This post contains affiliate links.

Car sharing is a popular trend for people who don't want the expense and hassle of car ownership or renting one long-term. Zipcar is a car sharing company that allows you to access vehicles on-demand. Using Zipcar is straightforward once you've signed up, giving you the opportunity to use a car for an hour, day, week, or month, wherever you need it.

To Rent Zipcar For The Day, You Need To Follow These 8 Steps:

  • 1. Check That You're Eligible To Drive A Zipcar
  • 2. Join Zipcar
  • 3. Rent A Zipcar For A Day
  • 4. Locate Your Zipcar
  • 5. Unlock The Zipcar
  • 6. Drive The Zipcar For The Day
  • 7. Fill Up The Zipcar
  • 8. Return The Zipcar To The Original Location

1. Check That You're Eligible To Drive A Zipcar

To book a Zipcar, you must be a member, individual, business, or via your college campus.

If a family member or friend is already a member of Zipcar, they can add you as an associated member who can use their account, but you'll still have to fulfill the membership requirements.

Membership requirements vary slightly depending on your location, but an individual membership requires that you must:

  • Be over 18 years old. (The age threshold may be 21 or 23.)
  • Have a valid driver's license.
  • Pay a joining fee to check your license and driving record to cover the verification process.

2. Join Zipcar

If you meet all the membership requirements, joining Zipcar is an easy process, all done online:

  • Select a membership package to pay fees for a monthly membership or annually.
  • Create an account. You'll have to provide your personal details.
  • Upload your driver's license and a photograph to verify your identity.
  • Input billing information, which must be a credit card.
  • Submit your application.
  • Membership may be approved or rejected immediately or take several business days, especially if additional information is required.
  • You can make your first Zipcar booking once your membership is approved.

Your Zipcar membership includes:

  • Access to Zipcar vehicles
  • A Zipcard for unlocking vehicles, which you'll receive within a week
  • Secondary insurance for all trips
  • A free, designated parking place
  • Free gas, with a gas card in the Zipcar, if you need to top up
  • All maintenance, including services, oil changes, etc.
  • Roadside assistance 24/7
  • 180 free miles or 200 km per day.

Your membership does not include:

  • The daily or hourly rental fee to drive the Zipcar, which ranges from $11 per hour to $133 per day
  • Young driver fee for drivers 18 to 21 years old
  • Mileage fee for distances over 180 miles or 200 km per 24 hours
  • Cancellation fee if you cancel your booking too late
  • Toll charges
  • Late return fee
  • Low fuel fee
  • Key and parking pass replacement fee
  • Vehicle retrieval fee if you don't return the Zipcar to its parking place
  • Assistance for problems due to member error
  • Ticket and traffic violation fee
  • Damage fee.

You can cancel your Zipcar membership at any time.

3. Book A Trip through Zipcar

Once you are a Zipcar member, you can book a Zipcar trip.

In the US, you must reserve a Zipcar in advance and book a round trip: you must pick up the Zipcar and drop it off in the same place.

The advantage of Zipcar over rental cars is that you can book a trip 24/7 from any available location for an hour, a day, or a week.

You can decide what vehicle you need for your specific purpose, whether you need a van for hauling furniture, an SUV for doing groceries, or a small sedan for going to a meeting.

Booking is entirely online or on the Zipcar app, and you don't need to stand in a queue or collect a key.

To book a trip:

  • Log into your Zipcar account.
  • Access the Book a car page.
  • Input your search criteria: the day, the pickup time, the drop-off time, and the kind of vehicle you need.
  • Click search.
  • You will see various options of Zipcars and their daily rates. Check the daily vs. the hourly rate, depending on how long you need to use the car. You could pay anything from $74 to $150 daily, excluding additional charges.
  • Select an available Zipcar.
  • Purchase optional insurance.
  • Hit Book this car.
  • Receive the booking confirmation.

You will be billed for the total fee (hourly or daily rate) you have booked. The rates differ from one location and Zipcar to another, depending on discounts, holidays, availability, etc.

If you want to change (e.g., extend or shorten) or cancel your trip, you need to give 24 hours notice, or you will be charged the total daily rate.

4. Locate Your Zipcar

When you book a Zipcar, you get a confirmation of your booking. This information will include the location of the Zipcar with its address.

You can arrive 15 minutes before your booking time.

To find your Zipcar:

  • Use the Zipcar app to locate your vehicle by enabling Location and Bluetooth on your phone.
  • Open the Drive screen app.
  • Locate the Zipcar using the map or tapping the pickup location for directions.
  • Press Honk to find the car.

5. Unlock The Zipcar

You can unlock the Zipcar from your mobile phone or using your Zipcard.

  • Hold your Zipcard against the card reader for 10 to 30 seconds. You’ll find the card reader on the windshield. The car will beep and unlock.
  • Once you have used the Zipcard once, you can then use the app to unlock vehicles. Tap Unlock. Ensure that Bluetooth is on for this feature to work.
  • Press Unlock in the app.
  • If the car doesn't have a press-to-start, check that the keys are in the car – they may be attached to the steering wheel, in the cup holder, or in the glove compartment. Leave the keys inside the car for the duration of your booking.
  • Inspect your Zipcar inside and out. Immediately report any problems or damage via the app or hotline.

6. Drive The Zipcar for the day

You can now drive the Zipcar and enjoy it for the day. Remember:

  • You have 180 miles/200 km free before you get charged per additional mile/km.
  • You must call to extend your booking if you realize you will run late.
  • Don't let others drive the Zipcar unless they are associated members.

7. Fill Up The Tank

You are required to return your Zipcar to the same location as pickup with at least ¼ tank of gas, or else you will be charged an extra fee.

Gas is included in the trip, so feel free to fill up the tank:

  • Use the gas card you'll find in the visor above the driver's seat.
  • Your PIN is the first six digits on your Zipcard.
  • Check the odometer for the mileage.

8. Return The Zipcar to the Original Location

Return the Zipcar:

  • To the original location
  • With the keys in the glove compartment
  • Locked
  • With ¼ tank of gas
  • Clean (no smoking allowed)
  • At the agreed dropoff time.

You will be charged a fee for violating any of these rules.

Check that you have taken all of your belongings and any garbage.

Your trip is now at an end.