If you're thinking of taking a holiday to the mountains, the outback, on a ski trip in the snow, or along any rural terrain, you might do well to choose a four-wheel drive or 4WD rental. A 4WD can mean more traction and more control of your vehicle for use in mud, sand, snow, and the like. Before you rent, you may want to ensure you shop carefully and ask the right questions. Note a few of those questions to consider below and discuss these with a rental agency if needed.
1. Always ask if the type of vehicle you want will be safe in your chosen terrain
Getting a 4WD vehicle can help you navigate through snow, mud, sand, and the like, but four-wheel drive in of itself doesn't guarantee that this is the right vehicle for a chosen terrain. As an example, a very heavy vehicle may sink in mud even if it's working with all four tires at once. On the other hand, a heavier vehicle may be better for snow as it might sink through the snow and make contact with pavement more readily. Rather than just choosing a 4WD vehicle and assuming it will be the best choice for your holiday, ask the rental agency what they would recommend as they may be more familiar with nearby terrain and can note the best choice for you.
2. Ask about body armor and other protective features, if needed
A 4WD vehicle may keep you safe when you're taking the vehicle through the outback or in rough terrain, but it may not be the only protective feature you should choose. Body armor protects the body of the car from scrapes and dents, and you might also want to choose a vehicle with fog lights for nighttime driving or spotlights for driving in very rural areas with no street lights. Oversized mud flaps can deflect mud and wet sand. Wherever you plan on taking the vehicle, ask about these added protective features.
3. Ask if there are restrictions as to a vehicle's use
Being a 4WD vehicle doesn't always mean you can take that vehicle into the mud, sand, and so on. Ask if there are restrictions as to off-roading for any vehicle before you rent it, and if even if you are allowed to take it off-road, note if you need to have it specially cleaned before you return the vehicle. Failing to do this can mean a claim on your insurance or the loss of a deposit, and this can be costly.
I've always driven used cars, and when I first started driving, I made some costly decisions and bought a couple of cars that just weren't worth the money I spent on them. I knew I needed to learn how to inspect a car's engine and how to spot warning signs when I was buying a used car, so I started reading everything I could find on the topic, including basic car mechanics and maintenance. I started this blog to share what I've learned over the years, and I hope my tips will prevent other new drivers buying used cars that will drain their wallet and sap the enjoyment out of driving. I hope you find my posts informative and useful.