An automobile was first used to carry the mail in 1902, in Adrian, Michigan. Four years later, rural carriers were granted permission to use automobiles and motorcycles, but these replaced horse-drawn wagons very slowly until after World War I. When they did come into general use, automobiles helped rural carriers complete their routes more quickly—at least until the Post Office Department replaced 25-mile wagon routes with 50-mile automobile routes.
Some members of Congress, including S. D. Fess of Ohio, objected to the use of automobiles in Rural Free Delivery Service. He argued that even those carriers who owned cars stored them during the winter when the roads were rough going, and, in his district, from November to March they relied on true "horse" power.
Depending on terrain and climate, rural carriers used a variety of vehicles. During harsh winter months, many rural carriers switched the body of their RFD wagons onto runners. Similar changes could also be made to automobiles. Over 300,000 of these snowbird attachments were produced for use on rural delivery vehicles.