U-Haul Moving Truck and Trailer Rental Review - The Track Ahead (2024)

Last year, my family and I made the move from the San Francisco Bay Area, down to Los Angeles. We initially planned on making three separate trips using the largest U-Haul truck available, a 26-foot moving truck. Unfortunately, our first move turned out to be a disaster because the U-Haul truck had a fuel leak. This turns out to be a prevalent issue due to unscrupulous people stealing gas out of the easy-to access fuel tanks on these vehicles.

After that disastrous experience, we still had to use U-Haul simply because we were forced to (there was no other way to get our stuff so close to your move date.) We made some trips with the slightly smaller 20-foot trucks, as well as with a trailer hitched up to our truck. We also had to use a moving company who used their own personal moving truck.

U-Haul offers a variety of rental vehicles for your move. There are a range of moving trucks, cargo trailers (enclosed), and utility trailers (unenclosed). Moving trucks and vans don’t require you to have a vehicle or any additional equipment; your normal Class C driver’s license will suffice. Although, it is undoubtably much more difficult to drive such a large vehicle at times.

With regards to the cargo and utility trailers, there are a number of requirements on the U-Haul website when you make your reservation. Some notable ones are that you must have a connection for a 4-way light connector for trailer lighting, and you must have at a 1-7/8″ or 2″ hitch ball on your towing vehicle. Also, if you want to prevent someone from stealing your trailer off of your trailer hitch, you should invest in a locking hitch pin, which allows you to lock the pin using a key.

Shop on Amazon:
CURT Hitch Ball & Pin, Fits 2″ Receiver: 1-7/8″ (5000 lbs Rating) / 2″ (7500 lbs Rating)
Rhino USA Locking Hitch Pin 5/8″ for Class III IV Hitches

For extra security, consider buying a lock to lock up the doors of your moving truck or trailer. If you buy U-Haul’s lock at their store, you’ll typically find the standard locks pictured below in the checkout line. Be careful if you buy the style of lock on the left; these types of locks may not fit the doors of your U-Haul due to the small opening of the lock. Instead, use the lock on the right for your U-Haul equipment, which will fit. I purchased the lock type on the right and I had no problems installing it on both the moving trucks and the cargo trailer.

Purchase on Amazon:
Master Lock Magnum Heavy Duty Outdoor Padlock with Key

Something to be aware of when you book a reservation with U-Haul is that it checks its large fleet of U-Haul locations to find you a moving truck or trailer that matches your requirements. U-Haul explicitly states that they do not guarantee your reservation, and you should take this statement seriously. What I mean by this is that you shouldn’t be surprised if your reservation day arrives and U-Haul contacts you to let you know that your equipment you reserved is not actually available.

The information that U-Haul has available to then when you’re making your reservation is only as accurate as what is provided to them from their many U-Haul dealers. Some U-Haul locations are actually privately owned U-Haul Dealers (e.g. a gas station that offers U-Haul equipment on the side).

From my experience, some of these U-Haul locations had inaccurate information about their fleet, which led to them not having the equipment that I booked for the time that I needed it for. If you try calling U-Haul’s customer service, they will simply say that when you booked the reservation, it does state that the reservation is not guaranteed. So, they’ll try helping you by finding another location nearby that has the same type of truck or trailer that you need.

Unfortunately if you’re doing a one-way move (picking up equipment at one location and returning it at another) and you’re trying to move out of an area where a lot of people are also moving out of, then U-Haul may not be able to find anything nearby. Since we were moving out of the San Francisco Bay Area in California, which is where many people are currently moving out of, U-Haul didn’t provide us with many viable options.

On our first rented truck with the fuel leak issue, U-Haul told us that we could pick up a smaller 20-foot moving truck across the Bay Bridge about 20 miles away. But, if we needed the same 26-foot moving truck like we made our reservation for, the nearest location would be 200 miles away. Obviously, this was a ridiculous and unfeasible option provided to me by U-Haul. This led to me having to rent the smaller moving truck and being forced to make changes to our overall moving plans.

I feel that I would be doing you a disservice if I did not tell you about my entire disastrous experience renting U-Haul’s 26-Foot Moving Truck. I wrote about my entire experience describing describing everything that happened, and what you need to look out for if you do rent one of these 26-foot Supermover Trucks.

You should avoid renting these specific moving trucks because they have fuel tanks that are accessible. For that reason, people try to steal fuel out of these trucks by breaking the plastic vent cap in order to siphon gasoline out. Some U-Hauls have taken steps to install metal covers that prevent this from happening, but who knows if you’ll get one with this theft-prevention device installed or not.

If you’re renting a trailer, you’ll probably have less issues since there’s no fuel in them. I had to rent a trailer to tow with my truck for the last trip of our move and it went pretty smoothly. The trailer is a lot easier to load since it’s lower to the ground, but of course it requires a hitch to pull and is a bit harder to drive/back-up with.

The interior is quite spacious and there are plenty of tie-down anchors located across the entire length and width of the trailer. Personally, I prefer pulling a trailer versus using a moving truck because it is so much easier to load and unload than a moving truck, which is much higher off the ground. Of course, you have a lot less space for stuff if you go with the trailer.

The interior of the moving truck is pretty bare-bones. It’s not so much of an issue since you’re really renting these trucks for the sole purpose of moving your stuff. Be prepared to feel all the bumps in the road as the ride can be quite rough. Interestingly, when you get up to highway speeds, the truck can be quite bouncy, which might be a little disconcerting. There was also this overhead light that wouldn’t turn off when I was in the car, which got pretty darn hot after my 7-hour drive.

Mechanically speaking, the moving truck did just fine and I got to my destination 400-miles away just fine. Using an enclosed moving truck is incredibly convenient compared to the other option of using your own say, truck to move your stuff. Assuming that you tie down your stuff inside of the truck properly, you won’t have to worry about anything falling out while you’re on your long drive to your destination. Driving down to Los Angeles, I saw this other truck moving their stuff all tied down in the bed and it reminded me of how much less stress I have driving with an enclosed moving truck.

The 20-foot moving truck is pretty large, but the 26-foot moving truck is just enormous. I didn’t have too much worries driving the 20-footer, but when I drove the 26-foot moving truck around, it just felt daunting trying to navigate through the streets. Once you get on the highway though, it feels fine. This leads me to one of the more difficult parts of renting these large moving trucks.

Getting gas can be quite tricky, especially for the U-Haul’s largest 26-foot truck. If you’re getting gas somewhere along the highway where there is a large open gas station, then it may not be so bad. Definitely avoid backing with these things as you can’t see anything behind you. If you must, use a backer if at all possible. And if you’re getting gas at a smaller gas station, say somewhere in the city like I had to at one point, good luck. It is so hard to drive through especially if you can’t just drive right in and out without turning or backing up.

But, if you’re trying to move a ton of stuff and reduce the amount of trips you need to make for moving, the 26-foot moving truck is the way to go. It is massive and according to U-Haul can move a 3-4 bedroom house. I found this figure to be possibly accurate for those who don’t have much stuff in their 3-4 bedroom house. Also keep in mind that this probably doesn’t account for stuff in your garage and outdoors.

At the end of our multi-trip move from Northern California down to Southern California, we were able to move everything down successfully. Although it didn’t turn out the way we had planned from the beginning, we did still make the move in several trips using a moving company for one trip, two trips with a U-Haul 20-foot moving truck, and a 4×8-foot enclosed trailer.

When U-Haul actually had the equipment we needed on-hand, and there was no fuel leak issue, everything seemed to go swimingly. The reservation was easy, and collecting/dropping off was relatively smooth as well. Now, if things go wrong (e.g. they don’t have the vehicle you requested, fuel/theft issue on your reserved vehicle, etc.) then it can really ruin your moving plans. We know that if you’re planning a move on a certain day, it’s going to be critical for you to get the truck you need at that time for that particular move. If you have to reschedule last minute, it can make things very difficult for you and your family.

So, know the risks of renting U-Haul equipment for your move and definitely have a back-up plan just in case. I still ended up using U-Haul because they still offered a better deal than any other moving rental equipment place, and there were many locations located all over, which was convenient for the locations we were moving from and moving to. I hope my experience has helped you to be more informed on renting from U-Haul and if you’re moving, best of luck!

U-Haul Moving Truck and Trailer Rental Review - The Track Ahead (2024)
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