Tag: how-to

How To Drive Stick? Quick Guide To Manual Cars

Manual cars are nowhere near as popular as automatics, though they aren’t gone completely. In fact, many suppliers around the globe still offer rental cars with a stick-shift transmission. Here’s a short guide to driving a manual car, just in case you need a quick reminder. If you’re wondering how to drive stick, you have come to the right place!

To keep things quick and simple, you can click one of the links below to jump to each section of the guide.

Be sure to check out our blog for more handy tips. Young drivers should take a look at this post. Wondering if now’s the right time to book your rental car? This guide may help.

Without further ado, let’s jump into this guide!

The Basics

Manual cars certainly aren’t for everyone. If you’re renting a car in the US, you probably won’t come across any rental cars with a stick-shift transmission. In other parts of the world, however, manual cars can be quite common. Transmissions are determined by the car type you book, so you can always see whether your rental car is a manual during the booking process.

Check out this guide to learn more about different rental car types, ACRISS codes, and the mysterious “or similar” phrase when booking a car.

Once you’re behind the wheel of an automobile equipped with a stick-shift, you will see three pedals:

  • Clutch– left
  • Brake– middle
  • Accelerator– right

Before driving off, you may want to find out how to turn the engine on in the first place. To start a car with an automatic transmission, you’ll simply need to push the brake pedal and press the engine start button, or turn the ignition key.

Things are a little bit different when it comes to manual cars.

How To Start A Manual Car

The first step to learning how to drive stick is finding out how to turn the engine on. Keep reading to find out.

1. Put the car in neutral

First and foremost, make sure the vehicle is in neutral.

2. Push down the clutch

To start the engine of a manual car, you first have to push down the clutch. That’s the pedal on the left-hand side.

3. Turn ignition

Turn the key in the ignition to start the engine. Make sure the engine is on before letting go of the key.

How To Drive A Manual Car

Once the engine is on, it’s time to set off!

1. Disengage the parking brake

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten about this. The truth is, you will not get very far with the parking brake pushed down. Ensure the parking brake is disengaged before driving off. If you see a “P” icon on the display, the brake is engaged.

2. Put the car in first gear

To get the car in gear, you first have to push down the clutch pedal. With the pedal pushed down, grab the gear stick and put it in first gear. You can use the diagram atop the stick to help you locate the gear. It’s usually in the top-left corner, though that can vary depending on the rental car.

3. Get going!

This is arguably the hardest step when learning how to drive stick. You have to slowly take your left foot off the clutch pedal. Once the car starts to roll, you can gently press the accelerator and lift your foot off the clutch. Be careful not to lift your left foot off the clutch too fast, as you may cause the car to stall.

That said, don’t worry if you stall the car! It’s a common occurrence, especially if it’s your first time driving stick in a while. Simply go back to square one, turn the engine on and try once again. It may take you a few failed attempts to feel the clutch.

4. Switching gears

Switching from first to second gear, then to third and so on is a lot less scary than it may seem. All you need to do is:

  • Lift your right foot off the throttle pedal
  • At the same time, push down the clutch pedal using your left foot
  • With the clutch down, move the gear shift to the desired gear position
  • Once the gear is engaged, slowly lift your left foot off the clutch
  • Push down the accelerator with your right foot, and you’re all set!

Repeat the process whenever you need to switch gears.

5. Coming to a complete stop

When approaching a red light or a stop sign, you’ll obviously need to come to a complete stop. Though the procedure is a little more complicated than stopping an automatic car, you’ll quickly get used to it!

Whenever you need to slow down, it’s enough to simply push down the brake pedal with your right foot. Note that you may want to switch into a lower gear, depending on how much speed you’ve lost.

If you want to come to a complete stop, you’ll need to push down the clutch with your left foot whenever the speed is lower than around 5 miles per hour (8km/h). Otherwise, the engine may stall.

When you’re standing still in a stick-shift car, it’s typically recommended to leave the transmission in neutral and apply the brake with your left foot.

6. Parking a manual car

Parking can get a little tricky, even with an automatic transmission. To engage reverse, you may need to push down the gear shift to disengage a safety lockout first. The method can vary slightly depending on the vehicle, it’s best to take a look at your owner’s manual if you’re unsure.

Once the car is parked, it is highly recommended to leave it either in first gear or in reverse, with the parking brake applied all the way. That way, you can be sure that the car won’t roll down a hill.

Bonus: Starting on a hill

Starting on a hill is another task that can seem a little risky to those, who don’t have much experience driving a stick-shift.

The key to starting on a hill without rolling back is using the parking brake. Engage the parking brake first, then get in gear as you normally would and release the parking brake when you feel the car fighting against it. It may take a few tries to master, but it’s extremely useful to know this.

Now that you know how to drive stick, you’re all set for your next adventure!


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How To Dispute Unfair Damage Charges To Your Rental Car

Sadly, unfair damage charges can still occur when renting a car. Here is how you can protect yourself against unfair damage charges, and how to dispute them if you happen to be charged with rental car damage you haven’t inflicted.

Firstly, follow these tips to ensure that you have the necessary evidence to dispute unfair damage charges. There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself as soon as you get the keys to your rental car.

Picking up the rental car

There are several things you can do when picking up your rental car to ensure that you won’t receive charges for damage you haven’t caused. Keep reading to find out how you can stay protected against unfair claims by the car rental company. You can also take a look at this blog post which thoroughly explains the pick-up process.

Take photos of the rental car

Taking check-in photos of the condition of the car is a great way to document any damage that was on the rental car before your rental period. Before dropping the car off, Rentalmoose recommends taking check-out photos as well.

Rentalmoose insider tip: When you book a rental car with Rentalmoose, we will remind you to take check-in and check-out photos of the condition of your rental car.

Rental Moose mascot is photographing the condition of the red Kia rental car. It is crucial to document the damage on a rental car before driving away.

Document any damage on the check-out form

Right after you receive the keys to your rental car, make sure to inspect it thoroughly both inside and out.

Any visible damage should be mentioned in the check-out form, don’t rush and ensure that the check-out form matches the actual condition of the rental car.

Do not drive away until you are fully satisfied with the condition of the car.

If you’ve booked your rental car through Rentalmoose, you will be reminded to take check-in and check-out photos. Additionally, the photos will be stored by us in case of any disputes.

Report any damage to the rental desk

If you’ve found damage anywhere on the car and it is not stated in the check-out form, inform the rental desk staff immediately. Otherwise, it could turn out hard to prove that the damage wasn’t inflicted by you.

Returning the rental car

When dropping off your rental car, make sure to take a thorough look and check for any new damage. Once again, take photos of the condition of the car both inside and out. If you’ve booked a rental car with Rentalmoose, we will remind you to do so.

Drop off the car keys once you’re done. You can be asked to fill out a check-in form of the condition of the car, and the rental car can be inspected for damage by an employee during drop-off. The drop-off process varies slightly between different companies, you can check your rental agreement for details.

Returning the car outside of the office hours

If you’ve selected to drop the car off when the rental desk is closed, it is even more important to document the condition of the car before leaving. Don’t forget to leave the car in a safe spot!

Rentalmoose insider tip: Remember that the renter is responsible for the rental car until it is inspected the next business day. When leaving the rental car, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is parked in a safe environment. You can find out more in this blog post.

Damage inflicted during the rental period

The car rental company will inspect the condition of the rental car during the drop-off, or the next business day if you’re returning the car during out-of-office hours. Any visible damage will be noted in the check-in form. As long as the damage is the same on both forms, you’re good to go!

However, if the check-in form includes more damage than the check-out one, the car rental company will automatically assume that the damage was inflicted by the renter during the rental period.

The worst part? The car rental company can then use your security deposit to cover the repair costs. What’s more, the supplier will charge an additional administrative fee on top of the repair costs. The administrative fee is mentioned in the company’s terms and conditions.

Mistakes do happen, it can be possible that the damage was inflicted either before or after the rental period. In this case, you can dispute the charges and hopefully get your money back.

Rental Moose Mascot photographing red Kia rental car. It is crucial to document the condition of your rental car before you pick it up and before you drop the rental car off.

How to dispute unfair damage charges

Gather the evidence

Here is where the check-in and check-out forms come in handy. Make sure you have both of the forms, as they confirm the condition of the car that you and the company both agreed on.

Don’t forget to attach the photos you took when picking up and dropping off your rental car. It’s even better if you used a phone to take the photos, as they will be tagged with the time and location.

Contact the car rental company

Once you have your evidence ready, get in touch directly with the car rental company. Some large suppliers, such as Europcar, will ask you to contact the branch where the rental took place. You can find the contact details in the contact section of the rental company’s website.

If you’ve booked your car through Rentalmoose, we can get in touch with the car rental company on your behalf. You can contact us here, please ensure to attach evidence to back up your claim.

What can you do if the car rental company decides not to refund you? Keep reading to find out.

Contact your credit card company

If the car rental company refuses to refund you for the unfair damage charges, try getting in touch with your credit card company or your bank. As long as you’ve paid by card, your bank should be able to help get your money back. 

The vast majority of credit card companies offer protection for their customers. You can, for example, request a chargeback. The bank/credit card company will investigate the issue and refund you depending on the outcome.

If your bank is unable to help, you can escalate the dispute to consumer right organizations.

Contact consumer right organizations

In the event of unfair damage charges, it is unlikely that both the rental company and your bank will refuse to help you. If that does happen, it’s best to file a complaint to the consumer right organization relevant to the region where the rental took place.

European Union rentals/EU citizens

If you’ve rented your car within the European Union, or you are an EU citizen, you should get in touch with either the European Car Rental Conciliation Service or the European Consumer Center

In 2019 alone, the ECC has helped out over 120 000 consumers, so it’s worth a shot.

United Kingdom

If you’ve rented your car in the United Kingdom, get in touch with the BVRLA. Please note that the complaint must be filed within a year of the final decision of the rental company.

United States of America

If you’ve rented your car in the United States of America, notify the state attorney general of the state where the vehicle was rented. You can find the appropriate state attorney general using this website.

Other regions

If your car rental took place outside of the regions listed above, it’s best to check the local laws regarding consumer rights. You may also contact a lawyer to receive help and escalate the dispute to court. Keep in mind that you will have to cover the legal fees.

Don’t forget to book your next rental car through Rentalmoose. Our platform offers thousands of rental cars from trusted suppliers all across the world. Browse from over 15 000 different locations and find your ideal car today.

We plant a tree for every rental car booked with us, as a way of contributing towards a better tomorrow. Find out more about us here.

Rental Moose is a global car rental broker which will help you get the best deal on your next rental car.

Here Are 10 Reasons Why You Should Always Read Car Rental Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions for rental cars often seem overwhelming: they can be extremely lengthy and confusing to read through. Afterall, we are used to agreeing to terms and conditions of all sorts without ever going through them.

In this blog post, you will learn why it is crucial to always read through the rental company's terms and conditions before booking a rental car. Rental Moose is a global car rental broker which will help you get the best deal on your next rental car.

You should always carefully read through the terms and conditions before signing your rental agreement. In fact, it’s best to take a look at them before you even finalize your booking. Otherwise, you could end up having your trip ruined by unexpected fees mentioned deep in the fine print. 

Below you will find the main reasons to always study the rental car terms and conditions, as well as the important information that can be found within the document.

1. Terms and conditions vary depending on the location

On top of the general terms and conditions that remain the same for all rental stations, every rental company has a separate set of location-specific terms and conditions. These terms vary by different countries. 

To avoid any misunderstandings during your rental period, Rentalmoose recommends reading through both general and region-specific terms and conditions before booking your car.

For example, when picking up a Europcar rental car in Australia, the driver is required to notify the company if planning to travel between states. Click here to check out the full terms and conditions for Europcar Australia, or here to see our curated travel guides and road trip itineraries in Australia.

What’s more, location-specific terms and conditions can also affect any extra fees associated with the rental, the minimum age of the driver, cross-border fees and policies, or whether the renter needs an International Driving Permit to rent a car. 

Make sure to take a look at the regional terms and conditions before booking your rental car.

Rental Moose mascot posing at Tallinn airport, in front of Hertz Sixt and Avis rental counters. Rental Moose is a global car rental broker which will help you get the best deal on your next rental car.

2. Check the cost of extra services

Rental car companies have various additional fees that can be added on top of your bill, even long after the rental period is over. To ensure you avoid any unnecessary fees, it’s best to take a detailed look at the terms and conditions.

All of the extra car rental fees are mentioned in the rental company’s terms and conditions. Once again, be sure to take a look at the region-specific T&Cs as well, as the tariffs can vary depending on the country.

Some of the extra fees listed within the T&Cs can include:

  • out-of-hours fees 
  • late drop-off fees
  • One-way rental fee
  • Additional equipment fee (child seat, ski racks, etc.)
  • Young/senior driver fee
  • Cross-border fees
  • no-show fee if you don’t pick the rental car up at all. 

Don’t forget to return the car with a full tank of gas, or you will be charged with a refueling fee!

Make sure to check out our blog post where you can learn all about the most common extra rental car fees and how you can avoid them.

Rental Moose mascot holding child seat, a piece of additional equipment when renting a car, next to Kia Europcar rental car. Rental Moose is a global car rental broker which will help you get the best deal on your next rental car.

3. See the tax rates and potential additional charges

Extra services aren’t the only additional charges mentioned in the terms and conditions of the rental company. Suppliers list their tariffs for regional tax rates and additional charges specific to particular rental stations, such as airports.

Rentalmoose insider tip: A surcharge for pick-up or drop-off at an airport or another premium location is often referred to as a premium location surcharge, or PLS in short, in the terms and conditions.

It’s important to have a look at those rates, especially if your rental car quote doesn’t include taxes already.

For example, Europcar rental cars booked in Australia are subject to GST, while the fleet in Europe is subject to VAT. Keep in mind that the pricing shown by Europcar is inclusive of tax unless stated otherwise.

4. See the driver requirements

If you’re younger than 25, booking a rental car can turn out to be slightly more difficult. Most rental car companies won’t sign an agreement with a driver younger than 21. 

If you’ve had your driving license for less than a year, you won’t be able to rent a car either. In this case, the driver’s age does not matter.

If the driver is between 21 and 25 years old, they may not have access to the entire fleet, and can expect an additional “young driver fee” on top of their bill.

The driver requirements are often regulated in the location-specific T&Cs. For example, an 18-year-old can rent a car in the state of New York via Alamo, though they will have to pay an extra $64.50 per day. Click here to see Alamo’s age requirements in the US.

The driver requirement policies vary depending on the rental car company and the rental location, you can find them in the T&Cs. Be sure to read through them to find out all the details for your destination.

Rentalmoose insider tip: On top of the supplier’s driver requirements, the rental company will have a list of collection requirements necessary to pick up the rental car. Continue reading to find out about them.

5. Double-check the collection conditions

Even if the renter meets all of the supplier’s driver requirements, there can still be unpleasant surprises at the rental desk.

Some car rental companies can require an International Driving Permit when picking up the car, even if it is not legally required in the country you’re going to.

Remember that an IDP is only valid alongside your original driving license, as it only serves as a translation of the document.

Be sure to double-check the collection conditions, as an International Driving Permit can only be obtained in your home country.

Rentalmoose mascot posing, right thumbs up, in front of Europcar and Hertz car rental counters. Rental Moose is a global car rental broker which will help you get the best deal on your next rental car.

6. Check the payment options and deposit rates

The rental company’s collection conditions include the available payment options and the tariffs of the security deposit.

The deposit is usually around 200-250EUR on top of the total rental estimate. Once again, the amount varies depending on the car category, rental location, and the car rental company. 

The period of time until the money is returned to you is stated within the company’s T&Cs, too. Usually, the deposit is released within a month of the end of the rental period.

Make sure to check out this blog post to learn all you need to know about security deposits when renting a car.

The available payment options are also listed in the T&Cs. Keep in mind that some companies will only accept credit cards, whilst others might require a credit/debit card from a major credit card company. Check the terms and conditions before booking for more details.

What’s more, the security deposit might increase if you choose to pay by debit card rather than a credit card. For example, Europcar Australia will increase your deposit by an additional 300AUD if you choose to use a debit card.

Have you booked with a low tier car rental company? If you have your own insurance, the security deposit might skyrocket to over 3000EUR.

7. Learn about the insurance

Rental car insurance is still a confusing topic for many renters. Similarly to the rental car age requirements, the insurance policies vary depending on the supplier and the rental destination. 

In general, the company’s T&Cs will mention what the mandatory policy insurance covers. For example, Europcar’s general T&Cs state that every Europcar rental car is insured against bodily injury and/or property damage that the renter can inflict on third parties. Similar policies apply to essentially all car rental companies.

The conditions regarding every type of cover supplied by the rental company are thoroughly explained within the T&Cs, too. For example, a Collision Damage Waiver won’t cover damage made to the tires or windshield. What’s more, you can learn about the extra protection offered by the supplier.

Rentalmoose insider tip: Rental car companies will void any and all protection in case of a serious breach of the rental agreement, as mentioned in the T&Cs. What classifies as a serious breach? Serious offenses, such as driving under the influence, are considered serious breaches.

8. Find out your responsibilities during the rental period

The rental company supplies the renters with an array of responsibilities that they need to follow during the entire rental period. The responsibilities can vary slightly depending on the supplier, that’s why it’s best to read through the T&Cs before finalizing your booking.

Most of the responsibilities listed in the T&Cs are rather obvious. Europcar, for example, mentions the requirement to take reasonable care of the vehicle during the rental period. It is also stated that the renter mustn’t leave the vehicle unlocked, or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

However, there are some renter responsibilities listed in the terms and conditions that can easily be forgotten about. Don’t forget that it is your responsibility to ensure that the car is parked in a safe space.

If you fail to provide evidence that the rental car was parked in a safe environment, your coverage may become invalid in case of theft or an accident.

In some scenarios, the renter is responsible for the rental car even after dropping off the keys. Here’s how.

If you drop your rental car off outside of the office hours, you are still responsible for it until it is inspected by the supplier the next morning. Once again, the renter must ensure that the rental car is left in a safe environment.

Ideally, drop the car off at a car park monitored by CCTV cameras, just in case.

Rental Moose mascot posing in undeground garage, next to blue Nissan rental car by Europcar. Rental Moose is a global car rental broker which will help you get the best deal on your next rental car.

9. Check the grace period

Let’s say your rental period is coming to an end, but you’re stuck in rush-hour traffic on the way to the rental station. Good news, as the rental company won’t necessarily charge an extra fee straight away!

Car rental companies provide the renter with a grace period when dropping the rental car off. Although it usually lasts 30 minutes from the drop-off time stated in the rental agreement, the grace period can vary depending on the company.

For example, Enterprise offers a 29-minute grace period when dropping the car off. If you pass the grace period, you will be charged in accordance with the tariff found in your rental agreement.

10. Avoid fees after the rental period is over

When dropping off the rental car, you can be charged a refueling fee if the car’s gas tank isn’t full, or a surcharge for damage spotted during the inspection of the vehicle. Once again, the tariffs and rates vary from company to company and are stated in the T&Cs.

On some occasions, you can still be charged by the car rental company long after you’ve returned from your vacation. If you’ve been caught speeding by a traffic camera, you will be charged for the offense along with an administrative fee.

The same goes for unpaid parking tickets or any traffic offenses that have happened during your rental period. The fees are listed in the T&Cs.

Find out more about common car rental fees in this blog post.

These are just some of the reasons why it’s always worth to take a look at the rental car terms and conditions before booking your next rental car. What are you waiting for? Book your next rental car via Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every rental car booked with us, as a way of contributing towards a better tomorrow. Find out more about us here.

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