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Lyon car hire with winter tyres

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi

Hope this is the right forum for this.

Staying at friend's home in Albertville just after Xmas and need to hire a car from Lyon Airport and am really stuck on getting snow gear. Here's the long version (sorry):

We'll be commuting Albertville > Crest-Voland every day (but free accommodation, so...) and I've been scouring the forums for car equipment info as I've never driven to the Alps in snow – yikes.

So from very helpful posts elsewhere, it looks like winter tyres are vital, snow chains secondary (good, I've never put them on, although I'm scaring myself reading the thread about idiots who can't put on chains and think winter tyres will be OK Shocked ).

Problem: none of the Lyon St Exupery hire places via Skyscanner and google searches are coming up with tyres as an option. From other great posts I've got the info about the new winter tyre/chain law which applies to Albertville and Crest-Voland but not to Lyon. Maybe that's the trouble?

Much hanging on the phone, web chats and emails has elicited very little. Europcar do not do winter tyres but would fit snowchains for £130 for 9 days (this is from 26/12)! Hertz say only their fancy cars come with winter tyres. They could do me a Ford C-Max for £2k. Er.

Is there a trick to this? Thanks!

bP
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Fly to Geneva and hire a car from there if you have the option to change flight plans - winter tyres included
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Enterprise do winter tyres
Be prepared to pay through the nose for them
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@BaobabPowder, cannot give you a definite answer about the snow tyres from Lyon, but they do seem to come as standard from Geneva.
but with regards to the chains, you will be able to buy them in Albertville to fit the car, there is a "halfords" type shop just by the large Geant supermarket (they will have chains as well). you just match up the tyre size in store to the required chains. they will be massively cheaper than £130, just leave them with your hosts at the end of your holiday, for them to use if they can or Ebay!!!

am sure there are Youtube tutorials to show you how to fit chains.

when i drive out, i have chains in the vehicle and practice a couple of times before we go on holiday, but have not needed them to date.

Though to be honest, i worked seasons before and have experience of driving in snow and fitted the chains a couple of times on the minibuses

they will not be fitted by Europcar, but will be in the boot of the car at an extra cost.
mainly, because the chances of needing them on the autoroute from the airport would be highly unlikely.
you do not leave them on the wheels, when they are not required, as they knacker up on bare tarmac.
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You book the car you fancy. When you get to the airport car hire building at LYS you ask if they've got one with winter tyres. They may have - they did last time I flew into LYS, but you will probably pay extra. You ask the price. If you're happy with the price, then you go for it. If not you ask for the price for snow chains. If it's less than about 80Euros you go for it. If it's more than that you decline everything and demand the car you've booked. Then go to the nearest supermarket and buy a set there.

Whatever, when you get to your car look at the tyres and write down the tyre size, and look for the 3PSF markings. Regardless of what the hire desk says check. If you've paid for winters and they aren't marked, go back and complain - they've diddled you. It's also entirely possible you'll get a car with winter tyres on even if you declined their upsell - depends what they've got available.

There are things that can go wrong with this strategy - like they give you a car which won't take snow chains, or the supermarkets have sold out of the common snow chain sizes due to a recent snowmageddon. However, as long as you book a small ish car that's unlikely.
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@ruddster Thanks, but train tickets booked... (trying to be eco-ish... rolling eyes that'll teach me)

@mr.egg Great, will give them a go. See if they can beat £2k from Hertz...

@terrygasson that's brilliant, and reassuring. I got the impression from reading through other posts that snow chains with summer tyres were very much less desirable than only winters, but the Halfords in Albertville scheme sounds good.
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There's the "you'll die if you do anything less than have full winter tyres" view and there's the practical "if you don't mind a bit of hassle" view. For the latter @terrygasson seems pretty on the mark.
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There's the "you'll die if you do anything less than have full winter tyres" view and there's the practical "if you don't mind a bit of hassle" view. For the latter @terrygasson seems pretty on the mark.
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@BaobabPowder, There is a bus from Albertville to Crest-Voland and back with times that match the start and end of the ski day.
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@BaobabPowder,

And double check when collecting the car it has winter tyres!
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Thanks @Mr.Egg, I'm now wondering if I can de-book the trains and try Geneva. But also @terrygasson, the snow chain option sounds a possibility... many thanks, all.
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Mr.Egg wrote:
Enterprise do winter tyres
Be prepared to pay through the nose for them


Zoinks! Opel Corsa for 9 days with Enterprise, inc tyres, £943! you weren't kidding about the nose...
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Sorry @Judwin, forgot to thank you for this reply – this also looks like a good strategy.
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BaobabPowder wrote:
Sorry @Judwin, forgot to thank you for this reply – this also looks like a good strategy.


One other problem with the strategy is your date - 26th Dec. It's a Sunday, and worse the Sunday after Christmas. If you're relying on picking up supermarket snow chains you'd best check any supermarkets are going to be open, and if they are what the opening times are.

On the other hand, since you're (presumably) only going as far as Albertville that day, then picking up chains there on Monday morning shouldn't be too difficult (as terrygasson suggests).
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If you can't get winter tyres, no need to panic, but DO make sure you know how to put snow chains on. It's not rocket science but there's a knack to it, it's messy, and you need to do it fast before your fingers freeze. And you absolutely must have chains even if you have winter tyres - though you'll need them less often.

The suggestion from @rjs about the daily bus service is a good idea. It will save parking problems (which will not be trivial at New Year) and if it snows during the ski day when you're in Crest Voland clearing the car will be a pain. And the journey from Albertville to CV is not entirely straightforward, especially if the Gorge d'Arly is closed - your local friends will be able to advise.
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pam w wrote:
If you can't get winter tyres, no need to panic, but DO make sure you know how to put snow chains on. It's not rocket science but there's a knack to it, it's messy, and you need to do it fast before your fingers freeze. And you absolutely must have chains even if you have winter tyres - though you'll need them less often.



If you are renting a car and only get/buy one pair of chains, make sure you know which set of wheels to put the chains on
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Thanks @pam w and @Judwin. The idea is to get to Albertville on the 26th and get into family lessons early on Monday in Crest-Voland, so maybe the bus is a good thought.

Prob won’t need chains between airport and Albertville.

Looked up hire from Geneva but even there it looks expensive and not easy to specify Swiss side from aggregator sites like Skyscanner. I simply hadn’t realised it would be this tricky!
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[quote="BaobabPowder"Looked up hire from Geneva but even there it looks expensive and not easy to specify Swiss side from aggregator sites like Skyscanner. I simply hadn’t realised it would be this tricky![/quote]

It is very expensive this year. Rentalcars.com lets you see the Swiss side quite easily, its GVA as opposed to the French side GGV.
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BaobabPowder wrote:
Mr.Egg wrote:
Enterprise do winter tyres
Be prepared to pay through the nose for them


Zoinks! Opel Corsa for 9 days with Enterprise, inc tyres, £943! you weren't kidding about the nose...


on the brightside.... 50% cheaper than hertz Idea
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ster wrote:
pam w wrote:
If you can't get winter tyres, no need to panic, but DO make sure you know how to put snow chains on. It's not rocket science but there's a knack to it, it's messy, and you need to do it fast before your fingers freeze. And you absolutely must have chains even if you have winter tyres - though you'll need them less often.



If you are renting a car and only get/buy one pair of chains, make sure you know which set of wheels to put the chains on


If you are into the strategy of buy chains be aware that more cars than expected can't be mounted with chains ! It's not just a question of size of the tyres..... In that case, the cost for buy "chains" that can fit your vehicule can be very expensive and more than that almost impossible to find in a shop.

Lyon is a town, the 3rd largest in France. The majority of car rented from the airport are to drive around or in the city. This is why it's very difficult to find a rental company putting winter tyres on their vehicules. It's much more easier to find a rental company that will provide chains to the vehicule you are renting for an uplift in term of prices.

I use to rent from Lyon or Geneva to go skiing. From Geneva during winter, all rented cars (at least on Swiss part of the airport) have winter tyres. But believe me, even with winter tyres, I had to put on chains at least 2 times just to be able to join the resort (Praz de Lys). And renting a car in Geneva is ways expensive than Lyon.....
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FWIW the Lyon - Albertville bit should be ok, as in the holidays, the autoroutes are ploughed and gritted frequently.
The road from Albertville - CV is normally fine as far as Usine (what the kids call it cos of the big factory), put as @pam w, says the Gnarly Gorge can be challenging in the depths of Winter.
@rjs, idea of the bus is a great idea, but - and here's the gotcha... your car will still need mandatory winterisation as all major roads in Savoie are subject to the new Winter driving rules that came in 2 weeks ago.
https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/auvergne-rhone-alpes/savoie/chambery/pneus-neige-obligatoires-en-savoie-toutes-les-communes-et-toutes-les-routes-concernees-2272414.html
This means that at the very least you'll be required to have chains / socks, ideally you'd have Winter tyres, and for extra peace of mind both.
Were I in your shoes, I would hire a car and buy a set of chains or compliant snow socks.
People will come along and say don't get socks because they're rubbish, and I used to be a naysayer, but I live out here all year round, I drive on snow for around 100 days a year, and when I have deployed socks, they have always been fine. They don't last as long as chains, but you only need them maybe a couple of times during your stay, and they are MUCH easier to fit than cheapo-chains. You get some fancy-fit self tightening chains, but these are expensive and still harder to fit than socks - chains will give better grip, but like I say, I have never had a problem with socks.
The other thing to do is hire a car from somewhere like Europcar Albertville.
An Opel Corsa from Dec 24th for 10 days is 314 Eur. You can get chains for 147 Eur for the 10 days, or Socks for 10 Eur for 10 days.
Why not get the bus to Albertville, pick up the car there, pay 10 euros extra for the socks (so that you're legal), then get some Chains from Geant?
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Thanks @thierryd, that's good to know. I have now found a Budget car via GVA. Thanks @ster for the airport codes, that was handy. This car is £540 which weirdly now does seem like a billy bargain. May even be worth trying to cancel the trains and rebook with flights to Swiss Geneva. Thanks so much for all the help here. What a palaver. Good job the skiing is worth it NehNeh
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BaobabPowder wrote:
Thanks @Mr.Egg, I'm now wondering if I can de-book the trains and try Geneva. But also @terrygasson, the snow chain option sounds a possibility... many thanks, all.


Another option is snow socks:
1. Cheaper
2. A LOT easier to fit
3. No issues with narrow clearance in some cars
4. A lot more practical on a lightly dusted road or snow-tarmac-snow situation

If you can find out the wheel size in advance buy them here and bring with you. These a re good (make sure you pick the right size) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Silknet-Snow-Socks-Awarded-Universal/dp/B009HQFC1U/?tag=amz07b-21

needless to say they are a lot more portable than chains, so you can just save them for future trips


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Fri 12-11-21 10:17; edited 1 time in total
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As I mentioned on a parallel thread, and @thierryd says, just because you can buy chains to fit a stated tyre size it does not mean they are OK to use on a specific vehicle. Many SUVs, 4x4s and AWD models; performance saloons, coupés and estates; and even some 'ordinary' models, don't have enough room between the back of the tyre and the wheel arch, suspension and brake pipes for the chains to rotate safely. And if you look in the Owners Manual you find that it says that chains aren't certified for the wheels fitted to that model.

The very reason why your hire car doesn't come included with chains may be because it can't accommodate them. So going out and buying some off your own bat is a risky strategy: if the ones you bought cause damage to the vehicle then not only will it spoil your holiday but you'll be liable for all the consequential costs of repair and loss of rental revenue while being repaired.

Yes, I know, if your booking is slated as a 1.8 Mondeo L, then the odds are very high that its wheels can take chains. But most rental companies explicitly say they can't guarantee exactly what car you're going to get - just a category, and the stated vehicle is just an example. And I'd be very surprised if they would guarantee the specific tyre size of the car they're going to give you (if they even know). Last time we hired from GVA my booking for a Fiesta 1.4 got uprated to an almost-new BMW 120d X1 xDrive. While I was very pleased with the upgrade, I'm pretty certain it was at least in part because that's all they had left.


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Fri 12-11-21 10:56; edited 7 times in total
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@BaobabPowder, Drive to Les Saisies, much simple than Crest-Voland, same ski area?
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@LaForet, As Europcar offer chains as an extra (EUR 147), I think there's a pretty good chance that the wheels / tyres will be capable of taking them Smile
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WindOfChange wrote:
@LaForet, As Europcar offer chains as an extra (EUR 147), I think there's a pretty good chance that the wheels / tyres will be capable of taking them Smile


Correct they will provide you a rental car with their chains.... The problem is if you rent a car then you go shopping to buy chains....
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+1 Which was @thierryd's and my point.

I've been assigned a car at both Alpine and US hire agencies and been told that it doesn't come with chains. The rep usually doesn't provide a meaningful explanation. The inference is often that they've just run out of chain sets. The reality may be that it physically can't accommodate them. So if you then go out and buy chains to fit the tyre size you may have a problem of the sort described: you put them on because they're mandated or conditions demand it, damage the suspension/brakes/steering and end up paying the cost of recovery, repair, and lost rentals.

So the socks option is much better in terms of avoiding this. But the challenge is that few rental companies will be able to guarantee the exact car in advance, let alone the size of tyre. So you either buy on an assumption (and possibly have to discard them), or have to search 'round for some after you pick up (spending extra time in transit and possibly not being able to find any). The other challenge is that socks merely equate to winter tyres - if chains are mandatory/necessary, and you don't have them, then you're stuffed.

Obviously, if you can rent chains, that's great. But if you can't, then the point we're making is that if, on the day, for some reason you're offered a car without chains, then don't assume you can just buy some: because what you're being offered may not be capable of using them, even if they fit the tyres.


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Fri 12-11-21 19:26; edited 4 times in total
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For application of whichever traction device used, gloves like these work well https://www.zafety.co.uk/hi-viz-thermal-cold-weather-work-glove-latex-palm-blue-orange/ as they grip well even cold and wet.

Low enough cost to buy a few pairs, leave a pair in your own car with the spare wheel to, if you have one Very Happy
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thierryd wrote:
WindOfChange wrote:
@LaForet, As Europcar offer chains as an extra (EUR 147), I think there's a pretty good chance that the wheels / tyres will be capable of taking them Smile


Correct they will provide you a rental car with their chains.... The problem is if you rent a car then you go shopping to buy chains....


Right, but if you book your car in Albertville, and do not prebook the chains they can't allocate you a car incapable of taking them as winterization is mandatory in all of Savoie.

https://www.caradisiac.com/pneus-hiver-obligatoires-la-liste-des-departements-et-communes-concernes-191554.htm

At the hire desk you ask does it have winter tyres?
Depending on the response - can I rent chains? When they say YES - ( which they have to if it does not have winter tyres. ) You can then choose from renting their chains for 147 EUR or their Socks for 10 EUR.

Where winterization is not mandatory, then yes I agree 100%, they have you over a barrel as they can allocate you car that does not take chains if you have not booked it, but in Savoie they cant' rent you a car that is not winterized.
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WindOfChange wrote:
thierryd wrote:
WindOfChange wrote:
@LaForet, As Europcar offer chains as an extra (EUR 147), I think there's a pretty good chance that the wheels / tyres will be capable of taking them Smile


Correct they will provide you a rental car with their chains.... The problem is if you rent a car then you go shopping to buy chains....


Right, but if you book your car in Albertville, and do not prebook the chains they can't allocate you a car incapable of taking them as winterization is mandatory in all of Savoie.

https://www.caradisiac.com/pneus-hiver-obligatoires-la-liste-des-departements-et-communes-concernes-191554.htm

At the hire desk you ask does it have winter tyres?
Depending on the response - can I rent chains? When they say YES - ( which they have to if it does not have winter tyres. ) You can then choose from renting their chains for 147 EUR or their Socks for 10 EUR.

Where winterization is not mandatory, then yes I agree 100%, they have you over a barrel as they can allocate you car that does not take chains if you have not booked it, but in Savoie they cant' rent you a car that is not winterized.


Right but....... winterization is mandatory from now but will be enforced only in 2022 (normal usage in France and I am french....). So I will not bet on this in France for 2021.
I will not bet also on someone at a counter saying YES you can mount chains on this car...
And by the way, winter tyres are not suffisent in all circumtances as chains are....
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@thierryd, so you're suggesting that Europcar would put profit ahead of safety and legality, and rent out vehicles that did not meet the legal minimum safety requirement, because they think they wont get caught?
Maybe like you say, that's a French thing.
I think they'd be royally screwed in the event of an accident - knowingly renting out illegally equipped vehicles.

Also the bit about chains being sufficient in all circumstances - what a load of bollox.
If the snow is so deep you car is bellying out chains won't help you either.
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WindOfChange wrote:
@thierryd, so you're suggesting that Europcar would put profit ahead of safety and legality, and rent out vehicles that did not meet the legal minimum safety requirement, because they think they wont get caught?


Just read the french goverment site for this: https://www.gouvernement.fr/les-chaines-ou-les-pneus-hiver-sont-obligatoires-en-zones-montagneuses-en-periode-hivernale

"Une tolérance sera admise toutefois en 2021 par les pouvoirs publics. « Les éventuels manquements à l'obligation de détenir des chaînes à neige dans son coffre ou d'équiper son véhicule de pneus hiver dans les départements concernés ne seront pas sanctionnés cet hiver », précise le ministère de l’Intérieur qui ajoute que « des opérations d'information et de pédagogie accompagneront la mise en place de ce dispositif dans les prochaines semaines".

Rapid translation: "A tolerance will however be allowed in 2021 by the public authorities. "Any failure to comply with the obligation to carry snow chains in the boot or to fit winter tyres in the departments concerned will not be penalised this winter", says the Ministry of the Interior, which adds that "information and education operations will accompany the introduction of this system in the coming weeks".

And for the necessity of chains instead of winter tyres, you can believe my own experience trying to reach a resort with just winter tyres..... Without the chains I mounted on top of winter tyres it was not possible....
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@thierryd, Sorry to hear about your bad experience with winter tyres.
My landy 110 manages just fine without chains, same for the freelander, my duster just fine, my surabu forester was just fine too. I did fit chains to the FWD transfer vans I drove sometimes, in the middle of the night up to Val d'Isere, or Avoriaz but if you have a little hatchback with low clearance, then chains don't help when the wheels are off the road.
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Really good points @LaForet and @thierryd, regarding damaging the hire car with chains. Particularly as I've never used them. That could be nasty.

Thanks @ski3 for the gloves idea – that's at least one affordable bit of gear to get in any case!

Albertville itself is a possible for picking up the car, as @WindOfChange suggests. I had a webchat with Europcar about their Albertville branch and they said they don't do winter tyres but would do snow chains for £130 (for 9 days). It had just never occurred to me that cars wouldn't come with winter tyres! So that's me learned.

We did have quite a schedule – arrive on train around 18.30 on 26/12, go to friend's house in Albertville, start lessons 10.30 on 27/12 in Crest-Voland (after hiring gear, picking up passes, so quite a bit of admin). The lessons would be pretty inflexible, they just do a week at that time and it soon gets very complicated if we're adding extra stops to bolt on solutions... still, thanks for all the info here. It's really helpful.
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WindOfChange wrote:
@thierryd, so you're suggesting that Europcar would put profit ahead of safety and legality, and rent out vehicles that did not meet the legal minimum safety requirement, because they think they wont get caught?
Maybe like you say, that's a French thing.
I think they'd be royally screwed in the event of an accident - knowingly renting out illegally equipped vehicles.

Also the bit about chains being sufficient in all circumstances - what a load of bollox.
If the snow is so deep you car is bellying out chains won't help you either.


My understanding the French rules are area specific.
Lyon would be outside this area, so would not need to follow the rules.
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Mr.Egg wrote:
My understanding the French rules are area specific.
Lyon would be outside this area, so would not need to follow the rules.


I think they're both talking about hiring in Albertville (which is in the new area). Just a question of how the companies interpret a law that isn't yet 100% enforced.
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Quote:

And for the necessity of chains instead of winter tyres, you can believe my own experience trying to reach a resort with just winter tyres..... Without the chains I mounted on top of winter tyres it was not possible....

My own experience - which is extensive - would back up what @thierryd says. Not only have I chosen to put chains on top of good winter tyres because of a serious loss of traction, I have also had to put them on by the police, stopping ALL traffic from Albertville along the Beaufort Valley and insisting we put chains on. Anyone without chains was sent back down to Albertville, winter tyres or no winter tyres. That was on a very snowy day - but they happen! And as it happens, I was glad of the chains just a mile later when an HGV, stuck on the carriageway, forced me onto the verge to pass - there is no way I'd have got through that deep snow without chains. Telling people that if they have winter tyres they don't need to carry chains is simply irresponsible.

If I had to choose between a car with winters and no chains - or summer tyres and chains - I'd reluctantly choose the latter and be prepared to put chains on at the first sign of loss of traction. My tip - drive with the drivers window down and put the radio off; you are much more aware of a loss of traction that way.

In my experience cars from the Swiss side of GVA airport do have chains, without extra charge. But - also in my experience - they are not always the right size. The French side is a whole different story.
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BaobabPowder wrote:
Mr.Egg wrote:
My understanding the French rules are area specific.
Lyon would be outside this area, so would not need to follow the rules.


I think they're both talking about hiring in Albertville (which is in the new area). Just a question of how the companies interpret a law that isn't yet 100% enforced.


I would think they would fall in line like other countries they operate in.
Personally, I avoid france for the ballache it is for the final leg.
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@BaobabPowder - I'm unsure how you're getting to LYS/GVA - mention of both trains and planes.

If you're going by train, I'd just stay on it to Albertville and hire a car there. The traffic predictions for Dec 26th aren't looking too clever between 10am and 10pm:

https://www.autoroutes.fr/en/traffic-forecast.htm
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