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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. 

Know the law

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

Be in the know with your tires

Your tires can be a big variable as well. You’re going to want either Studded or Stud less Winter tires. 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.” What your vehicle might have instead of Studded tires, will be known as Stud less Tires. Stud less 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. 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, Peak 1 express could be a good choice. They have many kinds of shuttles ranging from shared shuttles all the way to private and hourly trips. 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.

Uber in Colorado

In summary, 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. Colorado has what is known as a “Traction law.” This is a law preventing possible unsafe vehicles off of the road. Another point of note, is keeping an eye on the type of tires your vehicle is using. There are a couple kinds of winter tires; Studded and Studless Snow tires. Both are good options when it comes to Winter tires. In addition, another big variable is the type of drive/ axle power your vehicle is. Preferably, you will be looking for a 4-wheel drive or an All-wheel drive vehicle. Any type of 2-wheel drive (Front-wheel drive or Rear-wheel drive) isn’t the best for snowy conditions. If driving in the snow seems a little too scary, an airport shuttle could be your ace! For the Summit/ Eagle counties, look into Peak 1 Express. If you’re going to the Winter Park area, try the Home James Transportation company. If Fort Collins or Colorado Springs is your destination, try the Groome Transportation company. All 3 companies (including many others) have many different kinds of shuttles. You just need to make one phone call to get things started. All in all, there are many options for travel and it’s just up to you to pick your adventure!