Last Updated on October 23, 2022 by Laura
Renting a car should be a no-brainer in your vacation plans. The last thing you want to hear is the pop of a busted tire or the slow hiss of a tire leak. When things with the car go awry, they can alter the course of your whole trip. So before you set out on a rental car—especially when you’re far from friends and family that would otherwise help you out—it’s important to know how you will handle unfortunate scenarios. Here’s what to do if you have a tire blowout in a rental car.
Pull Over and Get Assistance
If you do find yourself in a pickle needing a new tire for your rental car, the first thing you should do is pull over to the side of the road safely. Do not slam on the brakes; instead, take your foot off the accelerator and allow the car to slow gently and pull over when it is safe. Turn your hazard lights on and call for assistance. Options include your rental car company’s 24/7 hotline, a local tow company or auto repair shop, or AAA.
Of course, it’s best to minimize your likelihood of a blown tire on a rental car. Check the tires for wear before you take the rental car and ask for a different car if you see a low tire pressure alert when you start the car. While you’re on the road, steer clear of hazards like unknown debris and potholes.
Car Rental 24/7 Roadside Assistance Hotlines
- Alamo: US/Canada 800-803-4444
- Avis: US/Canada 800-354-2847
- Budget: US/Canada 800-354-2847
- Dollar: US 800-235-9393; Canada 877-354-5391
- Enterprise: US/Canada 307-6666
- Hertz: US/Canada 654-5060
- Enterprise: US/Canada 307-6666
- National: US/Canada 367-6767
- Payless: US/Canada 800-PAYLESS (729-5377)
- Thrifty: US/Canada 877-283-0898
Who Pays for a Tire Blowout in a Rental Car?
Be aware that you could be on the hook for costs, since rental agreements state that damage caused by the renter is the responsibility of the renter. If you have damage and collision coverage from the rental company or an independent insurance company like Sure, you’ll be covered. Otherwise, you’ll have to file a claim with your personal auto insurance company or pay out of pocket.
If the issue isn’t your fault, the rental car company will likely swap you into a new rental for free. Call ahead and make arrangements to drive into a rental location and replace your faulty vehicle with a new one.
Should You Buy Roadside Assistance?
Before you even get the keys for your rental car, consider whether you will add 24/7 roadside assistance to your contract. For a few dollars a day, it might seem like a reasonable purchase for peace of mind when you’re on the road. However, if you blow a tire, the cost of the tire (or other auto parts) is not included in roadside assistance. Before making this purchase, be clear on what incidents are included in the roadside assistance. They may be very limited.
Are You Eligible for Free Roadside Assistance?
If you are an AAA member, you can completely forgo any additional roadside assistance offered for a fee through your rental car company. AAA Membership includes roadside assistance in any car, regardless of the vehicle you’re driving.
Another route to explore is your credit card benefits. Many credit cards offer perks, like roadside assistance for a tire replacement. Dive into the fine print before signing your rental car contract.