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Rental car questions for long winter trip

Hi All,
I have Camry LE 2009, odo 65750 miles. It is in very good condition with no problem at all. I will be travelling on Christmas vacations for 10-11 days and will cover around 1800 miles. I have three questions, if you can help with them -
1- I have a option to rent out car for 200$ for 10 days. (I can use my own insurance for rental car, so 200$ is total). I am in US for next 18 months and then I will sell this car. Is it feasible to rent out car from cost point of view in longer run ? Or should I take my car ?
2- In case if I rent out car, I will get either Altima or Dodge or Rav4. I may get some snow on the way and I will need to take snow chains. If I purchase snow chains for rental car, will those work for my Camry also in future. I am not sure, if tire sizes are same for these cars, i.e. Altima, Dodge, RAV4, Camry.
3- My trip will cover New Mexico as well. I hope my current insurance will not void on rental car, if I go out of California.

Don’t rent a car for the trip. Your Camry has low mileage and will get good gas mileage. The only reason to get something else is if the Camry is not large enough. Based on what you said, I think it will be large enough.

Me, for $200 for 10 days, I’d take the rental car. Why put all those miles on your own car? And winter miles are often hard miles on the poor car, bad weather, rain, snow, mud, road salt to rust the metal, rocks in the road punching a hole in the oil pan or transmission pan from the snow graders, etc.

Ask the rental car company if they allow the car to be taken to New Mexico. If they say no, don’t go there with the rental car. If you do, and you get pulled over by the police for something minor like a tail light out, the police will run the license number, discover the car isn’t allowed in New Mexico, and your car will be confiscated and returned to the insurance company via truck, at your expense.

Tire chains will fit the same size and brand of tires. Otherwise, they may or may not fit or need adjustment.

So, chains are extra expense, which I will not be able to put on my car later. I will be keeping this car for 18 months more, will 1800-2000 miles impact much on its resale later ?
I checked with hertz and they say no problem taking their rental car from LA to New Mexico part.

1800 miles is insignificant in the long run. It will not change the value of the vehicle 18 months from now. Take your Camry and BTW, your insurance is good anywhere in the US.

Buy the chains for your Camry and include them when you sell it. BTW, check local garage sales in your area, people often buy chains for a trip or for skiing and then sell them later, even in sunny So CA.

BTW, when you cross into Arizona, stick to the speed limit, do not exceed for the first ten miles. The trooper really love to tag CA cars, even 1 mph over. Once further in, you can ease up a little, but not too fast, they really hate Californians in AZ. California stole all their water.

Snow chains likely will fit a range of tire sizes (at least the ones sold at the parts stores) but adding 1800+ miles on a long trip shouldn’t affect the resale value that much if you have kept up on oil changes and other services. Going into Mexico would be another issue if you rented a car but not traveling within the United States

Thanks OlyDoug and Keith for valuable suggestion.
I will keep my car for this trip.

If your car is in good condition, take it! You’ll save a lot of money and a rental is not perfect by any means for a long winter trip. I have made numerous long winter trips with my own cars, some with very high mileage.

Have your car checked out by a good mechainic 3 weeks before you leave.

Tire chains are good, but…has the OP considered the reality that putting them on (and removing them) involves lying on the cold, wet, and not-very-clean ground? If you want to use tire chains, I suggest buying a set of insulated Carhart coveralls to wear during the 30 minutes or so that you will be lying on the ground each time that you install or remove those chains.

Also…I hope that you are aware that New Mexico is one of the 50 states of The USA, and unless you have some very unusual type of car insurance, your policy covers you anywhere in The USA.

For reasons that I have never been able to fathom, a significant percentage of the population in our country seems to think that New Mexico is a foreign country. Hopefully you are not one of those geographically-impaired people.

Take your own car. Get a set of chains. Practice putting them on your tires on a dry day before you take your trip. It’s a lot easier to learn in good conditions. You don’t want your first time installing them to be on a snowy mountain road in the dark somewhere in New Mexico. Practice first.

I think the OP understands New Mexico is part of the USA. His concern I think is that there are some rental car companies here in Calif that won’t allow you to take their rental cars out of state. Here in my area of northern Calif “Enterprise” rental company has told me I had to keep the car in Calif at all times. It cannot be taken out of state. The only exception was I could take it to the Reno Nevada area, which is just across the border and is a common destination for northern Californians on summer gambling and camping and winter gambling and skiing holidays. Bonanza country.

I would rent the RAV awd. 4 wd is exempt from needing snow tires or chains if the tires, even all season tires, are decent . You won’t regret having awd when it snows. Plus , it has storage room. Rent the RAV! To heck with the chains( really cables for a Camry) They are not some magic eliccser that go on like you zip up your fly and you continue driving 70 mph and magically take you anywhere in safety. They also do nothing for cars with low ground clearance driven through very deep snow and can easily damage a Camry wheel wells if driven too fast or not put on tightly enough.

Awd vehicles like a RAV are made for trips you may or may not run into intermittent snow. If the all Season tires are less then 50% worn, you are fine. Just slow down when going in snow then speed up again when not. People who casually talk about chaining up a Camry, do so for looong extended, mandatory trips on ice or hard pack through mountains or else, they don’t use chains them selves. You need 4 of them for a Camry fwd car for safety. If you are really paranoid, just rent the RAV and carry one set of two for the rear wheels. RAVs are higher though and will take any snow you might encounter with ease on highways because, that is what they are meant for.

Second option, put the $200 in a set of snow tires for your own Camry and just goooo and hope for not too deep snow…you are good to go IMHO, with that choice.

If you do some research you may find alternatives to chains which may work as well for the kind of driving you are likely to be doing. I agree with previous posters that putting chains on in the cold is challenging and I would suggest practicing installing them in warmer weather first.
Chains or traction aids work well but they limit your speed to about 25 mph.