Despite their decreasing popularity, there’s a handful of rental companies that still carry stick shift vehicles, including Budget, Payless, Thrifty, Turo, and Zipcar (see their policy details below). It’s hard to find a manual transmission car to rent because rental car companies prefer to carry vehicles that anyone can drive — manual cars become a liability when inexperienced stick shift drivers rent them out. If you do rent manual from one of these companies, make sure you’re confident in your ability to drive stick; if you damage the drive-train, you could be held liable. Note that some companies make you sign that you can drive manual or even prove that you can drive manual before renting. Here’s where to rent a manual car to learn or have fun or hey, sometimes even get better MPGs.
Where to Rent a Manual Car
We called the customer service hotlines of the companies on this list to verify that they carry manual transmission vehicles. Even for the companies that carry manual cars, though, not all locations may have them on hand.
Note that the cost to rent a manual transmission car will vary by location and type of rental, and there are often fees for additional drivers and for customers under the age of 25. In some states, including California, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, and Wisconsin, spouses are automatically counted as additional drivers for no extra fee. To learn more about the laws and rules surrounding additional drivers, see our article Can I Rent a Car for Someone Else? No but Here’s the Workaround.
1. Budget Car Rental
- Age restrictions: Though the minimum age requirement is 21, customers between 21 and 24 years of age must present a valid driver’s license along with a credit card (debit cards are not accepted). Customers in this age group are subject to a $27 per day undercharge. Fees may vary by state, and some states may allow a minimum age of 18.
- Additional drivers: Additional drivers must be 25+ and there is a fee of $13 per day, up to but not exceeding $65 for the entire rental period. This fee may vary by state, and some states do not have an additional driver fee.
- Source: Customer service, Budget FAQ page
- Find a car from Budget
2. Payless Car Rental
- Age restrictions: The minimum age requirement is 21. However, customers between the ages of 21 and 24 are required to pay a $25 per day surcharge.
- Additional drivers: Accepted as long as they meet the minimum age requirement, have a valid driver’s license, and a credit card in their own name. There is a $13 fee per day for additional drivers.
- Source: Customer service, Payless FAQ page
- Find a car from Payless Car Rental
3. Rent A Wreck
- Age restrictions: Some locations require a minimum age of 18, whereas others require a minimum age of 25. Those under 25 may still be able to rent with use of a credit card, and a per day surcharge may apply.
- Additional drivers: Additional drivers are acceptable, but there is usually a fee which varies by location.
- Source: Customer service, Rent A Wreck information page
- Find a car from Rent A Wreck
4. Thrifty Car Rental
- Age restrictions: The minimum age requirement is 21. However, 21 to 24-year-old customers are subject to “underage” fees, which vary by location.
- Additional drivers: Accepted as long as they meet the minimum age requirement and have a valid driver’s license. There also a fee (dependent on location) for any additional driver. If additional drivers are between the ages of 21 and 24, they will also be subject to underage fees.
- Source: Customer service, Thrifty Car Rental’s General Policies page
- Find a car from Thrifty
- Age restrictions: Drivers under the age of 30 may not rent “high value” (cars worth over $55,000) or “specialty” (cars 1990 or older) vehicles (though this is rarely enforced)
- Additional drivers: Additional drivers must be approved either by Turo or the owner of the vehicle, depending on whose insurance is covering the car. If Turo covers the car, then additional drivers can be approved by following instructions in the Turo app. If the owner’s insurance covers the vehicle, additional drivers must meet the requirements of that insurance.
- Source: Turo FAQ page, Turo Prohibited Uses page
- Find a car from Turo (You have to sign up to use Turo; use our referral link to sign up and get $25 off your first rental.)
- Age restrictions: Must be 21 or older with a valid driver’s license unless you’re in college, then you can rent at 18.
- Additional drivers: Zipcar allows additional drivers only if they are also Zipcar members. They must also be on your Zipcar account in order to drive any car you have rented.
- Source: Customer Service, Zipcar Help Center
- Find a car from Zipcar
Where Not to Where to Rent a Manual Car
In our search to find rental companies that offer manual transmission cars, we came across a number of ones that don’t:
- Advantage Rent A Car
- Alamo Rent A Car
- Avis Rent A Car
- Dollar Rent A Car
- E-Z Rent A Car
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car
- Fox Rent A Car
- Hertz Rent A Car
- National Car Rental
- Sixt Rent A Car
That’s rent a manual car to learn to have fun with. Manual transmission vehicles aren’t very popular in the US anymore, but they can still be found at a few car rental companies. The minimum age to rent a vehicle is typically 21, but drivers under the age of 25 are often charged an additional fee for being “underage.” Policies vary by company, but additional drivers are usually acceptable as long as they pay an additional fee, have a valid driver’s license, and meet any age requirements. If you’re planning to rent a manual transmission vehicle to learn how to drive stick, don’t. Rental car companies are trying to make money, not lose it on repairs caused by misuse of their vehicles. If these companies find you have damaged their vehicle — perhaps by using it to learn how to drive stick — they will charge you for the repairs.
Suggested Article: 20 Reasons We Should All Know How to Drive Stick