How to Listen to SiriusXM Radio in a Rental Car

by joeheg

We’ve had Sirius and/or XM Radio subscriptions in our cars for over a decade. Needless to say, when we’re renting a car for a road trip, we want to bring our radio stations with us. That usually meant searching through all the cars in the rental lot to find one with a functional satellite radio. This was one of the only things I liked about being able to pick my own car.

If you wanted to pay Alamo for SiriusXM, you’d pay $5.99 per day, $24.99 per week, or $49.98 maximum for 30 days.

Turns out, this is a non-issue.

a person's legs and feet on a brick surfaceStarting in 2019, SiriusXM started allowing all Select members to stream content from outside the car. I can listen from my computer, and more importantly, I can listen through the app on my phone.


What this means is that I have my subscription wherever I travel as long as I have a data connection. Most of the time I can connect my phone to the car via Bluetooth or I can use a USB cable. This has become much easier as many of the newer rental cars come equipped with Apple CarPlay, allowing me to stream my music and use Waze for directions simultaneously.

I’ve even found out that I’m able to listen to our favorite stations outside the US, like how we listened to 80s on 8 through the car’s Wi-Fi connection while driving to our hotel in Iceland.

a view from inside of a car of a farm

I would like to add that several stations are exclusively available on the Sirius XM app. Most of these stations offer music-only content or a combination of various music genres, which I personally prefer during long road trips. It saves me from constantly switching between different channels.

Final Thoughts

If you have a SiriusXM subscription, creating an online account and downloading the app on your phone is a good idea. This will enable you to listen to your favorite stations anytime, anywhere, even if your rental car only has a CD player.

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Suzi V August 15, 2020 - 9:27 am

Thanks so much for this! Made my road trip in a rental much better.

Nathan January 15, 2022 - 1:34 pm

Still, this is totally unfair and consumers should act to force rental car companies to allow those with an active subscription to stream on the car radio.

Jean April 24, 2022 - 5:49 pm

Still…. this incurs data charges. I do not have an unlimited data plan so if I stream Siriusxm to my phone for a 7 hour drive that is a lot of data charges.

Boraxo November 27, 2023 - 5:36 pm

Clickbait. Anybody can listen to XM radio anywhere through the phone app and then through the car speakers via bluetooth or CarPlay.

What we really want is a way to login to XM from the vehicle so we don’t have to use data or drain the phone battery.

joeheg November 27, 2023 - 11:14 pm

I doubt this will ever happen since the subscription is linked to the receiver and not the account.


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