Every magical Zipcar journey has to end at some point, read on to make sure you've ended your reservation correctly.




filling the tank and using the fuel card

Unlike standard car rental you won’t need to fill up with fuel after every reservation. We only ask you to top up if you take the tank below a quarter (if you leave a vehicle with low fuel you may incur fines).

When you arrive at the petrol station use your car's fuel card to pay. This can be found in the driver’s side door jamb (between the door frame and the dashboard)


The fuel type of the vehicle is displayed in a few different places. Firstly it will be on the fuel card itself, secondly the fuel cap will have a tag that says either petrol or diesel. Plus your confirmation emails will also verify which type of fuel is needed for the car.

Tip – If the engine sounds deeper, more like a van than a car, it’s probably diesel – but always double check!

Now just fill up the tank and pay using the fuel card. There’s no PIN, you simply need to sign for it (this is an ancient process involving pen and paper). The attendant may ask for the mileage (total mileage of vehicle), if you made a note of this, great, if not just ask the attendant to skip this part. After the transaction is made, you’re good to go.

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what if the fuel card is missing?

While we would love all vehicles to have a fuel card at all times, they do unfortunately go missing from time to time. We rely on our members reporting missing fuel cards so that we can arrange for a replacement card to be ordered ASAP, so please let us know if you can't find the fuel card. In this rare instance we ask you to cover the costs of the fuel yourself. Remember that you don't need to fill the the whole tank, just to at least a quarter for the next member.

When you re-fuel, please obtain an itemised VAT receipt and then send this in to us for reimbursement.  You can either scan the receipt or photograph it with your phone – please just make sure we can see all relevant information including the amount and type of fuel, the transaction amount, and the date/time of purchase. 


As soon as we have received this receipt and verified it, we will process the reimbursement directly to the payment card listed on your account and then confirm with you via email.

If you are a driver on a business account, have paid for fuel with your own funds, and are unable to seek reimbursement through the business, we can make arrangements for the funds to be reimbursed to your personal account via BACS. Please advise if you would like this done, and supply us with your sort code and account number.

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returning the Zipcar to its bay

Be sure to return your Zipcar to it's home location, where you picked it up from. If it's from a multi-car location then any of the dedicated Zipcar bays will do. If you have any trouble remembering where you picked the car up, or if it lives in a car park with specific entry instructions you can find all the location details on your booking confirmation.

In most cases if your Zipcar is parked on street the bay will be marked like so (park the vehicle inside the lines to eliminate the risk of a parking ticket):

Not all Zipcar locations will be marked like the above. In some car parks, residential bays and other types of locations the bays will be marked with Zipcar signage:


Sometimes locations have no markings at all but are fully described in the reservation confirmation, so try and make a mental note of where to return the car before setting off.


what if someone's parked in my bay?

Sometimes members of the public accidently park in Zipcar bays. This can cause frustration and disruption as our designated bays are the only safe haven for our Zipcars. However, we have a backup plan for each and every Zipcar location.

As soon as you see that someone has parked in our bay, give our Member Services team a call on 0333 240 9000. They will take a note of the vehicle model, its number plate and the location details to pass onto the council in order to get the offending vehicle removed (if you have a camera, take a photo of the offending vehicle and send it to Member Services). We will then give you location specific instructions on where to leave the Zipcar. 

Once you've found a suitable parking space that meets the alternative parking criteria, please give us a quick call back to let us know where it is so we can inform or move the next member booked in. 

If you don't follow the alternative parking instructions and the car gets a ticket, you may be held responsible. If you can, take a quick photo of where you parked the vehicle just to be on the safe side.

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running late?

To find out more information on running late and what to do, click here. 

ending your reservation and locking up

So you've parked back in location and turned the engine off. You've gathered your belongings, fuel's over a quarter and the car is clean, now:

return the key

  • At the end of every reservation you will need to return the keys to the holder inside the glove box. Slot the bullet shaped fob on the key ring into the slot:

  • You'll know when you've returned the keys correctly as the little LED will turn from Red to Green. Once it's green that means we've recorded the time of your return and your reservation has ended.
  • After returning the keys, close the glove box.
  • Double check for belongings.
  • Turn off the lights.
  • Once you're happy you've got everything you can now lock the vehicle.
  • To lock the car simply hold your Zipcard against the card reader, hold it for a few seconds, wait for a beep and the vehicle should be locked. Before you leave just pull on the door handles to confirm the car locked successfully. 

Alternatively you can use the Zipcar iPhone or Android app to unlock the Zipcar at the start of your reservation and lock it at the end. Start by selecting the "Drive" tab to bring up your virtual key fob. To unlock your Zipcar, just press the green unlock button, which looks like an open padlock, and to lock the vehicle, just press the green lock button, which looks like a closed padlock. 

 Please be aware the unlock and lock functions on the application are time sensitive and will only work during your reservation times. If you are a few minutes early for your reservation or return late, you will need to use your Zipcard or call Zipcar on 0333 240 9000 (a £2.95 fee applies for unlocking via member services, except for new members).

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Need some inspiration for where to take your Zipcar next? Check out our Ziptours encyclopaedia of exciting excursions.