 20-40% margin of error, so I might randomly start accelerating like I had stomped on the gas even though I hadn't moved a muscle. I'm pretty sure if I had been unfortunate enough to be in a position necessitating emergency braking the contraption would have failed and broken, but luckily I was just there for an interview during the week and drove sedately around town (not my typical style).

    If you haven't already assumed what my advice is going to be, I suggest traveling with your own set of hand controls. I rock the Colours AZ-1 hand controls, but they're $300 so not really realistic if you're just going for a quick trip. I happen to also use these everyday and they have outlasted three of my vehicles so far and been flawlessly functional for 200,000 miles or so. I can pop them on and off in under two minutes, so I just drive my car to the airport, pop off the hand controls, stuff them in my carryon, hop off in the new city, get my car and pop them on. It's ever so much easier this way, since I can pick whatever kind of car I want (not a four door Grand Marquis I guarantee you) and I don't have to rely on them to do anything.

    https://www.sportaid.com/colours-az-...hoCC6cQAvD_BwE
    I have no affiliation with either sportaid or Colours, but respect a solidly built product. Even if it is overpriced.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by funklab View Post
    My second mishap... I mean time I rented a vehicle with hand controls, was in Las Vegas, again from the airport. To be honest, this time I was busy and didn't call them to get a vehicle with hand controls until I was in the airport waiting to board the plane for Vegas. When I arrived they did indeed have a vehicle ready and waiting for me with hand controls. It was a Mercury Grand Marquis (like a Crown Vic, but a merc) this was like 2015, so they hadn't made this model vehicle for at least 4 years. It was beat up and old and the hand controls were the most disconcerting contraption I've ever had the poor luck to drive with.
    That is contrary to my experience. Every car I have ever rented from Hertz has been low miles, often very low miles, and occasionally new. The hand controls have always been installed professionally and worked well. They install them on a daily basis. They're pretty much experts. I can see your mishap happening at some off-brand rental car company like Ugly Duckling. But Mike should rest assured that Hertz would never do that.

  6. #6
    I would guess I have had Hand controls installed about 25 times. At least half of the time there were major screw ups on the car rental companies part. Most of the time it is about making several calls and getting there no record of hand controls on reservation. I usually travel with my wife so we take another car and have them deliver hand control car to us.
    If you go through a disability specialist and are willing to always take a impala or similiar and go with Hertz or reputable company you will have better luck.

    My problem is i hate cars and like the suv height for getting in and out. Believe me it takes an act of Congress to get Hand Controls installed in a SUV. I have managed it a couple times but never on the first try. Last time they said i had a suv and charged me for it and then sent me out to an Impala on the lot. I wheeled around and another manager was there to greet me saying it would be 3 hours. I gave her the address i was staying at and it showed up 3 hours later . I consider this a success story compared to previous experiences. I actually thought it was funny that they were hoping I would just take the Impala ... I suppose they thought a wheelchair person wouldn't know the difference lol

  7. #7
    Senior Member MikeC's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input. I'm not handy at all so will stick with a major rental car company (like Hertz) and hope they are installed well. The only ones I've used are the push/pull so hopefully I can figure it out if they are different. I also appreciate the tip on having my wife drive if the car isn't ready and getting it delivered later.

    Mike
    T12 Incomplete - Walking with Crutches, Injured in Oct 2003

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeC View Post
    Thanks for the input. I'm not handy at all so will stick with a major rental car company (like Hertz) and hope they are installed well. The only ones I've used are the push/pull so hopefully I can figure it out if they are different. I also appreciate the tip on having my wife drive if the car isn't ready and getting it delivered later.

    Mike
    Good luck Mike.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeC View Post
    Thanks for the input. I'm not handy at all so will stick with a major rental car company (like Hertz) and hope they are installed well. The only ones I've used are the push/pull so hopefully I can figure it out if they are different. I also appreciate the tip on having my wife drive if the car isn't ready and getting it delivered later.

    Mike
    I use Hertz everytime time I'm in North America (I live in Sweden) which is about 3 times a year and only had a problem once which was at Vancouver train station when I wanted a car to drive up to Whistler. They hadn't read the notes so there was no HC car available, spoke to the boss and Hertz HQ via Twitter and within a couple of hours was driven over to the airport where they had a car waiting for me.

    A big advantage with Hertz is that you can add HC (left or right) when making an online reservation - choose a compact car and you tend to get an Impala or Nissan sedan. I tend to call the branch a couple of days before collection to confirm the booking.

    The reason why some people are getting higher mileage cars is that many car manufacturers are now installing leg airbags which could interfere with the HC in case of an accident.
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