ending your zipcar reservation

Finding and unlocking your nearest Zipcar

With over 3,000 cars and vans in London, it's important to know how to find your nearest vehicle.
ending your zipcar reservation

Finding Zipcar

Finding your nearest Zipcar is easier than you think. If you’re in and about London you’re will likely have seen a Zipcar near your office, house or parked up in the street but there are 2 ways of finding your chosen Zipcar and 2 ways of unlocking them..

How to find a Zipcar using the app

Unlock your phone. Open the Zipcar app. If you’re signed in already it will immediately show the vehicles around you. If not just sign in and the map screen should appear. You will see both blue and green cars if you’re based in London and only green if you’re based outside of London. The blue cars are our one way service Flex, these can be held for 15 minutes free any longer will incur a small charge. The green cars are our round trip cars, these are picked up and returned to designated bays. If you have a reservation already just click on 'my trips' at the bottom of the screen and it will show you were the car is and how to get there.  If at this stage you’re struggling to find your car, you can also honk the horn but please use this with caution as this can be alarming to passers-by and cause disturbances late at night. 

How to find a Zipcar using your browser

Whether you’re at a computer or using your web browser on a device you can find your nearest car. Simply log into your account, set your location and browse the vehicles in your set location.  You’re only able to book round trip cars via your browser, so you won’t be able to see any flex cars. 

Unlocking your Zipcar

If you’re using the app you can unlock the car through the app, the first time we did it, it blew our minds. All you need to do is find your reservation in the app and then click on unlock. the keys are found in the glovebox, as pictured below.

keys in glove box



What to do if you're running late

If you're running late or would like more time out and about it's really easy to extend your Roundtrip reservation. For Flex there's no such thing as being late, just make sure you drop the car in our Zipzone! The first step is to extend your booking (take a look below on how to do this). If you can't, then simply call our Member Services team on 0333 240 9000 as soon as you can! The more time we have to notify any members affected the better.

Extend your booking via SMS

Getting out of town in a Zipcar

Extend your booking via SMS

You can activate SMS notifications via your Member Web section (when you log into the website). You can then choose which alerts you wish to receive. Once set up you can receive reminder messages 36 hours and/or 1 hour before your reservation, and 30 minutes before the booking is due to end. Additionally we will text you if someone makes a reservation directly after yours, meaning you are no longer available to extend. You will need to have two-way texting enabled. Look for the  symbol here to set this up. To extend simply text us how much you'd like to extend by in the format of ext 30m (means 30 minutes) or ext 1h (means 1 hour). For more details please see our Help Centre. 

Extending via the app

Extend your booking in the Zipcar app

Extending via the app

You can extend by selecting the date and time boxes to the right of ‘Ends’ and selecting a new time (and date if desired) from the scroll wheel.  A new estimated cost will be displayed for your changed reservation.  If you are happy to make these changes, just select ‘Change Reservation’. If the extension is successful you will see the new reservation times highlighted in orange, along with a message at the top of the screen saying ‘Reservation Updated’, as shown in the image above.

If you can’t see the new time highlighted in orange there is a good chance the reservation did not extend properly. Try and make the extension again but if you continue to have trouble please use the text extension service or call through to Member Services.

If you are unable to extend your reservation and may be late returning the vehicle, please call us on 0333 240 9000 straight away. Please note that returning the vehicle late will result in late charges being applied. 

Late fees - and why we have them

If you return your car late, you will be charged late fees starting at £35. Timely returns are really important in the world of car clubs. If someone returns a car late, then the next member can't start their reservation on time, so you can see why we need to have late fees. We never want to be mean, we're just trying to make sure that members get their cars when they need them. But it goes without saying - most importantly, drive carefully, there's no need to break the law or risk your safety to get back on time!

Ways to avoid late fees

Zipcar Roundtrip in London

Ways to avoid late fees

When you book your car, make sure you allow enough time for your entire trip. Think about travel time (there and back), potential traffic and the amount of time you'll spend at your destination. Go ahead and book a little extra if you're not sure (before someone else does!).

If at any time during your reservation you realise that you won't be able to get the Zipcar back on time, you can always try to extend your reservation. If no one's waiting for the car, it's all yours (once the extension is confirmed). If someone is waiting for the car, we will need to make other arrangements for them, so the sooner you can let us know, the better.

What if I'm only a couple of minutes late?

Zipcar keys in glove box

What if I'm only a couple of minutes late?

If you've returned late by a few minutes, don't chance it! Call Member Services straight away, we can check the exact time you finished your reservation and confirm if you're at risk of being fined. Late fees are automatically applied regardless of whether another reservation follows your own, so make sure you extend your reservation if you can.

We'll do everything we can to avoid you being charged. The best action you can take as a member is letting us know with as much notice as possible. The more time we have to notify other members, the happier everyone will be!

Cancelling your Roundtrip booking

We expect now and again that your plans will change and you need to cancel or amend your Zipcar reservation. There’s no penalty to cancel or change a reservation provided you give us enough notice prior to the start of your booking. If your reservation is 8 hours or longer, you need to provide a clear 24 hours’ notice to cancel without charge. If your reservation is less than 8 hours you only need to provide 3 hours’ notice.  You can amend or cancel your booking in our app, or on the Zipcar website when you log in. Please note that if you don't cancel or change your reservation with the required advanced notice, you will be charged the full amount of the reservation.

Why Zipcar?

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Save money

We pay for fuel, parking, Congestion Charge and insurance – so you get access to a car without all the hassle of owning one!

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Rent a car locally

Zipcars live just around the corner. We've got the largest car sharing fleet in the UK (not that we're boasting) and you'll find us in cities across the UK. 

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Drive on-demand

Whatever you need wheels for, we’ve got them. Rent cars and vans by the minute, hour or day when and where you need them.

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Live greener

We’re the perfect addition to buses, trains and bikes for those times when you just need a car. We've also got hundreds of electric cars in our fleet.