Driving UHaul

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 2:36 pm

Driving UHaul

Post by Fortune » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:19 pm

Wi$e guys.

I am planning a relocation from point A to B (400 miles).
I have two options: to move my stuff in UHaul or similar service or use a transporter (expensive).

Can you pl suggest best practices for using UHaul or similar service (10-12 ft):
I never drove transport trucks
- do I need any extra insurance
- best practices?

thanks in advance

Posts: 663
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:00 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by megabad » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:27 pm

UHaul is franchised in my area so rules vary. For my friend that recently moved I suggested the following:

1) If over 25, rent the biggest SUV or Pickup Truck you can from a car rental agency and throw out everything that won't fit in it if possible. Seriously, UHaul across state lines in my area are expensive so weigh replacement costs against UHaul charges and gas.
2) If you can't part with that much of your stuff, rent the smallest UHaul you can because gas costs will kill you.
3) Buy the extra insurance if your auto policy doesn't cover UHauls (mine does not)
4) You have no rear view mirror (just side views) so put on your freaking turn signal and turn/change lanes slowly.
5) Use horn for jerk drivers as necessary.

Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:14 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by DavidW » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:31 pm

Yes. Buy the insurance

I drove them as a college student when I moved from apartment to apartment.

Couple of tips

>> your items will shift as you move. So, wrap your fragile items. You might even want to get straps (tie downs) to limit movement.

>> your stopping distance will be long. So, give yourself a lot of cushion.

>> When you stop somewhere (gas/food), get some one to help you if you have to backup. Better to park where you don't need to backup

>> Most bridges should be fine but beware of your height limit...

>> Get a buddy so you can trade off driving...

>> Make sure the vehicle looks to be in decent shape (tires....). Also, ask them if the vehicle were to break down, what is the process....

If you have to stop overnight somewhere, consider getting a lock (hockey puck style) and back into a wall so that it is difficult to access.... If you can get another vehicle to block it in, that would make it more difficult to drive off. I heard on the news once where someone packed all the belongs and the van was stolen overnight....

Good luck...

User avatar
Posts: 4363
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by Kenkat » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:34 pm

It’s been awhile but after renting a couple of U Hauls, I switched to Penske. Newer, better trucks - better condition, easier to drive, etc.

Posts: 3829
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by 123 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:47 pm

If you're renting one of the smaller UHauls you'll likely find it's not too difficult to drive. Biggest issues are backing up (have an assistant to direct you) and turning. Take it easy and plan ahead on your driving. It's often easier to make a number of right-hand turns (going around the block) then direct left-hand turns in a lot of areas. Stay in the slow lane.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

Posts: 62776
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by livesoft » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:48 pm

Do you have friends and family that can help you load the UHaul and unload it?

Years ago, we rented a UHaul 12 ft and I found it no more difficult than driving a Camry.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

User avatar
Posts: 14380
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by Watty » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:27 pm

If you are moving into an apartment or condo then be sure to check on the rules for when when you can park and unload. You may have to have a time reserved.

Posts: 552
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:39 am

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:20 pm

Have you considered https://www.upack.com/abf?
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

User avatar
Posts: 2146
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:53 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by JMacDonald » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:35 pm

If you have big furniture, make sure it will fit in the place you are planning to move into. People, where I live, often can't get their big sofa into the unit.
Best Wishes, | Joe

Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:06 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by kelvan80 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:39 pm

I would look into ABF at the link above. You pay by the linear foot. Three days to load. They drive it for you. Well worth it.

Posts: 94
Joined: Sat May 28, 2016 11:22 am

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by FeesR-BullNotBullish » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:19 pm

We rented a U-haul for a 1000 mile move a few years ago. I had not driven anything that big previously and found it relatively easy. In addition to driving the truck, I towed my car while my wife followed behind in hers. Traffic was good, and I didn't have trouble merging onto the freeway when I needed to. Also, the hotel and restaurants we chose had plenty of parking and room to maneuver.

I was pleased with the customer service from U-Haul along with the locations that were convenient to our respective locations.

I recommend hiring professional movers to load your truck at point A. Those guys know how to properly load the vehicle so the heavy items are in the correct places. They also have experience in securing the items so the shifting is minimal. One thing I am forever grateful for is that the movers recommended I get the next size up from what the U-Haul people advised. I never would have fit everything in the smaller truck. I think it's less critical to hire pros at point B to unload your stuff, but it sure makes things easier.

Posts: 1625
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by Katietsu » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:15 pm

motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:20 pm
Have you considered https://www.upack.com/abf?
This is just the opposite of what I have always done. I have hired movers to load the truck and sometimes unload while I did the driving. I never thought the driving part was very difficult, up to the 22 ft or so truck.

I would suggest timing your drive. For instance, I would not want to be on the DC beltway at 5 PM. And the suggestions like avoiding the need to backup are also a good ones.

Posts: 193
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:47 pm
Location: CA

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by MathIsMyWayr » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:24 pm

I have rented moving trucks a few times - Penske, Budget, and U-Haul(?). There are a few things to notice:
  • You sit much higher in a truck than in a minivan. Initially the height may make you feel somewhat uncomfortable.
  • Your view is quite limited due to the height, width, length, and the blocked rearview. The cab where you sit is narrower that the cargo section, and your side view is also limited. You have to rely heavily on the side view mirrors. It is critical to adjust side view mirrors properly on both the driver and passenger sides. If not, it is like driving blindfolded. It is also important for you to become comfortable for relying on side view mirrors.
  • Don't forget to turn wide.

Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:45 am

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by investor4life » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:30 am

Drove a Penske 22' truck (similar to UHaul) halfway across the country recently. After the first hour it felt pretty comfortable. During that first hour, I had to get used to the fact that there was no rear-view mirror (the body of the truck was too high and would've blocked what one might want to see in said mirror). Instead, I had to learn to rely on the (large) side mirrors. Piece of cake after that first hour on a 1.5K mile trip, some of it through major cities.

One interesting caveat: Google Maps does not know the type of vehicle you drive and sometimes will put you on less-traveled country routes where there is not enough overhead clearance when going through tunnels and under overpasses. We nearly lost the top of our truck on a couple of occasions :shock:

Couple other tips: Carry a good padlock to secure the cargo area at night. Make sure that any motel you stop at enroute has adequate parking for the truck.

Good luck!

User avatar
Posts: 1167
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:13 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by Hayden » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:04 am

I rented a UHaul recently, and found that their website had lots of useful advice, on packing the load, safe driving, etc

Posts: 538
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by Momus » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:50 am

DIY and save $1000 at least. You get a sore back and muscle but well worth it. It's not that hard at all.

A simple suggestion if you aren't confident driving a truck is to make sure you drive/arrive during night time or in the wee hours when the traffic is light.

Posts: 610
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 5:47 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:09 am

Rented uhalls a couple of times. Use common sense! Be aware of where you need to drive and park and how difficult it will be to maneuver, back up, etc. Be aware that certain roads are off limits to trucks. I made the mistake of going through a park closed to trucks and was pulled over. Thankfully the cop didn’t ticket me.

Whenever a long move is planned it’s also good consider the option to give away or sell bulky items to reduce cargo and vehicle size and just buy new furniture as needed. Last move, wife and I downsized and moved in a Honda Fit (multiple trips as it was close by). Other than a couple of cheap Ikea purchases we haven’t replaced most items many years later. We don’t need all the stuff the we think we need.

User avatar
Posts: 154
Joined: Wed May 02, 2018 6:17 am

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon » Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:20 am

tl;dr: If I had to do this all over again, I'd 100% go with ABF U-Pack and let them do all the driving. It's about the same price! Seriously, check out their website and decide between their ReloCubes or if you want the whole trailer to pay by the linear foot (9 foot height).

I did a ~1000 mile move and decided on Penske over U-Haul after reading lots of online reviews and forums. People were saying the U-Hauls were poorly maintained and several reports of them breaking down on the highway, leaving people stranded. A new U-Haul truck would be delivered to their location, and they'd have to unload the broken truck and load the replacement truck on the side of the highway. No thank you! That, and some complaints on customer service.

My Penske customer service experience was excellent, both in the reservation process, and they gave me an extra free day (when I asked and was running behind schedule) because the truck and time they promised didn't work out. I had reserved a 22' truck for the morning, and they instead gave me a 26' truck (same price) but not until the afternoon. The laborers I had hired were annoyed and put behind schedule because of this.

I had the 26' Penske truck (the largest in their fleet) as well as the large car trailer that supports the entire car, so the entire length was maybe 50'+. It was really intimidating driving the thing. I'd read diesel has more torque, but wow that thing did not have any acceleration, even though I was flooring the gas pedal. My biggest issue with the Penske was it didn't have the mirrors on the front of the hood that allows you to see if you're in between the lane markers or not -- as a result I was constantly pulling way too far to the right, sometimes onto the shoulder. Any commercial 53' truck has those front mirrors on the hood. Ugh. Also, Penskes are much higher than U-Hauls, so it's even harder to stay in between the lanes, and the loading/unloading of the trailer is much higher -- U-Hauls are very low to the ground.

Moving labor: I actually went with U-Haul's website, and they having a movinghelp website that contracts out to a bunch of labor. Much cheaper prices. I hired labor for both loading and unloading. I had excellent guys for loading. I had SCAM ARTISTS for unloading who damaged LOTS of property, lied, and then split town. Lesson learned: Do not rush at all when hiring moving labor: Read ALL reviews on the labor site (like movinghelp) as well as Yelp, Google, everywhere. Pay attention to the 1-star reviews and don't ignore them!

Also, fueling up with diesel at truck stops is a learning experience, since sometimes you have to pre-authorize inside, and they ask you for fleet # and all the other trucker lingo, and I just shrugged my shoulders and went "Uh, I'm moving in a Penske, and I'm not a trucker. Can ya help me understand how this works?" :happy

I've read that U-Haul is best for local moves but not for long hauls due to their trucks being not as maintained. I definitely recommend Penske.
  • Buy lots of moving supplies if you don't have them:
    • If you don't own your own dolly/handtruck, buy one. You'll use it many, many times for the rest of your life. I got a nice Harper (Made in USA) for $100 at Costco. YMMV with what's in stock.
    • duct tape
    • clear packing tape
    • furniture pads (you can also rent these)
    • bubble wrap for dishes and fragile stuff
    • plastic wrap (the green stuff) to protect furniture and stuff from scratches
    • tape measure
    • "Fragile" stickers from Walmart/Target.
    • Sharpie to label all the boxes/bins. Makes unloading and unpacking much easier.
    • ratcheting tie downs for securing things
    • lots of rope to secure things in addition to the tie downs. (Rope is cheaper.)
    • Good padlock. Ignore all the cheap garbage ones that you buy from U-Haul or the like. Also ignore big box store brands like anything Master or Brinks. I bought a new $100 Abus Granit with 11 mm shackle diameter. I'd go bigger and badder, but the hasps on moving trailers are really tiny and limiting. If you can afford a nice padlock like Abus, Abloy, Medeco, Mul-T-Lock, look into them. Shrouded is better, but most hasps won't allow any room. If money is tight, you can get American Lock or ACE Hardware branded padlocks with 5-6 pin tumblers and 11 mm shackle diameter for $30-40. See this Bosnianbill video on YouTube for a good overview of high security locks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsJZ_kKjXcE
    • Moving boxes in various shapes and sizes. The ones for dishes are nice.
    • Leather work gloves so you don't injure yourself when lifting.
    • Back brace/lumbar support is a good idea. Always lift with your legs, and not your back anyways. And never twist.
  • If you have a brown recluse spider infestation (like I did), move in the winter and also don't use cardboard boxes at all, period. Use heavy duty plastic bins/totes. Sterilite has some good ones at Walmart. Costco has the black/yellow ones that are fantastic. The clear Iris brand at Costco are cheaper but crack more easily.
  • Stay hydrated, and don't overdo it. If you're moving during the summer, it can easily be 100+ degrees, and inside the trailer is easily 130+ degrees.
  • Learn how to use the airbrakes if your truck has them.
  • Definitely buy the insurance.
  • Pack high and pack tight. Use sections when loading, and secure each section with ratcheting tie-downs and rope before loading the next section.
  • If using a Penske truck with high cab height (vs. U-Haul), be careful getting in or out of the cab. Face the seat when getting in or out (like you're climbing a ladder). Do not get out like a car, where you're facing away from the seat. My dad did this, and slipped and fell all the way down and landed on his rib on the metal ledge and fractured it. Be safe!
  • Be careful when pulling out or pushing back the loading ramp. Lots of opportunities to pinch your fingers. Wear gloves. Make sure the ramp is secured to the truck (2 hooks) and not merely pulled out.
If you're young and in good shape and health, you can probably get away with doing a lot of the labor yourself.

Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 2:36 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by Fortune » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:39 pm

Thanks for very very valuable info.

If i hire someone (an individual, not a company) to transport my stuff in his own truck, what precautions need to be taken care.


Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:48 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by WaffleCone » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:31 pm

I never had a good experience with uhaul, from their front desk policies to the maintenance on their vehicles. Look at alternatives from Penske. For me, they rent locally from Home Depot.

My go to option these days is a cargo van from Enterprise. It's just over 8' deep, so may be a little small for you. It's easy to drive and often times comes with free unlimited mileage for ~$130/weekday + fuel & taxes. I always return it to the same location, no idea what the one-way charge is.

Get some more quotes for a moving service. I saw a large variance in prices and it was cheaper mid-week than weekends. When you add up your time, the cost of getting injured if you have heavy stuff (sore back and muscles if you're 20, or a week out of work if you're 40), and all the other things-- moving blankets, tie downs (for everything), boxes, etc... I think it's money well spent to do it professionally.

Posts: 29
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 4:33 pm

Re: Driving UHaul

Post by Operon » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:27 pm

I've driven rented trucks plenty of times, was terrified the first time but seriously, they're not that bad. I never picked up extra insurance, check your own insurance policy first to see if it'll cover most to all of what U-Haul's add-ons would.

-Pick up your rental a little early. Since you're not used to driving trucks, drive it around a parking lot or a couple of blocks first to get the hang of it, and get used to relying on side mirrors only.
-Pack your stuff in very tightly. No, more tightly than that. Nope, still more tightly than that. Keep going. Tighter... If there are nooks and crannies between big things, find something little to shove in there.
-When braking, do it slow and start well in advance. The trucks can't stop on a dime and your stuff will be a mess if you try.
-When playing Truck Tetris, load furniture first (i.e. it'll be in the front of the truck), boxes last. But be mindful of height, don't let stacks of boxes be taller than furniture.
-Bring towels, blankets to wrap around furniture. Bring rope, use it to secure all furniture to the rails along the sides.
-Check into tolls along your route, specifically if there are any tolling plazas that no longer accept cash, in which case you'll need a transponder. Most truck rentals can offer these but they tack on extra fees, so if you have a transponder in your own car that you're allowed to use instead, do that, just be sure that the truck's plate number is only temporary on your account or you might get pay-by-plate fees c/o the next driver.
-Also check weigh station policies in the states you're driving through. Some require you to pull off and use weigh stations when they're active, others don't.
-Bring tunes. You can hook your phone up to most trucks' sound systems these days.
-Bring a simple combination lock and keep the combo on your person. Keeps people out of your stuff when you pull off on a rest stop, and serves as extra insurance against the door popping open going over a bump the highway because you didn't secure it quite tightly enough.
-Enlist friends and family to help you pack and unpack. Buy them pizza and/or :beer

Post Reply