Home > Blog > Denver International Airport > How Rental Cars Typically Fare in Bad Weather in Colorado

Can rental cars be a good option for bad weather in Colorado? They can be, but there are a few things you need to be informed about before you rent a car in Colorado in the winter. Don’t worry we get into all the nitty-gritty details of the laws, tires, all wheel drive and more.

There is one thing we have to mention just right off the bat. If you have never driven mountain roads in the snow, then we highly recommend choosing another transportation option even if your rental car does check all of the following boxes. 

If you feel  comfortable driving in the mountains, then make sure you are prepared with the right rental car for your trip. Here are a few things you need to know:

Know the law

When the rental car is your only option, there are several things to keep in mind.

Traction law: In Colorado, they have what is known as a Traction Law. This is a law to keep unsafe vehicles off of the road during bad weather.

The law states that “it requires motorists to have either snow tires, tires with the mud/snow (M+S) designation, or a four-wheel/all-wheel-drive vehicle. All tires must now have a minimum of three-sixteenths inch tread.”

Make sure you have the correct tires

Your tires can be a big variable as well. You’re going to want either studded or studless winter tires.

Studded: Studded tires are snow tires that literally have metal studs embedded within the tread. These small, strong pieces of metal are designed to dig into ice, which provides added traction.”

Studless: Studless tires are “snow tires that are capable of maintaining flexibility in freezing temperatures, thanks to advances in rubber compounding technologies. This increased rubber flexibility allows tires to maintain traction on snowy, icy, wet and dry driving surfaces.

Sipes: Another feature you’ll notice are thousands of tiny slits in the tread pattern, called Sipes. These act as thousands of biting edges on ice that help with acceleration, deceleration, and stopping. Studless winter tires generally have deeper tread depths than summer or all-season tires.”

Don’t get caught without 4-wheel drive

Lastly, the type of drive/axle power can be a big variable to look out for. What is generally preferred is either a 4-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive vehicle. Try to avoid a front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive vehicle. A 4-wheel drive or an All-wheel drive vehicle can add extra traction control when the conditions can be a little rough.  

Colorado Traffic Tips

Other Transportation Options

This may sound a little overwhelming for simply renting a car, but that is okay because you don’t need to rent a car. Not only are their airport shuttles, but plenty of transportation options once you arrive in the Rocky Mountains, so your vacation can truly be a vacation.

When it comes to an airport shuttle, there are a lot of good options! For Summit and Eagle counties, ride with Peak 1 Express.

For the Winter Park area, try the Home James Transportation.

If you’re looking into the Fort Collins or Colorado Springs areas, you can try The Groome Transportation. Both companies offer excellent shuttles and just take one phone call to get started.

peak 1 express luggage

Uber is becoming a more and more popular option, but we broke it down for you below, and it is not the cheapest option nor is Uber very reliable in the mountains.

Many drivers will not want to drive you 2 hours into the mountains, especially if it is snowing. A more reliable option that is similar to Uber is a private shuttle through Peak 1 Express.

Uber in Colorado

There are many good options when it comes to Colorado travel. When it comes to a rental car, there are a few things to remember. You must know when the traction law is in effect and have the correct tires as well as an all-wheel or 4-wheel drive car. 

If driving in the snow seems a little too scary, an airport shuttle could be your ace! You can choose from an affordable shared shuttle, or take a private ride for more comfort and convenience than uber. 

Stay safe, and we hope to see you in the mountains soon!