Car Hire at Heathrow Terminal 5: Insider Tips

Navigating car hire at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 can be smooth and efficient with the right knowledge. This guide dives deeper into the logistics of car rentals at T5, including tips on fuel stations, electric vehicle policies, shuttle services, and more.

Selecting the Best Car Hire at Heathrow Terminal 5: Strategies and Tips

Choosing a Car Rental Company Terminal 5 at Heathrow is serviced by major car rental companies such as Avis, Europcar, Hertz, and Sixt, conveniently located within the arrivals hall. Booking your car in advance is highly recommended to avoid a limited selection of vehicles and potentially high last-minute prices. While you can book directly through the rental company’s website, better deals are often found through third-party aggregators like Kayak,, or

Pro Tip for Securing a Premium Car at a Budget Price

If you’re open to a little gamble to get a high-end car at a lower rate, start by booking the cheapest model available online. When you reach the rental counter at the airport at T5, inquire about potential upgrades. Rental agents often receive commissions for upselling, which can work in your favour if you’re seeking an upgrade. If the agent offers you an upgrade but the price seems steep, that’s your cue to negotiate further. At this point, mentioning your interest in purchasing comprehensive insurance from the rental company could be a strategic move. This final negotiation tactic can sometimes encourage the agent to secure your upgrade at a more reasonable rate. Also it’s always best to book an auto in the first instance, as this makes it easier to upgrade to a better car category.

Insurance and Damage Policies Avoid purchasing insurance through third-party websites. While it might seem convenient and often a lot cheeper, if you incur any damage, you will have to pay the rental company first and then undergo a potentially cumbersome process to claim reimbursement from the third-party insurer. Instead, consider buying insurance directly from the car rental company. Make sure to read the terms carefully; recent changes in the fine print from all major rental companies have introduced sneaky admin fees and do not fully cover you despite advertising premium coverage. It’s also worth noting that insurance can vary based on your pickup location—airports, in general, usually offer packages without hidden excesses or administrative fees

Booking and Picking Up Your Car At Terminal 5, car rental desks are easily accessible right within the terminal, allowing for quick processing. Remember, you’ll need a valid driving license and a credit card (not debit) for the security deposit. 

Electric Vehicle Rental Tips Many car rental companies are now offering electric vehicles (EVs). When renting an EV, check whether the rental includes free charging. Some companies offer EVs with a full-to-empty policy, meaning you can return the car without a full charge without incurring additional fees.

Fueling Up Before Your Return If you’re renting a traditional vehicle, you may need to refuel before returning it. There are several petrol stations nearby Heathrow:

  • The nearest fuel station is located on the Southern Perimeter Road, about 5 minutes from Terminal 5.
  • Another convenient option is along the A4 on Bath Road, roughly 10 minutes from the terminal.

Shuttle Services to Rental Car Lots at Heathrow Terminal 5

Most major rental agencies at Heathrow Terminal 5 are conveniently located within the terminal itself, offering easy access upon arrival. However, some cheaper or specialty rental options are situated off-site and require a short shuttle bus ride. The shuttles operate frequently, about every 5-8 minutes, and the pickup points are well-signed and located just outside the arrivals hall. Depending on the terminal, the specific bus stops for these shuttles vary but are generally positioned for easy accessibility as you exit the arrivals area. For example, at Terminal 5, you should look for bus stops 26 and 27 just past popular spots like Costa Coffee and Marks & Spencer’s​

Returning Your Car if Departing from Another Terminal If you’re flying back from a different terminal, check the inter-terminal shuttle services provided by Heathrow, which connect all terminals. It’s best and often cheeper to return your rental car to the original terminal from which it was hired and use the free Heathrow Express or shuttle buses to reach your departure terminal.