Mauna Kea - renting a vehicle

Mauna Kea - renting a vehicle

Joined: June 20th, 2004, 7:42 am

November 18th, 2005, 4:36 pm #1

I will be in Hawaii in March and want to travel to the big island to do the highpoint. Is there a rental agency that permits its cars to be driven up Mauna Kea? I know that most DO NOT.
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Joined: March 31st, 2004, 3:19 pm

November 18th, 2005, 8:55 pm #2

There's another thread that discusses this extensively. The short answer is Harper's car rental. I was there this past March and they rent 4WD for the trip. When I was coming down there was a 2 WD vehicle going up without any problems, so it is possible to do it without the 4WD.

Good luck!
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Joined: June 20th, 2004, 7:42 am

November 19th, 2005, 6:12 am #3

I can't find this other thread.
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Joined: December 22nd, 2004, 5:54 pm

November 19th, 2005, 4:55 pm #4

Folks: I rented a 1994 Ford escort in Kona. It easily drove up there. Even back then half the road was paved. There was a road grader working on the upper 4 miles when I was there too. I did not tell the rental agency where I was going though. I read reports about needing a 4W car to get up there brfore I went, I suppose I would have been willing to walkup if the car died. Remeber Jakk took crampons with him just to make sure. The 4W drive thing is a complete MYTH.
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:07 pm

November 19th, 2005, 8:09 pm #5

I will be in Hawaii in March and want to travel to the big island to do the highpoint. Is there a rental agency that permits its cars to be driven up Mauna Kea? I know that most DO NOT.
Combine the tendency to update things s l o w l y with a very litiguous (sp?) society and what you get out here in Hawaii is that seemingly EVERYthing is illegal. Yet everyone does certain things anyway. This holds true for rental cars in forbidden areas. The rental agencies have rules from 20 years ago when the roads up to Mauna Kea were awful. Now the roads are just fine. Some of our freeways have more potholes.

When we did Mauna Kea last December, we even slipped up and started talking amongst ourselves about our Mauna Kea plans, right IN FRONT of the rental agent. She didn't care. I don't suggest you push your luck to that extent, but if i were you i wouldn't go to any lengths to rent anything special or from any particular company. Just get what's cheapest.

p.s. there is great adventurous hiking here on Oahu too, if your plans allow.
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Joined: August 27th, 2003, 12:01 am

November 20th, 2005, 8:00 pm #6

I will be in Hawaii in March and want to travel to the big island to do the highpoint. Is there a rental agency that permits its cars to be driven up Mauna Kea? I know that most DO NOT.
As others have noted, all cars can make it to the top. I did it with a regular sedan a couple yrs ago. The reason told to me was that the road is fine and litigation isn't a factor - it's the cost associated with towing should something happen. Just don't drive off the road and you'll be fine.

That said, don't bring a family of 5 with your car packed to the hilt with luggage - I saw an unfortunate minivan die on the road b/c they had what amounted to 1000+ extra lbs of luggage and humans in it. (Probably good they didn't make it, as going back down would have been much, much more dangerous in that!)

Also, the road to the S-most point (Ka Lae) is also "off limits." it was in much worse condition than the saddle or summit roads, but still fine and worth teh trip - truly a unique and beautiful place.

Not that you asked, but on Maui the road around the top NW portion is much dicier than anything on the Big Island and the way from Hana around the SE is, truthfully, VERY dicey in a sedan after periods of rain.
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Joined: March 31st, 2004, 3:19 pm

November 21st, 2005, 2:05 pm #7

I can't find this other thread.
I have difficulty finding threads from several years back too. Here's one, I believe there's others too.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/3897/thread/1026592934/

Bill S
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Joined: February 27th, 2004, 4:18 pm

November 21st, 2005, 5:05 pm #8

Combine the tendency to update things s l o w l y with a very litiguous (sp?) society and what you get out here in Hawaii is that seemingly EVERYthing is illegal. Yet everyone does certain things anyway. This holds true for rental cars in forbidden areas. The rental agencies have rules from 20 years ago when the roads up to Mauna Kea were awful. Now the roads are just fine. Some of our freeways have more potholes.

When we did Mauna Kea last December, we even slipped up and started talking amongst ourselves about our Mauna Kea plans, right IN FRONT of the rental agent. She didn't care. I don't suggest you push your luck to that extent, but if i were you i wouldn't go to any lengths to rent anything special or from any particular company. Just get what's cheapest.

p.s. there is great adventurous hiking here on Oahu too, if your plans allow.
While I can't attest to rental agencies in Hawaii, most rental agencies now seem to have some sort of tracking devices on their vehicles. They can see where you go, and disable a vehicle remotely if needed.

I learned this when I asked about a range-map that I received in Spokane, WA. They told me that "we will know if you drive out of the free area, and if you go into Canada [unauthorized], we can disable it."

Hmm..

-ben
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Joined: January 21st, 2004, 3:15 pm

November 21st, 2005, 7:12 pm #9

As others have noted, all cars can make it to the top. I did it with a regular sedan a couple yrs ago. The reason told to me was that the road is fine and litigation isn't a factor - it's the cost associated with towing should something happen. Just don't drive off the road and you'll be fine.

That said, don't bring a family of 5 with your car packed to the hilt with luggage - I saw an unfortunate minivan die on the road b/c they had what amounted to 1000+ extra lbs of luggage and humans in it. (Probably good they didn't make it, as going back down would have been much, much more dangerous in that!)

Also, the road to the S-most point (Ka Lae) is also "off limits." it was in much worse condition than the saddle or summit roads, but still fine and worth teh trip - truly a unique and beautiful place.

Not that you asked, but on Maui the road around the top NW portion is much dicier than anything on the Big Island and the way from Hana around the SE is, truthfully, VERY dicey in a sedan after periods of rain.
The road up Kea is steep, winding, gravel, and steep. Take it slow, use care, and don't let the car get away from you.

Stop in at the visitor center and take a look at the bulletin board there where they post photos of cars that slid off the turns and rolled down.

Be cool. Enjoy!

Also, do not try to run over to the highpoint from the parking lot like one person I know did (whoD shallA remainV namelessE), because it can really really tear your lungs apart.
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:10 pm

November 21st, 2005, 8:01 pm #10

While I can't attest to rental agencies in Hawaii, most rental agencies now seem to have some sort of tracking devices on their vehicles. They can see where you go, and disable a vehicle remotely if needed.

I learned this when I asked about a range-map that I received in Spokane, WA. They told me that "we will know if you drive out of the free area, and if you go into Canada [unauthorized], we can disable it."

Hmm..

-ben
Please circulate the names of these companies that do this, so we know who not to rent from!

Scott
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