Smart Tips for Renting a Vehicle

Whether you're planning a road trip, a business trip, or just need a temporary set of wheels, renting a vehicle can be an excellent solution. But with so many options and considerations, how can you ensure you’re making the right choice? This blog post will walk you through everything you need to know before hiring a vehicle, ensuring your experience is smooth and stress-free.

Table of Contents

Start Booking Early

The Early Bird Gets the Four-Wheeled Worm

Start planning now! Yes, a dash of spontaneity can indeed add excitement to any journey, but when it comes to locking down your perfect vehicle, being early is your best bet. Picture this: while you’re lost in dreams of hitting the open road, chances are, someone else is snapping up the very vehicle you had in mind, the one that seemed destined for you.

Prioritise Your Rental Car Reservation

Put securing your hire vehicle at the top of your to-do list, even before clicking “book” on those flights! With the demand for rental cars often outstripping supply, especially in peak seasons, you’ll want to secure your perfect hire vehicle early to avoid missing out. Unlike flights, where a little wiggle room is often possible, rental cars don’t offer the same luxury. So, what’s the pro tip? Treat booking your vehicle like snagging the best seats on a plane – plan ahead. Booking two to nine months in advance could secure you not just any vehicle, but the perfect one for your adventure.

Cracking the Payment Puzzle

Booking early doesn’t just ensure availability; it’s also a shield against price hikes and sudden surges in demand. Many rental companies offer flexible payment options and even early-bird discounts, giving you a compelling reason to lock in your rate and breathe easy, long before your actual travel date.

Reflect On How You Want To Travel

Determine Your Travel Style

Before renting a vehicle, think about how you prefer to travel. Are you planning a road trip across the country, or do you need a car for city driving? Knowing your travel style helps you choose the right vehicle and rental plan. If you’re embarking on a long road trip, consider a vehicle with good fuel efficiency and comfort features. For city driving, a compact car might be more suitable. Also, consider the number of passengers and the amount of luggage you’ll have. Ensure the vehicle you choose has enough space to accommodate everyone and everything comfortably.

Choose the Right Vehicle Type

The type of vehicle you choose can significantly impact your rental experience. For example, renting an SUV might be ideal for a family vacation, while a smaller car could be more practical for business trips.

Think about the terrain you’ll be driving on. If you’re heading into the outback or rural areas, a 4WD from Red Dirt 4WD Rentals might be your best bet. For city explorations, a compact car could be more suitable. For city driving, a smaller car with better manoeuvrability can be beneficial.

Factor in Additional Features

When selecting a rental vehicle, consider any additional features you might need. GPS navigation, child seats, and extra storage can enhance your travel experience. Renting a car with these features included can save you time and money compared to arranging them separately.

Some rental companies offer packages that include these extras at a discounted rate. Be sure to ask about any available packages when making your reservation.

Understand the Rental Agreement

Read the Terms and Conditions

It’s easy to miss some of the details rattled off when the rental car representative walks you through the company’s policies. The terms and conditions generally outline your responsibilities as a hirer, the costs associated with the hiring, who is permitted to drive the vehicle and what happens in certain events, such as collision and breakdown.


One important note: Many companies restrict the use of their vehicles on unpaved roads. Make sure to thoroughly review your rental terms and conditions, and don’t hesitate to ask questions when picking up your car. However, with Red Dirt Rentals, you can freely explore the rugged beauty of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Our vehicles are adventure-ready and equipped to handle off-road terrain.


You can find a copy of Red Dirt 4WD Rentals Terms and Conditions HERE

Coverage or Liability Reduction Options:

Liability Reduction Options comes in many different shapes and sizes and is referred to in numerous ways, from Damage Excess Fee, Protection Plan or even Coverage Options. Regardless of how it’s referred to, it’s designed to protect you against the charges that may apply in the event your rented car is stolen or damaged. This is taken as a bond payment, which is an amount of money frozen on your credit card. Providing there are no additional charges at the end of your rental, the bond will be returned to the same card. 


Like your regular car is insurance at home, all cars are comprehensively insured, however in the event of damage or incident you’ll have to pay a damage excess (We refer to this as your lability). Your excess is the dollar amount that comes out of your pocket when your vehicle needs repair. The rest is covered by insurance. For example: If your repair bill is $10,000 and your excess is $550, then you pay $550 and the cars insurance pays $9,450. If an accident is as a direct result of a breach of the Terms and Conditions, then your excess amount will be unlimited. 


The maximum excess amount you are liable for should be communicated to you when booking your vehicle and/or upon collection. This amount can vary significantly depending on the location you’re renting in and the type of vehicle you’re hiring.  


You can find a copy of Red Dirt 4WD Rentals Liability Reduction Options HERE.  

Handling Changes or Cancellations:

Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes plans change unexpectedly. Knowing how to handle changes or cancellations to your rental booking can save you from unnecessary stress and potential financial loss. It’s important to familiarise yourself with the rental company’s policies, including any fees or deadlines. Some companies may allow free cancellations within a certain timeframe, while others might charge a fee for any changes made. Additionally, having a backup plan or alternative arrangements can provide peace of mind and ensure a smooth experience, regardless of the circumstances. Consider options such as travel insurance can help you be prepared for unexpected changes.


You can find a copy of Red Dirt 4WD Rentals Cancellation Policy HERE.  

Additional Surcharges to Watch Out For

Hidden fees and surcharges can quickly add up, turning a reasonably priced rental into an expensive ordeal. Being aware of these additional costs can help you budget more accurately.

Additional Driver Fees :

Adding another driver to the rental agreement may come with an extra charge. Check with the rental company beforehand and consider whether it’s necessary to add another driver to avoid incurring this fee.

Luckily, Red Dirt 4WD Rentals does not charge extra for additional drivers. Simply inform us of all the drivers details you wish to include in your vehicle booking.

Additional Mileage:

A few car rental companies limit how many kilometres you can travel daily. So read the terms and conditions properly before renting a car.

Luckily, all Red Dirt 4WD Rentals vehicles come with unlimited kilometres so there is no need to worry about the distance you can travel! 

Young Driver Fees:

If you’re under 25, you may be subject to additional fees. These can vary widely, so it’s worth checking with the rental company beforehand to understand the exact charges.

Red Dirt 4WD Rental hirers under 21 years of age are not permitted to drive. Red Dirt 4WD Rental hirers aged from 21-24 with incur a young driver fee. 

One Way Surcharge:

In instances where you pick up the vehicle at one location and drop it off at another, there may be a one-way surcharge added to your rental cost. This is typically to cover the cost of returning the vehicle back to its original location.

Red Dirt 4WD Rentals applies a one-way surcharge when you pick up the vehicle at one location and drop it off at another, covering the cost of returning the vehicle to its original location.

Late Pick Up Fee:

If you run late picking up your car, you might pay for the late pick-up fees. Hence, if you are flying to Australia, fill in the correct flight details when renting your car. If you are picking up the vehicle directly from the agency, make sure to reach on time and if there are any delays, inform them in advance.

If you run late picking up your car, there are no late pick-up fees at Red Dirt 4WD Rentals. However, we kindly ask that you call us if you’re running late so we can plan our time accordingly.

Late Return Fee:

Returning your vehicle after the agreed-upon time can result in late return fees. Make sure you know the specific policy and plan accordingly.

At Red Dirt 4WD Rentals, please let us know if you are running late. If you return the vehicle after our business hours on the day of return, you may be liable to pay for an extra day’s hire.

Out Of Hours Fee:

If you need to pick up or return your vehicle outside of the rental company’s regular business hours, you may be charged an out-of-hours fee. This is typically to cover the additional cost of having staff available during non-business hours.

At Red Dirt 4WD Rentals, we charge an out-of-hours fee if you intend to either pick up or return your vehicle outside of our standard business hours. These vary by location, so please see our business hours HERE.

Refuelling Fee:

If you do not return the car with a full tank or choose a pre-paid option, the car rental company will charge you the premium fuel price. Red Dirt 4WD Rental will charge a fuel service fee if the vehicle reads less than the level it was at the commencement of the Hire Period as specified in the relevant Vehicle Condition Report.

Cleaning Fee:

It’s essential to return the vehicle in the same condition as when you received it. Failure to do so may result in a cleaning fee being charged. Make sure to remove all trash and personal belongings before returning the vehicle. All Red Dirt 4WD Rental equipment needs to be returned in a clean condition. A cleaning agreement will be presenting to you at pick-up for a signature.

Claim Administrative Fee:

A claim administrative fee is a charge to help cover the costs of handling a claim. When a rental vehicle is involved in an incident like an accident, theft, or damage, the rental company has to take care of several administrative tasks and expenses. These can include paperwork, coordinating with insurance providers, processing repair estimates, managing vehicle downtime, and other related activities. The claim administrative fee is a standard practice in the rental industry and is typically charged to the renter responsible for the incident, as stated in the rental agreement. This fee helps cover the costs incurred by the rental company, ensuring they can continue providing quality vehicles and services to their customers.

While incidents are never ideal, understanding and accepting this fee as part of your rental agreement can help alleviate any surprises or misunderstandings in the unfortunate event of an incident.

Infringement Processing Fee:

An infringement processing fee is a charge imposed by rental car companies when a customer incurs any driving or parking fines while using the rental vehicle. This fee covers the administrative costs associated with processing these violations. When a traffic infringement, such as speeding, illegal parking, or toll evasion, is recorded by traffic authorities, it is typically issued against the vehicle rather than the driver. The rental car company, as the vehicle owner, receives the infringement notice and subsequently identifies the driver responsible during the rental period. The fee ensures that the administrative burden of handling these violations—verifying the driver’s information, settling the fines with the authorities, and notifying the customer—is adequately compensated.

It’s important for renters to be aware of this potential additional cost and to adhere to all local driving regulations to avoid any surprises on their final bill.

Administrative Fee:

An administrative fee refers to additional charges that cover the operational costs of managing the rental process. These fees can include costs associated with paperwork, processing reservations, and maintaining customer service operations.

At Red Dirt Rentals, the administrative fee ensures that all logistical aspects of your rental experience are efficiently managed. This fee helps cover the cost of providing comprehensive services, such as ensuring that your 4WD vehicle is well-maintained, clean, and ready for your adventure.

Optional Extras:

Rental companies may offer optional extras such as GPS navigation, child seats, or camping equipment for an additional fee. Consider whether you truly need these extras and their cost before adding them to your booking.

Find Red Dirt 4WD Rental list of optional extras HERE.


Renting a vehicle doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By considering your needs, understanding the terms and conditions, and being aware of potential additional costs, you can make an informed decision that enhances your travel experience.


For those looking for a reliable and efficient rental service, Red Dirt Rentals offers comprehensive options that cater to various travel needs. From expert curation to exclusive subscriber benefits, they provide a well-rounded service that ensures a hassle-free rental experience.


Ready to hit the road? Book your vehicle with Red Dirt Rentals today and enjoy a seamless travel experience.


Rental Information

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Relocation Driver Expression of Interest

Disclaimer : Images are indicative only. Actual vehicle may vary and is not able to be requested.

4WD & Off-road Safari Camper Package

Perth - Broome

07 May 2024 - 11 May 2024


Please note: Relocation deals are not available to book via our booking system. This offer is exclusively applicable to new bookings and cannot be combined with any other offers. All other standard Terms and Conditions are applicable.

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