Most Requested Car Rental Locations in China

Legal Requirements for Renting a Car in China

Renting a car in China requires you to meet certain legal stipulations, intended to ensure safety and compliance with local regulations. Here's an overview of what you should know.

Firstly, driving licenses: foreign licenses are not accepted in China. To legally drive, you need either a Chinese driving license or an International Driving Permit (IDP) endorsed by the Chinese authorities. Getting a Chinese driving license involves passing a written exam, available in English and other languages. Remember that obtaining the license may require several weeks, so plan ahead if you intend to drive during your visit.

Another alternative is applying for a temporary driving permit, which typically lasts for three months. This option might be best for shorter stays or business trips, although it also involves application processes that require some time and paperwork. Note that some regions in China may not issue these temporary permits to foreigners, so check in advance.

Identification is also crucial when renting a car in China. Besides your valid driving permit, you'll need your passport, visa information, and a credit card to secure your rental agreement. Rental companies will typically photocopy these documents for their records.

If you're not fluent in Mandarin, consider hiring a local driving guide or translator. They can assist you in communicating with rental agencies and understanding any specific rental agreements or local traffic regulations. Some rental companies may even require you to hire a local guide if you don't speak Mandarin.

Before you sign a rental agreement, verify the rental company's terms and conditions, especially regarding mileage limits, late return fees, fuel charges, and acceptable driving areas. These can differ significantly between companies.

Renting a car in China involves careful preparation and thorough understanding of the legal requirements. Nonetheless, with the necessary documents, knowledge, and a responsible approach to driving, it can open the way to a unique and personal exploration of the vast and culturally rich country that is China.

Popular Car Rental Companies in China

Car rental in China is a growing industry, with both international and national companies offering services to residents and tourists alike. Among these, Rentacarscanner partners with a variety of car rental companies, serving as an effective comparison tool to ensure customers get the best deals.

Firstly, there are well-established international companies operating in China. Companies like Hertz, Avis, and Europcar are recognized worldwide for their reliability and extensive range of vehicles. These companies have a presence in major Chinese cities and airports, and they're often favored by foreigners for their English-speaking customer service and familiar booking procedures.

Hertz is known for its comprehensive services and high-quality vehicle selection. Avis stands out with its Avis Preferred service, a reward program offering priority service. Europcar offers a wide variety of vehicles at competitive prices, often a good choice for those on a budget.

On the national front, eHi Car Services and CAR Inc are two leading Chinese car rental companies. eHi Car Services offers a wide range of cars, from economy to luxury, and it has outlets in more than 200 cities across China. CAR Inc, on the other hand, focuses on environmentally friendly vehicles and offers a 'one-click' rental service through its user-friendly mobile app.

Rentacarscanner's comparison tool allows you to compare services, prices, and terms from these and other partners in real-time, helping you find the best deal according to your preferences and needs. The platform also provides user reviews, further assisting customers in making informed choices.

Navigating the car rental market in China can be complex due to the sheer number of options available. But with Rentacarscanner, users can easily compare and contrast offers from both national and international companies, ensuring they get the best possible car rental experience.

Tools and Tips for Driving in China

Driving in China can be a unique experience, especially for foreigners. It involves navigating dense traffic, understanding local driving etiquette, and interpreting road signs primarily in Chinese.

Here are some tools and tips that can make your driving experience smoother and safer:

GPS Navigation: Use a reliable GPS device or smartphone application that provides up-to-date maps and real-time traffic information. Google Maps may not work consistently due to local restrictions, so consider using Baidu Maps or AutoNavi, which provide detailed and accurate navigation in English.

Translation Apps: Communication can be challenging without knowledge of Mandarin. Utilize translation apps like Google Translate or Microsoft Translator to help you communicate or understand road signs.

Local Driving Guides: Hiring a local driving guide can be helpful, especially for longer trips. They can assist with language barriers, offer insights into local driving etiquette, and help navigate complex road networks.

Safety and Defensive Driving: Due to the sometimes unpredictable nature of Chinese traffic, prioritize safety and practice defensive driving. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles, anticipate actions of other drivers, and always be prepared for sudden maneuvers.

City and Highway Differences: Driving in urban and rural areas can vary significantly. City driving often involves dense traffic, while highways can be relatively free-flowing but may present challenges such as toll booths and service areas. Adjust your driving style accordingly.

Parking Apps: In major cities, finding parking can be tricky. Apps like Tingchebao can help you find available parking spaces and even allow you to pay for them via the app.

Understand Local Etiquette: In China, honking is common and is not usually considered rude. It's often used to indicate presence, especially around corners or in congested areas. Also, drivers might not strictly adhere to lane markings, so be aware of vehicles merging without much notice.

Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of important numbers such as local police, your car rental company, and roadside assistance.

Overall, patience, preparedness, and a good understanding of local rules and customs are essential when driving in China. Utilizing available tools and adopting the right approach can ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

China's Traffic Rules and Regulations

Driving in China, especially for foreigners, requires a solid understanding of the local traffic rules and regulations. Navigating China's road network can be a complex experience due to its immense size, diverse terrain, and the distinctive driving etiquette of its inhabitants. Here are some of the key regulations you should familiarize yourself with.

Right-hand Traffic: Like most countries, China follows the right-hand traffic rule, meaning you should keep to the right side of the road, and overtaking is usually on the left.

Speed Limits: Speed limits vary based on the type of road and the area. In general, urban roads have a speed limit of 50-70 km/h, non-urban roads 80 km/h, and expressways allow speeds of 100-120 km/h. Speed limits are often indicated by road signs, and failure to adhere to them can result in fines.

Seat Belts: The use of seat belts is mandatory for all passengers in a vehicle. Not using a seat belt can result in a fine.

Drinking and Driving: China has a zero-tolerance policy towards drinking and driving. The permitted blood alcohol content is 0%, and violations can lead to severe penalties, including heavy fines, detention, and driving license revocation.

Use of Mobile Phones: It's illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving in China. If you need to use your phone, it's recommended to use a hands-free kit.

Traffic Lights: The standard red-yellow-green traffic lights are used. In some areas, you may encounter countdown timers, with the numbers decreasing to zero before the light changes.

Road Signs: Most road signs in China are in Chinese. Some major cities and highways may have signs in both Chinese and English. Understanding basic road signs can be very helpful.

Driving in High-Pollution Days: Some cities in China, especially Beijing, might impose driving restrictions during high-pollution days. These restrictions might be based on the last digits of your vehicle’s license plate.

Pedestrian Rights: Pedestrians usually have the right of way, and drivers are expected to yield to them at crossings.

Emergency Vehicles: It's essential to give way to emergency vehicles, such as police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks, by moving to the side of the road.

Lastly, always carry your driving license, passport, vehicle registration, and insurance documents when driving. You may need to present these during routine traffic checks.

Adherence to these traffic rules and regulations will not only ensure a safe driving experience but also help you avoid unnecessary fines or complications during your car rental journey in China.

Toll Roads in China

China's vast network of highways and expressways often includes toll roads. Understanding how these work and what to expect can make your journey smoother and avoid unexpected costs.

Most expressways in China, especially in urban areas, are tolled to manage traffic flow and fund maintenance. The fee usually depends on the distance traveled and the type of vehicle. For regular passenger cars, tolls can range from 0.3 to 0.6 CNY per kilometer, though rates can vary.

When entering a toll road, you'll receive a ticket that records your entry point. You'll need to present this ticket at the exit toll booth to calculate your fee. It's important not to lose this ticket as you might be charged the maximum possible toll for that highway if you can't present it at the exit.

Most toll booths accept payment through cash and popular Chinese payment platforms like Alipay and WeChat Pay. Increasingly, booths are equipped with electronic toll collection (ETC) systems, allowing for contactless payments and quicker passage. Some rental cars might come with an ETC device, but it's worth checking with your rental company and understanding how the fees will be charged.

Toll roads are generally well-maintained and less congested, offering faster and more comfortable travel compared to free alternatives. However, during national holidays, toll roads can become busy, and you may experience delays at toll booths due to the high volume of traffic.

Remember to consider toll costs when planning your journey, particularly for long-distance travel. Toll fees can add up, and knowing what to expect can help you manage your budget effectively. Some GPS systems or navigation apps can provide estimated toll costs for your route, which can be a useful planning tool.

An Overview of Electric Car Rental in China

With China being one of the global leaders in electric vehicle (EV) adoption, the electric car rental market has seen substantial growth, providing sustainable and technologically advanced options for both residents and tourists.

Several car rental companies, both international and local, offer electric vehicles as part of their fleet. Prominent brands like Tesla, BYD, and Nio are commonly available. The choice of electric cars ranges from compact city cars to high-end luxury vehicles, catering to various preferences and budgets.

Renting an electric car in China follows a similar process to renting a conventional vehicle. However, additional considerations are required due to the unique characteristics of electric vehicles. Firstly, familiarize yourself with the operation of an electric car, particularly aspects like charging, regenerative braking, and range management.

The charging infrastructure in China has rapidly developed in recent years, with an increasing number of charging stations available in both urban and rural areas. Some navigation apps, like AutoNavi or Baidu Maps, can show the location of nearby charging stations. Be aware that charging times vary based on the type of charger used and the specific vehicle.

To pay for charging, you'll usually need a Chinese payment app like Alipay or WeChat Pay. In some cases, the car rental company may provide a pre-paid charging card. It's also worth checking if the rental company offers any partnerships with charging network providers, which could reduce charging costs.

Electric cars are subject to the same traffic rules and regulations as conventional vehicles. However, certain cities may offer incentives for EV drivers, such as exemptions from license plate restrictions or free parking in certain areas.

What to Do in Case of an Accident or Breakdown

Despite your best efforts to drive safely, accidents or breakdowns can occur. Here's what you should do if you find yourself in such a situation while driving a rental car in China.

In the event of an accident, firstly, ensure the safety of all individuals involved. If anyone is injured, call for medical assistance immediately. Chinese emergency services can be reached at 120 for an ambulance and 110 for the police.

It's essential to notify the police regardless of the severity of the accident. They will file an accident report, which is crucial when dealing with insurance claims. Do not move your vehicle until the police arrive unless it's causing a significant traffic obstruction or poses a safety hazard.

Remember to document the accident scene. Take photographs or videos capturing the damages, vehicle positions, and any contributing road conditions. This can be useful evidence when dealing with insurance companies or legal matters.

Exchange contact and insurance details with the other party involved in the accident. This includes the driver's name, address, phone number, license plate number, and insurance company details.

Contact your car rental company as soon as possible. Inform them about the accident, follow their instructions, and ask about the process for filing an insurance claim.

In case of a breakdown, ensure your safety and those with you by moving your vehicle off the road, if possible. Use hazard lights and a warning triangle to alert other drivers of your situation.

Contact your rental company's roadside assistance service, if available. If not, you may need to call a local towing company. Some car rental companies may have partnerships with local garages or roadside assistance providers, so ensure to ask about this when renting your vehicle.

Always remember that patience, composure, and communication are key when handling such situations. Understanding the process and being prepared will significantly alleviate stress and ensure a more smooth resolution.

Return Process and Additional Charges

Returning your rental car in China involves a few key steps to ensure a smooth process and avoid any unnecessary additional charges. Below, we delve into what to expect during the return process and potential extra costs you may encounter.

Firstly, make sure to return the car on time. The return time will be specified in your rental agreement. Late returns could result in additional charges, usually calculated as an extra day's rental. Some companies might provide a grace period, but it's advisable not to rely on this.

Ensure to return the car to the agreed-upon location. This is typically the rental office or a specific drop-off point. If you plan to drop off the vehicle at a different location than the pick-up point, check whether your rental company allows this and whether it incurs a one-way fee.

Before returning the car, check it for any new damages. If there are any, report them to the rental company. It's advisable to take photographs as a record. Depending on your insurance coverage, you may be liable for repair costs.

Cleanliness can also impact the return process. While normal wear is expected, the car should be reasonably clean. Excessive dirt or mess could result in cleaning fees.

Refuel the car according to your rental agreement. Some companies operate a 'full to full' policy, meaning you need to refill the tank before returning the car. Otherwise, you'll be charged a refueling fee, which can be significantly more than the regular fuel cost.

If your rental car is an electric vehicle, the company might require a certain level of charge. Check these conditions beforehand to avoid additional charges.

Tolls, parking fines, or traffic violations incurred during the rental period are usually the customer's responsibility. If these are charged to the rental company, they will typically pass these costs onto you, possibly with an administrative fee.