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Thread: Holiday in the states, need a rental car.

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Holiday in the states, need a rental car.

    Going to the states for a few months in September. Will be touching down in San Fransisco and spending a week before taking on a road trip that'll end up in NY. Is there such a company that rents cars with hand controls. I'll end up buying a car, just need something until I find something a little longer term.
    Everybody wants freedom.... They just don't want it for everybody else...

    A college professor, a man I now consider my dad, once told me...
    "The minute you let someone decide what you can and cannot do, your life is no longer yours." A truer word has never been spoken in my opinion.


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    (1930- )

  2. #2
    Avis advertises that they can provide a hand control car rental at most of their locations, but you will need to find out from other members how reliable this is. One of the more expensive rental companies though. Also, keep in mind that you will only get a left hand driver position car in the USA.

    (KLD)
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  3. #3
    I have rented several times, from almost every rental company, (including a moving van, to move my daughter cross country).
    Every one of them has been able to install hand controls-given enough lead time-at least a couple weeks.
    I have only had a mess up once-after that I learned to follow up, after making the reservation, to make sure.
    I've not used any of the on-line reservation systems-I always call them.
    Keep a record of when you call, who you talk to, and what was agreed to.
    San Fran to NY, sounds like a great trip, I'm jealous.
    I spent a couple years working in Sydney, and got north to Cairns, south to Hobart, and west to Adelaide
    Beautiful country, you have.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    I have had less luck than rlnguy, but have had the most success renting from National Car Rental. The key is understanding that AFTER the rental is secured, call their accessibility number and setup hand-controls and sipper knob (or whatever accommodations you need). Often if you call in a rental order or request hand-controls online, it just gets added to the notes section, but that doesn't get turned into an actual order for hand-controls. Make sure that whoever you book through you call their accessibility line and explain your needs.
    I'm not sure if others have had a different experience, but I've found that no rental agency will rent a normal minivan with hand controls and there are only certain size/models of vehicles that they will put hand controls in. I've been told by the companies I work with and those I called around to that they will not put hand-controls in any vehicle that has a knee-bolster airbag. While that is a simple fix technically, they don't seem willing to try.
    I always request a full size (Nissan Altima or similar) car or mid sized SUV (Nissan Rogue or similar) and have had no issue.
    As long as you are renting from a large airport, you shouldn't need more than 48 hours notice to setup hand-controls, but I wouldn't wait to the last minute if you can avoid it.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Mutley View Post
    Going to the states for a few months in September. Will be touching down in San Fransisco and spending a week before taking on a road trip that'll end up in NY. Is there such a company that rents cars with hand controls. I'll end up buying a car, just need something until I find something a little longer term.
    All majors offer hand controls but understand when you call the 800 reservation number its call center or if you book on line.

    Follow up with the local rental store before and introduce yourself to the general manager and just make sure a few days before your car or suv will be waiting with hand controls connected.

  6. #6
    I've rented from both Hertz & Avis over the last 20 years without any dramas, whoever you book with it pays to book direct rather than going with a (cheaper) broker.

    The reason I prefer Hertz is that it can all be booked online


  7. #7
    Budget. Never had a problem with them. They have a box on their rental site to check for hand controls. They will call you and ask what you need. Left side, right side, etc. I always check back a few days before I'm picking it up and the day before.

    The only thing I don't like is its always a huge car, full size. I ask why? Its because its too hard for the mechanics to crawl in the little ones to work.

  8. #8
    Avoid Fox. They accept the reservation for hand controls and then deliver the car without them

  9. #9
    Every company I've gone through (maybe 10 times or so?) has been able to do it eventually, but sometimes the car is delivered without hand controls, and I've had to wait up to 6 hours for hand controls to be prepared once I arrive at the rental car agency. If you have a pair of portable hand controls it's worth bringing them.

    Now whenever I go somewhere where I know I will need hand controls I bring my AZ-1s. It's much quicker for me to slap them on in the parking lot than to have to worry about whether or not I will be waiting hours for them to find an accessible car. Also I've had an extraordinarily sketchy rental car with hand controls (I think it was Hertz in Vegas) where the controls were poorly installed and very loose. I shouldn't have accepted it in that condition, but I had to be at a job interview and needed to get there ASAP.

  10. #10
    Ask for the ADA department. They are more knowledgeable than the rest of the staff. Also get the phone number of the local office where the car will be picked up. The day after I book the reservation, I call the local office to verify that they have received the instructions correctly. Then I call the local office again the day before the pick up to verify that they have the right car and it is properly equipped.

    They are notorious for giving 4-door cars when you ask for 2-door cars. But I don't think that option is readily available anymore. Most companies offer only 4-door cars for hand controls these days. Some may still offer 2-door cars. But if they do it's rare and typically only at the airports.

    Hertz (and probably others) offers either left or right side hand controls and spinner knobs.
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