This post contains affiliate links.

Can you use your card to unlock a Zipcar? Zipcar is a car sharing company with cars across the country, and in other countries, you can book for hire. Zipcar is a convenient service; you can open the card with the App or card. But how do you unlock a Zipcar with the card?

To unlock a Zipcar with the card, hold the card on the card reader for thirty seconds or until you hear the beep. The card reader is located on the windshield on the driver's side. You can also unlock your Zipcar with the App if you don’t have your card or forgot to bring it.

Knowing when and how to unlock your Zipcar is crucial for using it. Fortunately, the process is easy, and you can unlock your Zipcar in various ways. Apart from knowing how to unlock the Zipcar, you should also know how to lock it when you are finished. We'll discuss everything you should know about locking and unlocking your Zipcar before your first use.

Unlocking Zipcar With The Card

After signing up with Zipcar and getting your application approved, you will be sent a Zipcar card to use to unlock the car. This is not the only way to unlock it, but it is convenient for accessing your Zipcar, and it is always good to have your card as a backup. But how do you unlock the Zipcar using the card?

1. Locate The Card Reader

First, you need to locate the card reader on your preordered Zipcar. The card reader should be on the driver's side of the windshield. You will see a green sticker that indicates where to place your card. Remember that the driver’s seat may be on the opposite side you are used to when traveling to a foreign country.

2. Place Your Card On The Reader

Once you have located the card reader, place your card on the reader and wait for approximately 10 to 30 seconds for the car to unlock. When you hear a beeping sound from the car, you know it is unlocked.

3. Open The Car

You can now open the car and start your journey.

It is essential to know that you cannot access a Zipcar without booking it first. You need to use your Zipcar App to reserve a car, and then you will have access to it. If you find that the Zipcar doesn't want to open with the card, check to see that you have, in fact, reserved that specific car.

In addition, if your card is dirty or damaged, the card reader may not recognize the card and will not give you access. Therefore, clean the card with a wipe and ensure it isn’t bent or damaged before trying to open the Zipcar again.

Can You Unlock Zipcar Without The Card?

After signing up for the Zipcar membership, you will have to wait about a week for your Zipcar card to arrive. However, you may want to use the service before the card arrives or notice that you have forgotten the card at home. In this case, you might wonder if and how you can unlock your Zipcar without the card.

Fortunately, you can easily use the same App used to book the Zipcar to unlock it. First, open your Zipcar App and locate the drive function. Then, locate your Zipcar by using the location setting on the App, or use the honk function to see exactly where your Zipcar is.

When you are next to your car, press the unlock button on your phone's App. Your Bluetooth must be connected to unlock the car. Therefore, if it isn't, the App will guide you to your phone's Bluetooth settings, where you can turn it on and allow Zipcar to use your Bluetooth.

You must be near the Zipcar before you can unlock it. So, we recommend locating your Zipcar first and ensuring that there aren’t any strangers lurking about before unlocking the Zipcar.

When Can You Unlock A Zipcar?

In addition to being next to the car before unlocking it, you must also wait until your allotted time slot before doing so. For example, suppose you have booked your Zipcar for 10:00. In that case, you won't be able to unlock it at 09:00. However, if the Zipcar hasn't been booked in the timeslot before yours, you may unlock it 14 minutes before your allotted time slot.

This means that if you have booked your Zipcar for 10:00 and nobody was using it before you, you may unlock the Zipcar at 09:46. Then, you are free to use the Zipcar until your time is over, in which case you must return the car to its original location.

If you are having trouble unlocking the Zipcar with either the card or the App, ensure that you are by the right car. Then, ensure that you have booked the car for the correct time and are within the 14-minute mark of your time slot. There may be multiple Zipcars in one location. Therefore, we recommend using the car’s location finder or honking function on the App to track your car down.

If you have made the correct booking and are by the right car and still cannot unlock it, you must contact the number on the back of your card (or the support number in the App) to have customer support help you in unlocking the Zipcar.

How Do You Lock A Zipcar When You Are Done?

When you have finished using your Zipcar and returned it to its home location (or a different location), it is time to lock it before you leave. Don't use the Zipcar's keys to lock it. Instead, place them back into the glove box before getting out of the car. Ensure all your belonging are out of the car and close all the windows and doors.

To lock the Zipcar, go into your Zipcar App and select lock car. Then, select end trip so the App can record that you have returned the car on time. You may be charged late fees if you don't select end trip. When you have selected lock car, pull on the handles to ensure that the car has locked successfully.

You can also lock the Zipcar with the card by holding it on the card reader for 10 to 30 seconds. When you hear the beep, the Zipcar should be locked. Again, pull on the handles to ensure the car is locked successfully before leaving it. Call Zipcar’s customer support if you notice that the car will not lock after using the App or card to lock it.


Unlocking a Zipcar with the card is easy. First, you need to locate the card reader on the driver's side of the windshield. Then, hold your Zipcar card on the card reader for 10 to 30 seconds or until you hear a beep. You can also unlock the Zipcar without the card using the Zipcar App.

You must reserve the car before you can unlock it, and you cannot unlock the car more than 14 minutes before your selected booking slot. Ensure you lock the Zipcar when you are done using it and select “end trip” in your Zipcar App to avoid late fees.