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Advice on car hire

Brisbane
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Advice on car hire

Hi looking at getting a car from fresno for trip to yosemite middle of March 2011. Would something like a ford explorer cope with any snow without chains. I understand most hire companies at that time of the year have the cars ready with snow tyres etc? I know we have to have them in the car anyway but would prefer not to worry about the need to use them on a car. If we were to go to a larger 4wd it almost doubles the cost. Can anyone recommend a hire company that has no issues with chain useage

San Diego...
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1. Re: Advice on car hire

If you do a search in the California Forum "Snow chains car rental" you will find some information here on this topic, here is one discussion: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g155987-i338-k3342… Supposedly Dollar Car Rental allows chains and will rent them to you. A cheap alternative would be to rent a car, purchase snow chains at a local auto supply store and use them if needed (return them if you don't use them). As long as there is no damage to the car, you won't have any problem, and generally there wouldn't be any damage. Certainly a Ford Explorer would be fine, you certainly would not need anything larger and many people would go with smaller SUVs or standard sedans, carrying chains to put on the drive wheels, if necessary. I believe Ford Explorers come in 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive models.

Here is the Caltrans website on winter driving www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/wntrdriv.htm

If you don't want to drive, you can get to Yosemite by Amtrak (train/bus) or Greyhound bus to connect with local bus. In both cases the connection is in Merced, Calif to the local bus to Yosemite.

Edited: 10 July 2010, 01:41
Los Angeles
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for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
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2. Re: Advice on car hire

It makes no difference whether you have four wheel drive or not, if the park requires chains, you will have to have chains. There is no snow tire exception that I know of.

If you are just going into the Valley through Mariposa, it's unlikely you'll need them - but March is a very unpredictable month. The park doesn't base their decision just on that day of arrival, but on weather forecasts and plowing availability for the next few days of your trip. Often, they will allow people into the park itself (and the Valley) but require chains on certain roads (like Badger Pass).

San Diego...
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3. Re: Advice on car hire

The above poster may be correct in practice, but from the Caltrans website I mention above, there is the R1 Chain Requirement which does exempt 4-wheel drive vehicles, but this may be technical as chains would likely be required in most cases, i.e R2 or R3 requirements. That said, 4-wheel drive is nice to have to get the cars unstuck e.g. an unplowed parking lot or in severe winter road conditions.

Long Barn...
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4. Re: Advice on car hire

Mid March is getting to the end of the snow season, but we just don't know what will happen when you get here. A Ford Explorer will not be much help to you unless you rent (hire) the 4 wheel drive version which comes with snow tires. Some of the confusion comes with the fact that Cal Trans has different rules vs. the National Park Service. In the state of California, R1 and R3 are very rare. R2 - 4 WD with snow tires is common, or they will close the road. I have a 4WD large truck with snow tires, and I have never had to put on snow tires...... Cal Trans lets me through chain controls, or if the roads are too bad, they close them. However, The National Park Service is more apt to require me to put on chains, even with the 4WD snow tire combination.

If this is a worry to you, use Hwy 140 to the park, as this route is lower in elevation and chain controls are more rare. I live close enough that if a big storm is coming through, I will just delay my trip a day or so to avoid the hassles, however coming from so far you do not have this option as your time is limited and you don't have much flexability.

www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/chains.htm

Brisbane
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5. Re: Advice on car hire

Thanks all for your help we have booked a chev Tahoe from hertz which will come with snow tyres and we will carry chains so we meet the parks requirement .If the snow is that bad going the 140 we will just skip Yosemite(not my preferred option)

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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6. Re: Advice on car hire

There is also some information about winter driving in the Top Questions about Yosemite in the upper right of this page.

Have a wonderful trip.

7. Re: Advice on car hire

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