rental car

How to get a rental car in Dubai? A Complete Guide.

In this article, we aim to provide a comprehensive guide on how to get a rental car in Dubai. We provide market insights, how-tos, and pro tips. Be sure to read it in full and share it if you liked it.

Dubai, with its gleaming skyscrapers, stunning desert landscapes, and luxurious attractions, is a city that invites exploration. While public transportation is available, renting a car can offer you the freedom and convenience to navigate this vibrant city and its surroundings at your own pace. If you’re considering renting a car in Dubai, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the process, providing you with all the information you need to have a smooth and enjoyable experience.

1. Research and Planning

Before you embark on your car rental journey, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and plan ahead:

  • Documents required to rent a car in Dubai: Ensure you have a valid international driving permit (IDP) if your native license isn’t in English. A passport, visa, and a valid driver’s license are mandatory for renting a car in Dubai. An IDP is not required by rental car providers if your driving license was issued by any other GCC country, GB, USA, EU, Canada, and some other major countries.
  • Rental Car Age Restrictions: Most car rental companies, including Ability Rent A Car require drivers to be at least 21 years old. However, for some luxury or larger vehicles, the minimum age may be higher, often around 25. The older age range is set by the insurance companies so always be aware that if you are renting a luxury car, there could be an age restriction imposed.
  • Rental Car Insurance: Check whether your travel insurance covers rental cars. Additionally, rental car agencies provide options for additional insurance coverage such as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). Evaluate your needs and preferences to make an informed decision.

2. Choosing a Rental Company

We could be guilty of being biased, so we would recommend of course, but this bias is justified because we are proud of our values and ethos which are customer-centric as opposed to being purely transactional. But still, we would provide the following advice:

  • Compare Rates: Browse various rental car types to compare prices. Rates can vary depending on the vehicle type, rental duration, and the season you are renting a car in. For instance, car rental prices are usually lower in the summer months due to a drop in demand. So you are likely to get a good deal between the months of May – September.
  • Read Reviews: Customer reviews can offer insights into the rental company’s service quality, vehicle conditions, and overall customer satisfaction. Ability Rent A Car is purely customer focused as we mentioned earlier. For instance, we recently had a booking for Nissan Patrol, but unfortunately, the car was extended by the previous customer. To avoid disappointing the next booking customer, we upgraded them to a Cadillac Escalade free of charge. Note: Escalade is the same size and category, but double the price of a Nissan Patrol.
  • Location: You may searching for a “rental car provider near me” – but there is really no need to do that in Dubai. This is because the car rental agency in your area may not have the same service level as Ability Rent A Car. Furthermore, Ability offers free delivery across all of Dubai. So there is no need for you to come to our office or any other company’s office – we come to you for your ease and convenience. In any event, you are more than welcome to visit our office which is located in Business Bay, Downtown region.

3. Selecting the right Rental Car:

Ability offers an array of rental cars to cater to different preferences and needs:

  • Car Type: Consider the size of your travel group and your intended activities. Our fleet includes cars of all sizes and functions. From economy cars for two to luxury SUVs for 7. Similarly, from supercars for two to chauffeur-driven luxury sedans. The ultimate choice is yours.
  • Transmission: Most rental cars in Dubai have automatic transmissions. Make sure you’re comfortable with this if you’re used to driving a manual transmission.
  • Fuel Type: Opt for a vehicle that suits your budget and environmental preferences. Gasoline is the most common fuel type, but electric and hybrid options are available too. However, we tend not to advise electric vehicle rental in Dubai as this is still a fairly new industry, and the charging ports are not as easily located as usual petrol pumps. Furthermore, charging a car may take up to 40 minutes thereby denting your valuable time.

4. How to book a rental car in Dubai

Once you’ve settled on a rental car, it’s time to make your reservation:

  • Online Booking: We offer an online booking system either via our website or via WhatsApp. WhatsApp is preferred as the booking system does not feel like a transaction. It is interactive and allows us the opportunity to properly welcome you and understand your needs. WhatsApp also allows you to submit your documents securely and conveniently. Pro Tip: Booking in advance can often result in better rates and availability.
  • Review Terms: Carefully read the rental terms and conditions. Understand the fuel policy, mileage limits, late return fees, and any other important details. Our rental terms are published in English and Arabic.

5. Rental Car Pickup or Delivery:

When you arrive in Dubai and are ready to book your rental car:

  • Required Documents: Have all your necessary documents ready – passport, visa, driver’s license, and IDP if applicable.
  • Vehicle Inspection: Conduct a thorough inspection of the vehicle’s exterior and interior. Note any pre-existing damages on the rental agreement and take photos for your records. Ability’s representative will conduct a thorough walkthrough with you present. The walkthrough will be recorded for the protection of both parties rights.
  • Security Deposit: This is mandatory on all bookings with Ability Rent A Car. This deposit is taken for any damages, traffic fines, Salik, etc. The deposit is returned within 30 days from the end of the rental booking. This is purely because not all traffic violations are notified instantly and can take weeks to be published by Dubai Police.
  • Communication: Familiarize yourself with the car’s features, especially if you’re not accustomed to the make and model. Ensure you know how to operate essential functions. Again, Ability’s representative handing over the rental car will guide you through the process. We are more than happy to help as we believe in making a customer and not a sale.

6. Driving in Dubai

Driving in Dubai can be quite different from other places, so it’s important to be prepared:

  • Traffic Rules: Dubai has strict traffic rules and hefty fines for violations. Familiarize yourself with local driving regulations. We recently published an article on traffic fines in Dubai which would be a great read.
  • Navigation: A GPS or smartphone navigation app can be extremely helpful in navigating the city’s complex road network. Make sure you are using a mobile cradle and never hold your phone in your hand. This is a motoring offense in Dubai and can attract a large fine.
  • Salik: This is the toll charge you pay on E11 Sheikh Zayed Road. Every time you pass a salik gate, AED 5.25 is payable and will be deducted from the security deposit. We will provide you with the total number of Salik payments at the end of your car rental booking.
  • Parking: Be aware of parking regulations and fees. Many malls and attractions offer free parking, but it’s essential to understand the rules. Street parking bays usually require payments between the hours of 8 am and 10 pm (note these hours could differ). Pro Tip: download the RTA App from App Store or Playstore on our smartphone. This App allows you to pay public parking fees effortlessly.

7. Returning the Car

As your rental period comes to an end:

  • Fuel Level: Fill up the tank to the required level, as stated in the rental agreement.
  • Vehicle Condition: Ensure the car is in the same condition as when you received it. Report any new damages to the rental company. Ability’s representative will usually conduct another inspection upon the return of the vehicle. Any damages caused will be deductible from the security deposit. Or if they exceed the deposit amount, you are responsible for paying the shortfall.
  • Timely Return: Return the car on time to avoid late fees. If dropping off at the airport, factor in extra time for the return process. We recommend that you agree to a return time and location in advance. In some cases, we can take drop you off at the airport if discussed in advance.

8. Final Settlement

During the return process:

  • Final Invoice: Ability Rent A Car will usually send you an invoice within 48 hours of the return of your rental car. Review the final invoice for accuracy. Make sure there are no unexpected charges.
  • Security Deposit: If you provided a security deposit at the start of the rental, confirm that it will be released back to you.


Renting a car in Dubai can enhance your travel experience by offering flexibility and comfort. With the right planning, research, and adherence to local regulations, you can navigate the city’s stunning sights and attractions with ease. By selecting the ideal rental company, and vehicle, and understanding the driving environment, you’re on your way to a memorable and enjoyable journey through the dynamic landscapes of Dubai.

Finally, we would add that the process above may seem tedious, but our representatives will make it quick and convenient for you. Rent A Car today with Ability.




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Ability Rent A Car

Ability Rent A Car is an independent car rental company in Dubai. We provide luxury and economy car rentals in Dubai.