I have never had this when renting in the UK, or on the continent. Perhaps in smaller countries, the logistics are different and the rental companies have a central disposal point. They would certainly wish to keep the paperwork secure as replacements are not cheap. £25 at present for the V5C vehicle registration certificate. Replacement owners manuals are hard to get as well.
Well, it took years but I got my answer… patience rewarded They just want to keep the keys together for later sale and they’d rather idiot-proof it.
And yes, with the newfangled smartkey devices it’s become one cumbersome mess of plastic and metal to handle; on the bright side it’s probably harder to misplace by sheer unwieldiness. Must be that what apparently sells are devices that work from your pocket, and that means you want a hefty battery and transmitter. Lukeinva: Ring/cable loop gets permanently crimped shut after the keys/fob/company tag are attached, often in a manner that requires breaking the crimp or cutting the cable in order to open it.
Hmm… business opportunity for a service station near the airport: detaching/reattaching rental keys? Or maybe a new device for sale through SkyMall…
For current model cars, yes. Each key (or fob) these days, is basically an enclosed chip that delivers a frequency paired specifically with its car, that allows you to unlock the doors and start the car.
Without the chip in the presence of the motor control unit, the car is dead.
Indeed! I rented a Ford Fusion from Alamo that had the two keys on one loop and with the huge keys all tied together it was a very bulky unit to put in my pocket. We had the car for two weeks and it was a pain in the arse every time we parked and walked through shopping areas, parks, etc that I had to have a shoulder bag for the keys because they wouldn’t comfortably fit in a pocket.
If the keys get lost, then you have to pay for two instead of one, and they will probably charge at least $200 each. Same thing if you lock them in the car then you are forced to call Pop-a-Lock. But what is really a shame is that they have removed all owner’s manuals from the glove compartment. We were riding along the interstate hwy at 70mph and an indicator light appeared. It was an icon and since our cars are older (which is why we rent new ones to go on trips) we didn’t know what the light meant. Searching the glove compartment and all other compartments, the owner’s manual was nowhere to be found. I thought it was maybe a sign to check for oil as the icon could have been a little dip stick. About 15 minutes later one car tire blew out and we almost lost control of the car and could have all been killed. This could have easily been avoided if Enterprise had left the manual in the car for our use and safety. Instead it is locked away somewhere for when they sell the car. This car only had 1000 miles on it and they wanted us to pay for the new tire, which was probably defective, and they wanted us to pay for the undamaged rim. Plus we had to take time out to go find a Firestone or Goodyear (according to their instructions) and purchase a brand new tire during our trip. But the manager decided to give us a break and we only had to pay $60 extra. But I think it is a horrible policy to not give the customers the benefit and use of the owner’s manual which has all kinds of important safety information & other misc information such as how to change a tire and where the various equipment is for drivers and what all indicator lights mean. Anyway, this particular manager was at least decent enough but if he wouldn’t have taken the majority of charges off, we would have taken them to court.
A friend lost our keys, possibly in the Gulf of Mexico, during a trip in May 2011. It was IIRC $298 to replace the two keys. This was a Dodge Charger. The keys were identical to my eyes so no valet key.
I want to say that I remember the National logo on the paperwork, but I’m guessing Avis, maybe Alamo.
Avis renter here, for business travel, and I usually get two keys cabled together.
I hate the bulky dual keys. I’ve wondered why they do this, for about two minutes. My solution is to cut the cable when I pick up the car and attach one key to the office building access fob, and that fits nicely in my pocket. When I return the car I reattach the keys with a thin split ring. I travel with wire cutters and a couple of spare split rings just for this purpose. It’s never been a problem. So far. And it’s worth the trouble to me go bring the wire cutters and split rings in my carry-on luggage.
I also just got back from a Budapest vacation and rented from Dollar, and only got one key. My brother rented from Hertz out of Munich and also only got one key. I thought it was a “Europe thing”, but apparently not based on others’ posts here.
I have nearly as good a theory, I think: They give two keys so there is uniformity in their fleet.
That is, they put two identical keys on the ring so that all rental cars have two keys on the ring, because some cars used to require two separate keys.
Back in the day (I speak of the 1980s and earlier), having only one key that fit all the locks on a car was a hallmark of foreign cars. American manufacturers used two different keys, and exactly what those keys opened differed from one manufacturer to the next.
For instance the Chryslers I owned used one for the doors an ignition, the other for the trunk and glovebox. One station wagon had a locking storage compartment in the floor of the cargo area (glovebox key) and a locking compartment for the spare tire and jack (ignition key).
The GM cars I have owned used the glovebox key for the trunk and doors, while the other key was for the ignition only.
I do not recall how Ford’s worked, but I recall them as being different from both of the above.
And my AMC used one key for the doors and trunk, the other for the ignition, and didn’t have a lock on the glovebox.
So maybe this is a holdover from when some cars needed two keys, and they just put duplicate keys on the one-key car’s rings so that all rings would have two (and one with a missing key would stand out).
I rented a car for a month and I cut the key chain using pliers to separate the key sets. I returned the car today with the two keys separated and the Avis employee went ballistic because I did that. I was shocked since I thought that I didn’t do anything wrong. I told her that I did it because I rented the car through my company corporate account and I needed to share the car with my co-workers (we can share the cars as long as they are employees). To top it off, I forgot to bring the plastic ID card with me so that added to her aggravation. She told me that the rules came from “up there” (from god?)and that she couldn’t not rent the car again until I bring back the ID card (I came back later with the ID). I called Avis and complained about her behavior and asked about their policy to keep the keys together. After their explanations, I concluded that this a 100% for their benefit and to make it easier to sell these car later or to charge you extra if you loose the two of them at the same time oh and something else about people driving cross country. Like other posters said but in my head this still doesn’t make sense to have such a bulky set of keys together. I fly with small purses. In the grand scheme of things this isn’t a big deal but needless to say that I ended up with a headache after my interesting exchange with the Avis employee. And I will cut the key ring again since I need to share the rental with my co-workers.
This question was addressed in a Q&A segment of the public radio program Marketplace earlier this month. The answer from a Hertz spokesperson, “We have about a half-million cars in our fleet. So logistically, it’s very difficult for us to store the second set somewhere and then match it up with the original car.”