U-Haul Knowingly Rents Deadly Trailers

U-Haul knowingly rents unsafe tow trailers that have the potential to kill customers. A yearlong investigation by the L.A. Times found that U-Haul’s practices unnecessarily expose customers to the dangers of trailer sway.

Traveling downhill or shaken by a sharp turn or a gust of wind, a trailer can begin swinging so violently that only the most experienced — or fortunate — drivers can regain control and avoid catastrophe.

Trailers can sway when towed by vehicles lighter than the trailer. U-Haul regulations allows trailers to outweigh the tow-vehicle by up to 25%, openly flouting guidelines set by automakers. For instance, U-Haul allows a 2007 Crown Victoria to haul 4,400 pounds, even though Ford suggests that the 4,100 pound vehicle tow no more than 1,500 pounds. “Two U-Haul competitors, Penske and Budget only rent trailers to customers renting trucks heavier than the trailers. Safety is the reason.”

The practice has killed dozens of customers…


Most of the statistics are secret, dredged from lawsuits and dragged into the sunlight by Times reporters. 1,173 accidents caused in a three and a half year period in the 70’s involved trailers. 49% of trailer crashes involved vehicles that ignored U-Haul’s own safety regulations, and violated the laws of several states. Estimates suggest that trailers are still responsible for more than one hundred accidents every year.

When accidents do occur, U-Haul places the blame squarely with the customer, who is expected to learn how to safely tow a trailer from a detailed safety manual. Yet the manual is rarely distributed with trailer rentals, and there is no Spanish version. The Chairman of U-Haul, Edward Shoen says that a Spanish version is “a nice idea,” but “we don’t have a big demand for it.”

U-Haul has already altered certain practices: they no longer let Ford Explorers tow trailers, not because the combination is dangerous, but because the Explorers have become “a magnet for attorneys.”

Defying the evidence uncovered by the Times, Shoen is adamant that his vehicles are safe. “Our equipment is suited for your son and daughter. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say U-Haul is rated 10 in safety.” — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Driving with rented risks [L.A. Times] (Thanks to Daniel!)

Comments

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  1. scoobydoo says:

    HA. I’m sure Shoen also thinks his customer service is a “10” too.

    Fingers crossed that this spells the end of U-haul.

  2. This is absolutely terrifying. Thanks to the L.A. Times for breaking the story.

  3. voltronguy says:

    Forget unsafe design/practices, do they ever repair or purchase new vehicles? I have never once felt safe in a U Haul truck, even the smallest one. My friend even had the hood fly open on the freeway. Couple that with a guaranteed reservation system that guarantees you won’t have a vehicle and you have a one of the worst companies I have seen.

    I’m sure they were great when they started but I wouldn’t rent a truck from them for my worst enemy, let alone my “son or daughter”.

  4. Here’s an excerpt from the article. Read the whole thing, seriously:

    In general, the state regulations say that trailers below 3,000 pounds must have brakes if they exceed 40% of the tow vehicle’s weight. By that standard, two popular, un-braked U-Haul cargo trailers are frequently in violation of the rules.

    For instance, U-Haul’s 5-by-8-foot trailer, which weighs 2,700 pounds fully loaded, would be required to have brakes unless the tow vehicle weighed at least 6,750 pounds. Only giant pickups weigh that much. U-Haul routinely rents the trailer to customers using much smaller tow vehicles.

    Shoen acknowledged that U-Haul was not in compliance with the state motor vehicle codes but suggested it was a trifling matter. To make his point, he pulled out a news clipping about a 201-year-old North Carolina law barring unmarried couples from living together.

    What a douchebag.

  5. Considering their great regard for the safety of the U.S. consumer, perhaps the Chinese should buy U-Haul.

  6. lilmiscantberong says:

    The title of the article is completely false.


    U-Haul has been building thousands of new vehicles over the years. I will guarantee that vehicle maintenance and safety is a #1 priority.

    My husband has been an area field manager for over three years with U-Haul. He is the one that fixes all of the rental equipment. If the equipment is not safe, it will not be rented. Period.

    Customers who abuse equipment, and the system are as much at fault. Overloaded trucks, and unsafe driving habits are as much to blame.

    I challenge you to conduct your own internal investigation, then report these same findings here.

    • Dj-Charles Booker says:

      @lilmiscantberong: What a pile of bull! U haul fail’s miserably. We rented a 26 foot U Haul for our cross Provence move, we got an hour away from our departure location and the gear shaft got stuck in 3rd gear on a red light. We could not move the truck. So we slept on the sidewalk till morning when a tow truck showed up to take it for repair’s in Barrie Ontario. We got to the Barrie U Haul location and asked for our truck. They said they lost the truck…. THEY LOST THE DAMN TRUCK!!! So we waited 3 hours while they looked for the 26 foot U Haul with a busted gear shaft. They finally found it and begun the transfer from the 26 footer to the new Truck. They couldn’t even pack it as well as we did! We had the damn thing packed 3/4 full, they had to push shove and squeeze just to close the damn door on the next truck… Professional movers, MY ASS!!! Finally we got back on the road and realized the damn tank was empty, they didn’t fill it up!!!!!! Needless to say, U Haul is a deadly moving company.

  7. EricaKane says:

    Yeah right. Even if we are to believe you, you cannot speak for other Uhaul locations. Unfortunately, most people who have used Uhaul know they willingly and knowingly rent trucks that are on the verge of breaking down, if not already broken.

    The comments by Uhaul’s representatives underscore the brazen attitude toward’s people’s safety. Perhaps you should be complaining to your corporate headquarters for putting your “oh so good Uhaul” location in disrepute.

    But go ahead and blame the customer, its always their faults.

  8. TWinter says:

    I’m not surprised, U-Haul is just evil.

    I live in a college town, and there is a short period every year when thousands of students are trying to move at once. The local U-Haul will let you make a reservation for that period, but they don’t tell you until you get there that you can only keep the truck for FOUR hours. They charge you for a WHOLE day, but you only get the truck for FOUR hours max, if you keep it for more than four hours, they charge you for two days.

    I hate them, but I’ve been forced to use them twice because Ryder and Penske didn’t have any trucks left. The trucks weren’t obviously dangerous, but they didn’t appear to be in very good shape.

  9. scoobydoo says:

    What the heck is an area field manager doing fixing equipment anyway? Doesn’t U-Haul employ dedicated mechanics?

    Your reply is the epitome of the U-Haul attitude: the customer is wrong.

    Why would the Consumerist do their own investigation when a respectable publication like the LA Times spent a year doing it for us?

    As for these “new” vehicles, I’ve yet to see them. Every single U-Haul truck, van or trailer I see on the road is a junker.

  10. juri squared says:

    @lilmiscantberong: Funny, you seem to be doing exactly what the article mentions: blaming the customer instead of the renter. Besides, it’s not a matter of broken equipment in this case; it’s a matter of renting people trailers that are too big for their cars to handle.

    If it was really all customer error, why aren’t U-Haul’s competitors included in this article? One would think that a customer problem would span all rental places, not just U-Haul.

  11. The U-Haul shill’s comment notwithstanding, I can vouch firsthand that they do, in fact, send customers out with the wrong trailer.

    I came in with a Volkswagen Beetle, which I had used to tow a bike trailer before, but nothing larger.
    The U-Haul rep assured me up and down that I would be fine towing the trailer that they gave me, though I suspect it was because it was the closest thing they could find on the lot.

    I made it about 40 miles from home, by which time I had experienced so much swaying and dipping that I was driving with my blinkers on at 35 miles an hour, and the only reason I kept going was to get the trailer back home, so I could unload it.

    So go ahead, lilmiswhatev, and blame customers for this one. The fact is, if the U-Haul office sends someone out with an unsafe trailer, they’re to blame. Customers shouldn’t be expected to have more knowledge about towing than the person whose job it is to rent trailers every day.

  12. The Walking Eye says:

    U-Haul’s lawyer’s attitudes are disgusting, and the locations that were renting those large trailers to people is horrible. Shame on U-Haul for renting out trailers too big for the customer’s cars and to those who didn’t know how to tow properly. Double shame on them for not ensuring that the customers were told how to correctly load things on the trailers.

    However, it’s still on you to know how much you can tow with your vehicle and which trailer you should ask for. Towing too much puts you and others at very high risk, and there’s a reason there are towing limits on each vehicle. Shame on the customers for trying to tow more than their vehicle’s rated for and not learning (either by U-Haul’s book or by other easily accessible means) how to properly tow.

    Ultimately it’s U-Haul’s (and any other moving company that does the same), but some blame has to be on the person who didn’t bother following the guidelines for their personal vehicle. If you don’t know how to properly pull a trailer, you shouldn’t be doing it, but the moving companies have a responsibility to make sure you do it properly.

  13. Imjustmatthew says:

    I’m not sure why everyone is blaming U-Haul for allowing customers to rent the trailers they want. It’s a fundamental precept of the service industry, The Customer is Always Right. I would venture that U-Haul is doing better by letting customers have what they want than Ryder and Pensake are doing trying to protect themselves from litigation. Customers renting trailers have a responsibility to know what risks they are willing to take with a larger trailer.

    Now U-Haul is probably wrong to be recommending trailers that are too heavy, but should not be preventing customers from renting what they want.

  14. Shadowfire says:

    @lilmiscantberong:
    I’m sure your husband is doing the best job he can. It doesn’t change the fact that U-Haul rents garbage and they know it. It doesn’t change that the reservation system is broken. And it doesn’t change the shady crap that they pull.

    When I moved a few years ago, I went with a U-Haul truck. The truck had some… problems. The alignment was off, forcing me to keep the wheel cocked 90 degrees to the right in order to drive straight. When braking, I had to crank the wheel 90 degrees to the left to keep from flying off the road, because the brakes were ruined as well.

    I called the local office as soon as I got home and let them know of the problems, and they refused to fix them (not severe enough to warrant a new truck, of course). I could not get another truck on such short notice, so I took it, and drove the next day to my new apartment (the drive was terrifying).

    Now, part of any rental policy is that you have to fill the tank before you drop off the vehicle, or they charge a crazy amount of money per gallon to fill it. The truck handled so poorly because of the alignment, that I ended up hitting one of the U shaped poles at the end of the pumps. Did a lot of damage to the side of the truck.

    Now the drop off place was not a U-Haul “dealer,” but a local business that held onto the U-Hauls until someone else picked them up… the guy was under contract, and couldn’t get out just yet. Of course, when I dropped off the truck, you can bet the guy at the local office asked me what happened. I told him, and he was extremely apologetic, wrote on the paperwork that there was no external damage, and documented both issues I reported.

    Well, after a month or so, I notice a charge on my credit card for several hundred dollars. Of course I call U-Haul, and they say the external damage was my fault. They also don’t care about whatever problems were in the truck… until I threaten to call a lawyer, when they promptly remove the charge from my card.

    It was a frustrating experience, and I wish I’d known about sites like uhaul-sucks.com beforehand. I used Budget last time, and the truck was wonderful, so I’d probably be ok reccomending them.

    Oh, the gas station? The pole I hit was ok, but the paint was scraped off of it. I made sure to go over during a non-peak time and repaint it for them… sure, the truck being a piece of crap was the reason I hit it, but it’s not the station’s fault either.

  15. Topcat says:

    As much as it is terrible for a company like U-Haul to knowingly rent someone equipment that is illegal and intensely dangerous for them to tow with their vehicle, I do believe there is at least some fault here for the consumer.

    Plainly: know the suggested tow weight for your vehicle. This is easily found in the manual. Compare it to the weight of the trailer. Which is bigger? If it isn’t your car, don’t tow that trailer. Regardless of what some jerkoff at U-Haul ‘guarantees’ you, you are ultimately responsible for what you put out on the road. The cops and your insurance provider aren’t going to take “the U-Haul guy said it was okay!” as the reason for why your out of control trailer took out a family in a minivan.

    This problem is a ‘do your own homework before shopping’ issue as much as it is an appalling look at an outrageous business practice.

  16. banned says:

    How can we expect U-Haul to care about both Profit and Safety!? We’re living a pipe dream here because as we have found out over the last few months, you can’t have it both ways.

  17. smarty says:

    As much as I despise U-haul and their corrupt business practices (reservations of trailers mean nothing), some blame goes to the customers. I’m sure most posters have seen U-haul equipment on the road. Now remember how many actually drove U-haul’s recommended speed limit of 45 or 50mph. Then remember how many actually drove the posted speed limits (55-75 on average). It’s surprising that everyone automatically blames U-haul for an accident when the driver is going 75 in a 65 towing a loaded trailer.

  18. nightbird says:

    Lilmiscantberong “If the equipment is not safe, it will not be rented. Period.”

    I think this guy would beg to differ:
    [www.consumerist.com]

  19. balthisar says:

    You can’t rent a trailer with an Explorer, but you still can with a Mountaineer. In case you’re obtuse, they’re the same vehicle.

  20. weave says:

    Are cars/SUVs pulling trailers supposed to pull out at the top of mountains at those “check brakes” truck pull-out sites? I always wondered that (never pulled a trailer before else I’d find out ahead of time)

    I also have always wondered what constitutes a truck for the weigh stations. Is a u-haul truck supposed to go into them?

  21. AcidReign says:

    &nbsp &nbsp I’ve never rented one of those trailers, mainly because I’ve seen numerous vehicles have transmission troubles over towing stuff like boats, etc. It may be more expensive to rent an entire truck, but not “new transmission” more expensive.

    &nbsp &nbsp Part of the blame IS on the renter. Last week, I was cruising down the interstate at 70 MPH, and had my doors blown off by a Mitsubishi Gallant towing a U-haul trailer, and the guy HAD to have been going 90. The trailer was weaving side to side, and I put two wheels onto the safety strip to avoid getting clipped. After my heart slowed back down, I marveled at how in the world he got that little of a car, with a trailer, to go that fast! It was downhill…

    &nbsp &nbsp Despite my belief that the renter should be careful towing a trailer, and/or driving an unfamiliar vehicle/load, U-haul should also do its part. Renting something unsafe or illegal to tow is evil.

  22. nucleotide says:

    @permissionmag: You were smart to slow down and fortunate to have a chance to. I wonder what are the percentage of the accidents where high speed contributed. Just take to the I5 between SF and LA and you see a ton of jerks driving way too fast while towing trailers.

  23. erica.blog says:

    @weave: I also have always wondered what constitutes a truck for the weigh stations. Is a u-haul truck supposed to go into them?

    Usually, the average U-Haul (or Penske, Ryder, etc) truck is considered not large enough. The highway department is interested in loaded semis. I can’t quote exact load limits and such because I’ve never had to look into it, but you have to be pretty high up there in tons/size before you need to pull into weigh stations.

    Alternatively, drive on the weekends or at night when the stations aren’t open ;-)

  24. Melov says:

    We rented a U-Haul truck once. When you got up to 35mph the front end would shake violently. It was extremely unsafe. We demanded a refund after we were done and told them it was unsafe. They completely ignored what we were saying to them and would not give a refund. They didn’t respond to anything we said. Right as we were about to leave another customer came in complaining about how his U-Haul truck almost got him killed.

  25. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I’ve rented a few vehicles from U-Haul over the years, all trucks. Most of them seemed fine, although I rented their $19.95 “local” mover…the truck was a real POS (Bald tires, non-functioning emergency brake, no AC, broken AM radio, grindy 4-speed transmission).

    It appears to me that the mechanical of condition U-Haul’s equipment varies widely between location and age, and that some locations will happily rent stuff that’s in poor mechanical condition if that’s all they have left.

    That being said, I too have seen people screaming down the highway at 75 MPH towing a U-Haul trailer, and no matter what condition a truck or trailer is in, something bad is bound to happen if it’s being rented by an idiot.

  26. Sudonum says:

    @lilmiscantberong:
    Did you even read the article? Or were you doing your best 5 year old impersonation with your fingers in your ears, screaming “I can’t hear you”.

    Money quote?

    “But a former U-Haul area manager said under oath that the employees’ oversight caused the ‘senseless’ tragedy.

    When he learned of the wreck, testimony showed, he called the dealership’s manager and said: ‘You just killed somebody.'”

  27. CapitalC says:

    U-Haul is THE WORST COMPANY EVAAAAR. I’ve seen more U-Haul trucks on the side of the road or involved in accidents due to mechanical malfunction or god knows what kind of other failure.

    Nobody made mention of the fact they also license all of their vehicles out of Arizona, no matter where in US / Canada they’re from… this is because they don’t have as strict vehicle inspection rules and apparently the vehicle doesn’t even need to return to Arizona to have the tags renewed!

    This isn’t the first time something like this has happened and it won’t be the last but I certainly hope it helps people open their eyes and realize that their lives are worth more than $19.95 a day.

  28. spanky says:

    My boyfriend moved out here a few years ago from another state. Originally, he’d intended to rent a trailer.

    Fortunately, being a personal injury lawyer and more importantly, a nerd, he did some research first. When he read about the safety records of those trailers, he decided he didn’t need all that stuff. He gave his things away to his neighbors and charities, and came out here with just what he could fit in his station wagon. Fortunately, I had enough crap for both of us.

    The thing is, though, he’s a middle-aged guy with access to information, and experience researching just this type of thing. He had the resources and the cynicism to look into the safety beforehand. An 18-year old heading off to college is far more likely to expect that a company that rents trailers will have some kind of system in place to ensure that the process is safe, the trailers maintained, and that the trailer they rent is appropriate for their vehicle.

  29. Buran says:

    @lilmiscantberong: That’s nice. So you’re basically accusing everyone who’s been in an accident or not received a vehicle due to U-Haul’s shoddy practices a liar?

    Why should we believe you? On the Internet you can claim to be anyone you want and you seem like a paid corporate shill to us.

    Yes, I’m saying I don’t believe you.

  30. Buran says:

    @TWinter: Wait, when the hell did U-Haul start saying their reservations are only good for 4 hours? It takes a lot longer to move a household than 4 hours!

    I’d be on the phone to my credit card company if they tried to charge me for 2 days if I rented a truck for 1, used it for a day or less, and got doublecharged. Can we say “chargeback”?

    And their site says nothing about “rentals only good for 4 hours at a time” either.

  31. Buran says:

    @balthisar: I’d like to see someone who owns both try to reserve the trailer with the explorer, get refused, go back with the mountaineer, get it, and then turn around and sue u-haul.

    Refusing a customer just based on the badge on their vehicle, WHICH CAN SAFELY TOW, is bullshit.

  32. tcp100 says:

    @lilmiscantberong: Challenge me to conduct my own investigation?

    How about the trailer I rented in 1997 that had a left wheel seize up, and subsequently blow said wheel’s tire, and come to a sparking, screeching halt on I-70 in the middle of bumf*ck kansas at midnight? Yep, luckily I stopped in time and didn’t have a soft shoulder, or else it would have been more than my college crap that got destroyed.

    Oh, and how about the one I rented in 2002, which had no functioning lights (despite the fact that the depot said they just fixed it), and a violent pull to the right, causing it to swing out every 30 seconds or so?

    Or maybe it was the truck that my brother rented in 2005, with brakes so bad that he had to use engine compression just to get it back to the depot and give them a “WTF?” shouting match, having the manager contend that he just “didn’t know how to drive a truck”. Umm, choo-choo, cluetrain – you’re not renting to CDL drivers, you’re renting to average Joes – that, and my brother has driven larger trucks through the ice in Wisconsin dozens of times. Idiots.

    Yeah. U-Haul. Pinnacle of safety.

  33. silenuswise says:

    First of all, thanks to all the astute Consumerist regulars here, I don’t need to waste my time refuting the inane “lilmissdefinitelywrong” comment. Instead, I will post this bizarre claim of U-Haul chairman Shoen:

    “Shoen said sway-related accidents almost always result from customer mistakes, primarily failing to load the trailer properly and exceeding U-Haul’s recommended top speed of 45 mph.”

    WTF? Recommended top speed of 45 mph?! Here’s my question: did he follow this comment with maniacal laughter and crazy eyes?

    What a joke–and not a funny one.

  34. tcp100 says:

    @silenuswise: Hah, oh yeah, I got the same excuse when my tire blew. The funny thing is, I couldn’t get the truck up above 52 or so. The “45 mph” thing, I think, is U-Haul’s universal excuse. They KNOW everyone will exceed it, as it’s an unreasonably low speed for someone moving cross states, and therefore they can disclaim all liability. “Did you go 50 in the trailer? Oh. Not our fault.”

  35. Sudonum says:

    @tcp100:

    From the article
    “Shoen said the 45-mph ceiling was meant to ‘create a compensatory attitude.’ Customers may not go 45, but ‘maybe they’ll go 55 or 60,’ he said.”

  36. TechnoDestructo says:

    I drove a Uhaul truck (rented by my employer…my university’s housing department) that had zero tread on the tires (absolutely none).

    In winter. In Alaska.

    I didn’t notice (because honestly who checks these things) until AFTER I’d slid into a dumpster.

    It had Oregon plates, so I think I can guess why it was that way.


    I’ll never do business with Uhaul.

  37. silenuswise says:

    @tcp100: Not to mention the question of safety: driving 45 mph on an interstate is actually extremely hazardous. Anyone who doubts this should give it a try sometime. Several years ago, my “local-only” car was a piece of junk 1985 Buick LeSabre which hit a top speed of 50 mph. One day I had to take the interstate for a short stretch, and it was the most stressful, dangerous driving experience I’d ever had. I wonder how many states have considered raising the minimum interstate highway speed limit from 45 to at least 50 mph, based on the accident risk when competing with drivers moving 65-90 mph.

  38. beyond says:

    I’ve never had a problem with a u-haul trailer. Is it u-hauls fault if you put a tow bar on your car and haul stuff outside its rated range?

    Most people with u-haul trailers I see on the open highways are traveling upwards of 75mph. U-Haul can’t do anything about customer stupidity.

    Why should uhaul be responsible for educating the public? Any 18 year old going off to college can Google their vehicles weight limits and proper towing procedures in 5 minutes (or read the freaking manual, every vehicle has a section dedicated to towing). There’s no excuse.

  39. TechnoDestructo says:

    In Uhaul’s defense….their vehicles MUST be safe. They’ve been making enough money on customers not crashing them that they’ve been able to survive at least thirty years of these lawsuits. If that isn’t evidence of how low the risk is, I don’t know what is!

  40. tcp100 says:

    @Sudonum: Sure, but this does not stop them from using it as the FIRST excuse when something does go wrong. Same concept, different direction. “We KNOW you went over 45..”

  41. TechnoDestructo says:

    @beyond:

    It is Uhaul’s fault if they rent you a vehicle in unsafe condition, despite their own policies which forbid it.

    It is DEFINITELY Uhaul’s fault if they IGNORE WARNINGS FROM CUSTOMERS about the unsafe condition of a vehicle and continue to rent it without fixing it. (That’s their bread and butter!)

    It is Uhaul’s fault if they rent you a trailer you can’t tow, against their own policies, because IT IS THEIR ENTIRE BUSINESS TO KNOW ABOUT TOWING.
    And there are plenty of cars out there where you will have a tough time finding detailed specs online, and they may not own the owner’s manual, and they may not have any way of knowing if the vehicle is optioned for towing. Uhaul has this information…well, except for knowing the optional equipment on a particular vehicle

  42. tcp100 says:

    @beyond: I drive from Washington, DC to Denver twice a year.

    I have rarely seen a u-haul going 75mph. It’s hard to get ‘em up that fast, the trucks, or when you’re towing a trailer.

    The fact that most u-haul trailers are rented by non corporate stores tells you something. Every one of the ones I’ve rented have come from a gas station, public storage facility, or some other vaguely-related business where they just rotate the trailers in and out. I know they’re supposed to make it back to the “hubs” eventually, but I’ve seen some NASTY trailers in my time, and I probably used them 7-8 times over 15 years before I got wise and switched to Budget/Penske (or Ryder when they were still renting to consumers).

  43. alhypo says:

    I think U-haul is clearly liable for their failure to properly maintain units and provide trailers without brakes, for failing to consistently distribute safety guidelines, and for their obvious tendency to put profits ahead of safety.

    However, there was a reoccurring theme in the personal accounts presented in the piece: they were often not wearing seatbelts. Wear you damn seatbelts, people. So rarely do they make things worse that it is absurd to even think about going without them.

    Oh, and practice maintaining a constant velocity, especially when going downhill. Aside from the obvious complications resulting from a trailer it is more dangerous in general because your vehicle is less stable and the distance required to complete a stop is greater.

    Driving requires active participation. In most European countries licenses are expensive and require the driver to complete extensive training courses. Driver education in this country is a joke, so we must take it upon ourselves to develop our skills.

  44. erockO says:

    penske is the bomb. their the only company I would EVER rent a truck from. They’re late model, clean and reliable and CHEAPER than u-Haul

  45. TWinter says:

    @Buran: This is something the local U-Haul place in my town does and it only applies for a couple of days at the end of July – beginning of August – it’s a college town, no one rents places month to month and EVERY lease in town starts August 1. I did manage to move all of my crap in under four hours because it was all boxed up and ready when I went to get the truck, I had a friend helping and didn’t want to waste her entire day with the move, so I was ready to go. It’s been a couple of years, but I think there was an extra contract that had the four hour limit in addition to the regular contract that the computer spits out. Very shady, probably illegal, but people (me included) put up with shit when they have to move and it’s take the shit or else.

  46. acambras says:

    After reading countless U-Haul horror stories from fellow Consumerist readers, I steered clear of U-Haul when we did our last move. Moving day is stressful enough without having to worry about poorly-maintained equipment.

    We ended up renting from Penske. It cost a little more than U-Haul, but we got free miles, and the truck was IMMACULATE — both in cleanliness and operating condition.

  47. Bay State Darren says:

    @TechnoDestructo: The tobacco industry’s lasted much longer. Does that mean tobacco must be safe? (Not trying to turn this into a debate/discussion on the tobacco industry, just saying that with good lawyers, companies can survive anything!)

  48. Buran says:

    @TWinter: I think someone needs to complain to corporate. Corporate would probably slap these people down. Hard.

  49. WTRickman says:

    Back in 2000, I rented a UHaul to empty a warehouse for one of my employees who was domiciled in Tulsa (I was in Springdale, AR).

    I was given three different trucks (all late 80’s model Fords) before I found one in which the steering was tight enough for me to keep on the road. Once I got that fourth truck (which was a bit newer) I drove it to Tulsa. Just as I pulled into town, it started raining, and I discovered the wipers did not work – then, in all the fuss, it began to overheat. I finally was able to pull over safely at a gas station and call UHaul. In about 30 mins they sent a guy over in a brand-new shiny UHaul. I said “Oh, my gosh, Thank You! Finally a nice truck. Maybe I can get this job done.” The guy says “Oh, no, sir. This is the truck I carry parts in.”

    I haven’t used them since.

  50. cac67 says:

    Melov, they blew off you telling them the truck is unsafe because it clearly wasn’t too unsafe for you to continue using it. If it really was that unsafe, you would have called them rather than finishing up and complaining about it.

    I’m not going to try to defend uhaul. I worked for them for 5 years, and haven’t stepped foot back on a uhaul lot since. I’ve moved twice with penske, but wouldn’t bother with uhaul.

  51. beyond says:

    I’m referring to the trailers, not the trucks. I agree they need to maintain the trucks, and even their trailers, but its not uhauls fault if someone rents a trailer their car (or the load) can’t handle. Most trailers are just rented from gas stations anyway, there are no ‘uhaul’ employees. Its your responsibility to get the trailer you need, that will work with your vehicle, and to operate it safely. If you can’t do that, hire someone else to move it for you.

  52. endless says:

    You know, i would rent deadly trailers.


    because dead customers dont post here!

  53. cryrevolution says:

    @spanky:

    I agree. Most, but not all, college kids might remember to check out the specs on their vehicle and how much it can tow, if they know how to in the first place.

    None of these uhaul supporters and consumer bashers can tell me that it is always solely the fault of the customer not knowing their specs. Shouldn’t it be the responsibility of the company renting these trailers out to customers to know how large or how small they should rent out? These are THEIR trailers, btw.

  54. Shadowfire says:

    @lilmiscantberong: I’m sure your husband is doing the best job he can. It doesn’t change the fact that U-Haul rents garbage and they know it. It doesn’t change that the reservation system is broken. And it doesn’t change the shady crap that they pull.

    When I moved a few years ago, I went with a U-Haul truck. The truck had some… problems. The alignment was off, forcing me to keep the wheel cocked 90 degrees to the right in order to drive straight. When braking, I had to crank the wheel 90 degrees to the left to keep from flying off the road, because the brakes were ruined as well.

    I called the local office as soon as I got home and let them know of the problems, and they refused to fix them (not severe enough to warrant a new truck, of course). I could not get another truck on such short notice, so I took it, and drove the next day to my new apartment (the drive was terrifying).

    Now, part of any rental policy is that you have to fill the tank before you drop off the vehicle, or they charge a crazy amount of money per gallon to fill it. The truck handled so poorly because of the alignment, that I ended up hitting one of the U shaped poles at the end of the pumps. Did a lot of damage to the side of the truck.

    Now the drop off place was not a U-Haul “dealer,” but a local business that held onto the U-Hauls until someone else picked them up… the guy was under contract, and couldn’t get out just yet. Of course, when I dropped off the truck, you can bet the guy at the local office asked me what happened. I told him, and he was extremely apologetic, wrote on the paperwork that there was no external damage, and documented both issues I reported.

    Well, after a month or so, I notice a charge on my credit card for several hundred dollars. Of course I call U-Haul, and they say the external damage was my fault. They also don’t care about whatever problems were in the truck… until I threaten to call a lawyer, when they promptly remove the charge from my card.

    It was a frustrating experience, and I wish I’d known about sites like uhaul-sucks.com beforehand. I used Budget last time, and the truck was wonderful, so I’d probably be ok reccomending them.

    Oh, the gas station? The pole I hit was ok, but the paint was scraped off of it. I made sure to go over during a non-peak time and repaint it for them… sure, the truck being a piece of crap was the reason I hit it, but it’s not the station’s fault either.

  55. jacques says:

    My favourite UHaul experience was with their 2nd largest truck. A move from Connecticut to Chicago with brakes that grinded every time I would apply them, and transmission that wouldn’t let me go above 60, and no working turn signals. In the middle of nowhere that was no problem, but hitting rush hour in Chicago and trying to make lane changes was nigh impossible. Both myself and my passenger were making hand signals and trying to get other drivers’ attentions.

    Dropped it off at the party rental store that they told us to drop off at and told the fellow working there. He said “Sure, it’ll get fixed immediately”, then gave a wink and started laughing.

  56. TheJollyGreenGiant says:

    I worked at UHaul for a while.

    The training process and requirements are pretty crazy (tough).
    The place i worked at was in a big ghetto city and we always got the worst of the worst when it came to vehicles and trailers.

    However, we were very stringent when it came to safety. If it wasnt fit for the road it wasnt going out.

    The downside though? It’s the honor system. You rely on the employees to be honest in making judgment calls about each piece of equipment. I did my job well, but I knew a few people that just went through the QC checklist without even looking at the trailer/truck (especially on a day when they are in a bad mood or tired).

    Corporate takes alot of pride (honest or not) in running the company like a family business, and our regional manager was always very tough during inspections.

    So yeah… in a situation like this I find the bad apples at the bottom of the company ladder to blame for being slackers.

  57. TheJollyGreenGiant says:

    Just an additional note. The one thing I REALLY HATED about working for UHaul… is that 75% of the trucks on our lot were 1989 Ford Diesels… in 2003… seriously UHaul… wtf???

    Penske only keeps trucks on for 3 years before selling them off.

  58. bnissan97 says:

    From this text:

    When accidents do occur, U-Haul places the blame squarely with the customer, who is expected to learn how to safely tow a trailer from a detailed safety manual. Yet the manual is rarely distributed with trailer rentals, and there is no Spanish version. The Chairman of U-Haul, Edward Shoen says that a Spanish version is “a nice idea,” but “we don’t have a big demand for it.”


    Were in America, the foundation of our country was in English. There should be not even a thought of having them in Spanish.

  59. DearEditor says:

    Here in Canada U-Haul trucks and trailers are all registered in Arizona, like the USA. Turns out, the “Canadian” fleet is as old and busted as the USA vehicles. Did someone mention “busted”? In October of 2005 CTV television investigative program W-5 looked into U-Haul’s safety record:

    [www.ctv.ca]

    Reporters rented a total of thirteen trucks in four provinces; all failed provincial safety inspections. The truck rented in Calgary was deemed too dangerous to be on the road at all, and had to be towed away. U-Haul’s Canadian VP, Claude Boucher, was refreshingly candid:”There’s no excuse for that, there really isn’t.” He added “We’re not proud of our safety record.”

    I’m guessing Mr. Boucher doesn’t work for U-Haul anymore.

  60. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @DearEditor: Interesting, yet not surprising. I wonder what our U-Haul schill has to say about that? Oh, that’s right, it must be the customer’s fault that the half the trucks failed OPP inspection.

  61. ericstoltz says:

    “their lives are worth more than $19.95 a day.”

    So when did anyone really pay $19.95 for one of U-Haul’s $19.95 “deals?” I rented a $19.95 pick-up from Uhaul for about three hours, declining their extra “services” such as insurance (I already have it, thank you very much). The final tab: $120.

    I could have saved part of that by filling up the tank, but I was racing back to try to avoid a parking ticket for my own car which was parked on the street in front of their store, because they wouldn’t let me park on their property.

    I will NEVER use U-haul again. They are scammers and as I read in the Times this morning, unsafe as well. The next time I needed a pick-up, I borrowed one from a friend. Maybe an imposition, but at lest I was alive, not lied to and not fleeced for $120.

  62. WTRickman says:

    I have no proof – but I’ve heard for years – and your stories corroborate this:

    UHaul has no maintenance program (outside of oil changes) – they run the vehicles until they break. Then they fix them.

  63. econobiker says:

    Do have to put some of the onus on the customers- I’ve seen enough already-overloaded POS cars/trucks towing U-haul trailers.

    Somewhere I picked up that the U-Haul franchisees send the badly maintained “corporate” owned trucks across country since they don’t want to have the better trucks leave their local area.And as for U-haul trucks I will never use them- Penske all the way. Also Penske sometimes has lift equipped trucks which are easier to rent on the weekends when businesses aren’t using them. These are good if you have heavy stuff to move (boxes of books, car parts) or are in a city with not alot of room to run a ramp out.

    The best move I made was with a Penske from the Southeastern US to the Northeastern US. They practically gave the truck ( the largest non-cdl 32′ I think ) away since I was going against the travel of most rental trucks. And the best part was that I loaded my car INSIDE the truck along with all of my crappy furniture. Probably not legal but it saved the dolly rental or wear on the the car if towed with a two wheel dolly. And I had loading docks already picked out at both ends of the move.

  64. sunwukong says:

    @DearEditor: There’s been a followup to the CTV report.

    Long and short of it: very little has gotten better and the government is still giving them all the time in the world to improve.

    Next deadline: Sept 15/07 or else the government says they’ll suspend the business license for 15 days.

  65. ronmelancon says:

    Please, Please, Please this type of problem is only the tip of the iceburg. Please go to http://www.dangeroustrailers.com for more problems that face the UITLITY TRAILER INDUSTRY. Over 400 people are killed a year due to PASSENGER CARS TOWING trailers. More people have been killed by trailers comming unhiched than the U HAUL problem. Here is my letter to the WASHINGTON POST that was published.
    Safer Driving on the Bay Bridge

    Wednesday, May 16, 2007; A14

    The Bay Bridge accident is an example of our federal government’s lack of oversight. I traveled to Washington more than 3 1/2 years ago and spoke to officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with the help of my congressman, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.). I passionately encouraged NHTSA officials to take action on utility trailers.

    Several problems imperil public safety. The outdated federal guideline that deals with lighting standards, which has not been updated since 1969, does not require working taillights, inspections, and training on how to tow and how to avoid hitching problems.

    The guideline permits anybody to build a homemade trailer. It provides oversight only on utility trailers weighing more than 3,000 pounds. By producing a trailer that is 2,999 pounds, a company can avoid federal oversight.

    On average, 450 people are killed a year in accidents involving utility trailers. NHTSA should do something about this immediately.

    RON J. MELANCON

    Glen Allen, Va.

    ·

  66. DearEditor says:

    @sunwukong:

    Thanks for finding the update. Apparently, our governments, North and South, aren’t taking this seriously enough. We need a Consumerist-style ire-raising, editorial-page-blackening, public outcry. Every level of government has some involvement in transportation; let’s rattle some cages.

  67. ronmelancon says:
  68. ronmelancon says:

    Dear Sunwukong:

    I’ve been doing something about these types of trailers for over 4 years. I have all the evidence and proof to support my position.

    Go to http://www.dangeroustrailers.com thanks

  69. ronmelancon says:

    Go here to see more trailers.

    WHY DON’T THEY HAVE WORKING LIGHTS??

    why are they painted black??

    Why don’t they get inspected??

    and why do we allow anyone to build one just so long as it will carry under 3,000.
    [www.youtube.com]

  70. beavis88 says:

    I have to say, it *is* the customer’s fault most of the time – by now you ought to know that you’re going to get screwed if you rent from U-Haul. Pony up the extra money and rent from Penske. They are definitely (substantially) more expensive, but in this case, I believe you get what you pay for.

  71. startertan says:

    @TWinter: Agreed. When I moved 2 years ago I went online and booked a U-Haul. The website asked me how long I needed it for. I said 8 hours since I was moving 30+ miles in the opposite direction. I get there and the pr!ck behind the counter says I can only have it for 4 hours. WTF is the point of having an online reservation and asking me for the time needed if they’re just going to ignore it anyway. Jack@sses!

    I’m moving again but thankfully the company is paying for movers.

  72. jeffj-nj says:

    Ya know, I want to be upset with U-Haul about this, I do, but then I read even the slightest bit of the article (as in, just the part quoted in this story right here on Consumerist) and I gotta say, no, the fault lies squarely on the drivers who are renting trailers which are too large for their vehicle. It is your responsibility to read your owner’s manual, not U-Haul. If you wanna do something stupid, and U-Haul lets you, oh well; you shouldn’t’ve been doing something stupid.

    Ya know how much my car can tow? 2,000lbs. I checked.

    Ya know what U-Haul will rent me? Who gives a fuck. If it’s over 2,000lbs, I don’t want it.

  73. zero_o says:

    Uhaul is awful, they never repair the damage that people cause to the trucks and they (for the most part) don’t care what condition the trucks they are sending out are in. I was rented (for a move from ohio to florida) a manual transmission truck that couldn’t make 50mph (empty) got about 5mpg (not kidding) had over 400,000 miles on it + no A/C.

    We did not make the move with it, fortunatly the Uhaul that rented it to us knew it was a POS and took it back without much issue

  74. apotheosis says:

    I guess I’ve just been extraordinarily lucky in my many unwitting dealings with this heinous bastion of corporate evil. My only complaint about any of the many vehicles I’ve ever rented from them was a funny smell in the vehicle cabin, which could just as easily have been attributed to my passenger/assistant.

    The one Penske truck I ever rented, on the other hand, blew a head gasket halfway between Wichita and the dark side of the f’n moon. I took that as a sign.

    If you wanna do something stupid, and U-Haul lets you, oh well; you shouldn’t’ve been doing something stupid.

    And yet, if U-Haul did refuse to rent someone a trailer based on a gross discrepancy between their vehicle’s towing capacity and their desire to get all their shit in one load, it’d take about three nanoseconds for that customer to file a lawsuit claiming some sort of discrimination was behind it.

  75. jeffj-nj says:

    @apotheosis: “And yet, if U-Haul did refuse to rent someone a trailer based on a gross discrepancy between their vehicle’s towing capacity and their desire to get all their shit in one load, it’d take about three nanoseconds for that customer to file a lawsuit claiming some sort …”

    It’s so true.

    Listen, if you ask U-Haul for something, and they provide it, and you pay for it, that’s it; you’re done; end of transaction (well, assuming you return it). The point is, if it wasn’t meant for you, it’s your fault for asking for it. Period.

    I’m all for holding corporations liable when it’s fair to do so, but this just strikes me as a case of our ever dwindling senses of personal responsibility.

  76. Sudonum says:

    @jeffj-nj:
    “I’m all for holding corporations liable when it’s fair to do so, but this just strikes me as a case of our ever dwindling senses of personal responsibility.”

    Why don’t you read the rest of the article then?

    Like this part:
    “Shoen acknowledged that U-Haul was not in compliance with the state motor vehicle codes but suggested it was a trifling matter. To make his point, he pulled out a news clipping about a 201-year-old North Carolina law barring unmarried couples from living together.”

    And this part:
    “EXPERTS who examined the trailer for Sternberg’s family found that its brakes were badly corroded and inoperable.

    A month earlier, a customer had rented the same trailer in Missouri, and the U-Haul agent told her “it had no brakes,” she said in a deposition.

    By the time Sternberg rented it, the trailer had not had a thorough safety check in more than eight months, according to its U-Haul inspection sticker. It had been rented 19 times in that period.

    Under U-Haul’s rules, the trailer should have undergone a “safety certification,” including a check of its brakes, tires and other essential parts, at least every 30 days”

    And then there’s this part
    “In 1986, U-Haul relaxed the rule, requiring that the tow vehicle be only 750 pounds heavier than the one behind it. Over the next few years, the company increased the maximum weight of vehicles that could be hauled on dollies, and lifted a ban on towing with small jeeps and SUVs.

    The new policy boosted dolly rentals. But it conflicted with the guidelines of Dethmers Manufacturing Co., an Iowa firm that produced many of the U-Haul dollies used in the late 1980s and 1990s.

    Dethmers recommended that the tow vehicle weigh at least 1,000 pounds more than the dolly and the second vehicle combined.”


    I’m a firm believer in personal responsibility, but that also applies to corporations too.

  77. spanky says:

    @apotheosis: @jeffj-nj:

    While I find your fertile imaginations and your childlike sense of wonder charming and all, I’m having a hard time believing you guys are serious.

    While pretty much anyone can file a lawsuit for pretty much anything, the actual risk of a successful lawsuit based on small car discrimination is pretty much nonexistent. Particularly compared with the standard, run of the mill negligence claims.

    Nevermind the fact that you’re resorting to making arguments based on some bizarre speculative lawsuit, are you seriously arguing that the risk of a ‘hurt feelings’ type lawsuit is greater than their existing risk from negligence claims (which tend to include actual damages)?

  78. jeffj-nj says:

    to spanky: I cut the “discrimination” part out of my quoted response because I did assume that part wasn’t meant seriously. But, yeah, I think if someone wanted to rent a trailer and they were denied that trailer because U-Haul said it was too big for their car, that person would (and, fwiw, I’d agree with them) say “It’s my car, and my decision. I’m giving you the money, aren’t I? Let me decided what my car can haul.” Would they sue? I don’t know. In today’s lawsuit-happy society, we’re rapidly approaching a time when complain and sue are pretty much synonymous anyway.

    to Sudonum: Even reading the parts you quoted, I still can’t bring myself to blame U-Haul for these things. If U-Haul told their customers, “this trailer weighs 2000 pounds” when it really weighed 3000, that would be a problem. If U-Haul told their customers, “oh sure, yeah, the brakes work fine” when in actuality they don’t, that would a problem – a huge problem.

    But, from what I’m seeing here, that isn’t what happened. They came right out and said “this trailer doesn’t have brakes” and then some woman rented it anyway. Are you freaking kidding me? Who rents a trailer without brakes? I mean, unless you’ve done some serious modification to your existing brakes, and even then, the risk of a jack-knifed trailer would still bother me. She knew the trailer had no brakes and rented it anyway. Her fault. Period.

    In other instances, they “relaxed their rules” and allowed customers with cars within x pounds of the trailer instead of within y pounds, and you think that’s something I missed in my first post? I addressed that issue exactly in my first post. My car can tow 2000 pounds. I know this because I checked in the owner’s manual; every car comes with one. Based on this, I don’t give a fuck what U-Haul’s rules are. I’m not gonna tow more than 2000 pounds.

    I don’t expect everyone to be a physics major or mechanical engineer, but I do expect people to realize that heavy things are harder to control. I almost wish I had a 4 year old, just so that I could point out even she knows this.

  79. spanky says:

    @jeffj-nj:

    Urban legends aside, you still generally have to have some kind of legitimate claim for a successful lawsuit. Refusing to rent a trailer to someone who cannot safely operate it is not plausible grounds for a lawsuit; and again, even if there were some genuine risk of such an absurd scenario playing out, the risks of negligence lawsuits would outweigh it by far. They are knowingly putting not just their customer at risk, but everyone else on the road as well. Particularly if they’re not informing their customers of the risks.

    Show me a single successful lawsuit that bears any resemblance to your imagined scenario, and I’ll show you thousands of successful negligence suits.

    Would you also take umbrage at U-Haul for refusing to rent trailers to ten year olds, drunk people, and people without drivers’ licenses?

  80. apotheosis says:

    While I find your fertile imaginations and your childlike sense of wonder charming and all, I’m having a hard time believing you guys are serious.

    You’re right, I’m actually a paid footsoldier of the U*Haul Public Relations Militia. I was this close to winning over the entire Consumerist readership, but you just had to go and call me out, you clever little yard ape.

    It was the “three nanoseconds” thing that tipped you off, wasn’t it? I should’ve gone with something more plausible, to make it less apparent that it was more idle speculation than actual reflection of a probability.

    Curses, foiled again. A winner is you. O_o

  81. jeffj-nj says:

    Come to think of it… you’re right… they are endangering other people by allowing these to go out when they know full well (even if the customer doesn’t) that they shouldn’t. I definitely stand corrected, even before the completely ridiculous question posed later, which I won’t even bother to answer (since now you’re talking about breaking legal laws instead of ones of physics, which is not at all what we have been discussing). Honestly, I had not considered the dangers to others which could easily be avoided by U-Haul not allowing idiots access to their potentially dangerous equipment.

    I do stand by the assertion that anyone who tries to tow more than their car can tow (or, really, do anything their car can’t do – take high speed turns in a pick-up, race up a mountain in a sports car, fit 7 people in a sedan, etc) are morons. And, if given the chance, U-Haul should do their part by at least trying to protect the rest of us from these people. That is an excellent point.

  82. Android8675 says:

    Budget will forever get my business. I had to 1-way rent a truck and car trailer from Austin to San Fran.

    Went to get the truck and was freaked because the place looked like a disaster, but upon getting to the back I was relieved to see some of the nicest looking moving trucks. Shop owner said he used to rent uHaul, but dropped them because the trucks just were crap and his business suffered for it.

    I got a truck with less than 1500 miles on it, drove great, plenty of legroom, and the trailer (thinking I’d get one of those trailers that drags your car behind you) turned out to be a flat bed that my Isuzu Rodeo (93) fit nicely onto and never gave me any reason to dread.

    Drop off was a cinch and we made it to San Francisco about 6-8 hours ahead of schedule. Yeah, never rent from uHaul, ever again.

  83. jeffj-nj says:

    Ya know, I wrote a pretty lengthy post which I kinda liked, but the system seems to have eaten in. The short version is that you’re right, spanky; I had not considered the safety of others. U-Haul is allowing these idiots to put other people in danger, when they just as easily could (and should) not.

    I had more to say, but don’t feel like typing it again.

  84. Sudonum says:

    @jeffj-nj:
    Apparently you read a different article than I did.
    Quote 1:
    U-Haul is in violation of at least 14 states vehicle codes by renting trailers that are required to have brakes. They do not. In response to this the CEO brought up the law about couple living together in NC.

    I happen to own a trailer that DOES NOT HAVE BRAKES. OH NOES!!! However it is small enough that NONE of the 50 states require it to. How can a company rent equipment that is in violation of the law and then blame the renter for not checking their states motor vehicle code before they rent it. How about trailers WITH brakes but no brake fluid in the master cylinder? When you rent a car do you check the fluid levels before you drive it off the lot?

    Quote 2:
    This quote refers to U-Haul not completing safety inspections on trailers as their guidelines require. Also not repairing issues that have been brought to their attention by customers returning defective equipment. The woman thought something was wrong with the trailer, she had the U-Haul mechanic check it out. He said it was safe. It wasn’t. She got into an accident. Would she have gotten into the accident if the trailer had been safe and she was pulling it with an undersized vehicle? Maybe, but we’ll never know.

    Could you please show me the part I missed about her renting a trailer after being told that the brakes didn’t work? This is what I found:

    “They noticed the trailer was in “horrible condition,” Lemons recalled. Springs in the suspension were so corroded that they resembled “stalactites,” he said.

    Sternberg called a U-Haul helpline, and a representative agreed that she should exchange the trailer. But the next morning – Sept. 3 – an employee at a local U-Haul center made some minor adjustments and sent her on her way. Hollander said Sternberg was “agitated” about the trailer’s condition but eager to get going.”

    Nothing about her KNOWING that the trailer brakes were not working prior to accepting the trailer.


    Quote 3:
    It’s not a matter of your vehicles towing capacity. I can tow 8500 lbs with my truck. However that DOES NOT mean that I can tow a vehicle weighing 8500 lbs with the car dolly. My vehicle must weigh at least 1000 lbs more than the combination of towed vehicle and car dolly. My truck does not weigh 8500 lbs. They relaxed the rules on the car dollies in order to pump up rentals. Against the wishes of the manufacturer. They didn’t give a damn about whether these vehicle combinations were safe, they wanted to boost their income. And yes, as the article pointed out, the renter could lie about the vehicle they were going to tow with it. But 2 things come to mind, apparently people lying about tow vehicles wasn’t much of a problem before because their rental volume was small. Also why not have the renter sign a Hold Harmless stating that the renter is aware that the tow vehicle has to be x number of pounds heavier than the one being towed. Lord knows you sign enough crap now when you rent anything whats one more piece of paper shoved into the mix?

    The article I read also pointed out that Penske and Budget only rent car dollies for use with their rental trucks. Not for use with your personal vehicle.

    Also regarding your comment in your first post about lawsuits from being denied rentals, think about this one:
    U-Haul won’t rent trailers for use on an Ford Explorer. However I haven’t seen any lawsuits from Explorer owners due to that. And as another poster stated, they will rent to a Mercury Mariner owner. Funny, because it’s the same vehicle.

  85. ronmelancon says:

    Dear Readers!!

    here is a false quote In general, the state regulations say that trailers below 3,000 pounds must have brakes if they exceed 40% of the tow vehicle’s weight. By that standard, two popular, un-braked U-Haul cargo trailers are frequently in violation of the rules.

    If the trailer is under 3,000 pounds no brakes are required. Every state has a different set of rules.

  86. ronmelancon says:

    Please go here to see this video.

    this happend last month. The hitch is from u haul.

    [www.wusa9.com]

  87. ronmelancon says:

    Victims Of Bay Bridge Crash Identified

    Related Video
    Bruce Leshan Reports On The Victims (Friday)

    Bruce Leshan Reports On The Investigation

    Nancy Yamada Reports On The Traffic

    Jan Fox Reports -The Morning After

    Audrey Barnes Reports On The Investigation (Friday)


    Related Links
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    Created:5/10/2007 4:39:07 PM
    Last Updated:5/11/2007 10:05:42 PM


    BALTIMORE (AP) — Two-way traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge does not appear to have been the cause of a multi-vehicle accident that resulted in three deaths and five injuries, authorities said Friday, but AAA Mid-Atlantic questioned whether the traffic flow made the crash worse.

    With questions about the safety of the two-way traffic being raised, Maryland Transportation Authority Police Chief Marcus Brown underscored that a runaway trailer appeared to cause the
    seven-vehicle crash.

    “An important point to make is that from the current investigation, it does not appear that the accident was the result of two-way traffic on the bay bridge,” Brown said.

    But AAA Mid-Atlantic said a barrier between lanes may have prevented multiple crashes.

    “While it’s too early to say, it is quite likely that had the counter-flows of traffic been barrier separated, the multiple collisions that made this crash so horrific may not have
    occurred,” said Ragina Averella, a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.


    Police identified the dead as Randall R. Orff, 47, and his son, Jonathan R. Orff, 19, both of Millington.

    Also killed was James H. Ingle, 44, of Preston.


    The Orffs were riding eastbound in a pickup, and Ingle was driving westbound in a car. The SUV that was pulling the trailer that came unhitched also was heading westbound, as were the other
    four vehicles involved in the crash.

    Averella urged the state to “examine viable ways to barrier separate the traffic flows when mixing directions on one bridge.”

    Brown said an investigation was continuing, and an “after action” report would be finished in about two months. Asked about discussions relating to creating a median between the traffic
    flows, Brown said: “all of that will be discussed in the after action.”

    Although Brown emphasized it was the trailer that caused the accident, he said it will take further investigation to determine whether two-way traffic made the accident worse or harder to avoid once the trailer became unhitched.

    “I believe we’ll have those questions answered once we’re finished with the investigation,” Brown said.

    Investigators have yet to determine what caused the trailer to break loose. Wind was not considered to be a factor, Brown said.

    Police have video footage from the bridge, but it does not shed light on how the trailer came loose, Brown said.

    The driver of the SUV, a man police declined to identify, has not been charged or ticketed. Although tests for drugs or alcohol in the driver had not been finished, Brown said the man had not
    showed signs of being intoxicated.

    Of the five injured, one was in stable condition at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The other four had minor injuries.

    The accident happened shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday at the start of the bridge’s westbound span. In all, seven vehicles crashed, including a tanker hauling animal fat and a tow truck.

    The bridge, officially known as the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge, is the main artery connecting Maryland’s Eastern Shore with the rest of the state. In 1996, three people were killed on the same span when an 18-wheel truck smashed into the back of a stalled sedan.

  88. ronmelancon says:

    Who trained this person to Tow???????????
    What quailifications did this person have??

    more people are killed due to trailers comming unchiched then the rollover with the firestone tire recall. 274 people died from that. Where is the National Highway Transportation admn???

  89. ronmelancon says:

    My state in VA is the only state that requires REFLECTOR TAPE ON THE BACK. The company Called CARRY ON TRAILERS TRIED TO KILL THE LAW BECAUSE THEY DID NOT WANT TO SPEND 8 DOLLARS TO IMPROVE THEIR PRODUCT.

    Go here to see how much 8 dollars improves these trailers.

    [www.dangeroustrailers.com]

  90. ronmelancon says:

    THIS JUST HAPPNED LAST WEEK…..

    State says trailer in fatal wreck didn’t meet codes

    By Leslie Slape
    Jun 15, 2007 – 09:05:28 am PDT

    Make text smaller Press A+ to make text Larger or Press A- to make text smaller Make text larger
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    A trailer involved in a fatal accident did not have an emergency breakaway device that would have locked its brakes when it came loose from the truck, according to a commercial vehicle inspection report.

    John Schill’s 1984 flatbed trailer detached from his 1971 Kenworth dump truck in the 2300 block of Pacific Way, Longview, on Dec. 23, according to Longview police. Investigators said the trailer crossed the center line and hit an oncoming car driven by Henry Bonkowski, 87, of Longview, who died several hours later.

    Schill, 69, of Kelso, has pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide. Charging documents allege that Schill drove a motor vehicle in a reckless manner and/or with disregard for the safety of others, and that this action led to Bonkowski’s fatal injury. Schill’s trial is set for Aug. 20.

    The Washington State Patrol’s commercial vehicle enforcement division examined the truck and trailer after the accident, finding nine equipment violations. Six of the violations, all involving the truck, were not serious enough to take the vehicle out of service, said Steve Gee of the commercial vehicle division.

    The three most serious violations, all involving the trailer, were:

    • Trailer brake lights inoperative on both sides.

    • Electric trailer brakes inoperative. • No operable emergency breakaway device on trailer.

    Gee said he could not tell by looking at the report if the brakes were inoperative before the crash or if they became inoperative as a result of the crash.

    However, the lack of breakaway device meant the trailer could not automatically stop when it came loose from the truck, he said. There should have been a cable coming out of a black box on the side of the trailer linking the truck’s master cylinder to the trailer’s electric brakes, he said. When the trailer detached, the resultant pull on the cable should have ignited the battery to lock the brakes, he said.

    [216.239.51.104]

  91. ronmelancon says:

    help its the attack of the loose trailers. Where is our government??


    Trailer runs into house on Rt. 6
    WTVG– June 18, 2007 – A Wood County couple who lives on US Rt. 6 got a big surprise when a flatbed trailer broke loose from its truck and ran right into their living room. The couple was sitting in the room at the time.

    The wife had minor injuries and was treated at Wood County Hospital. The accident did a lot of damage to the structure of the house. The couple is forced to stay with relatives for the time being.

    The accident is still under investigation. A sheriff’s department spokesperson says the driver of the Ford pick-up truck will probably be cited for failure to secure his load.

  92. ronmelancon says:

    Here is another U Haul Story


    Rob’s Story

    My terrible experience began on April 4th 2005. My fiancé (who by the way was 4 months pregnant during all this) and I had decided to move from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Birmingham Alabama. We decided to rent a U-haul trailer to move our things.

    The truck that we had, a 2001 Ford Ranger pickup had a class 1 hitch (200 tongue weight, 2000 towing weight.) U-hauls website stated that I could tow a 5×8 foot trailer safely. I reserved the trailer several weeks in advance. But the max weight of the 5×8 trailer is 1800 pounds. I was afraid that I would be really pushing it if I got this one. It was right on the border of what the truck could handle. So the day of the move I change the order and got the smaller 4X8 even though it meant that we were going to have to leave some of our belongings behind.

    I arrived at a Corporate U-Haul dealer on the afternoon of Monday the 4th of April. I again tried to go the safe route and went to a U-Haul corporate location rather than a fly by night franchise. Before I went to the dealer I called to ask about having a wiring harness installed on my truck, so the lights on the trailer would work. They told me that it would cost $25 and to bring my truck over. When I arrived they surprised me by telling me that not only was there no one to connect the wiring harness, but also it would be $50. They told me that there was another location in town that I could go to. They then suggested that I go ahead and rent the trailer and take it to the other location to have the lights hooked up. I looked at the clerk and asked, “So you want me to drive across down in rush hour with a trailer with no brake lights?” He just sort of looked at me with a strange look on his face until he realized what he was asking..

    I finally bought U-Haul’s Tap-A-Lite and hooked up the lights myself. When I got done another worker brought the trailer over to my truck and started to mount it on my hitch. He stopped all of the sudden and told me that I needed a different ball size to hook up the trailer. He said that I had a 1&7/8? ball and the hitch required a 2? ball. I explained to him what I had read on the company website and that it stated that I could use a 1&7/8? ball. He finally looked down at the tongue of the trailer and read the label that explained the different ball sizes that could be used.

    Finally after and hour and a half we were on our way home. Ten minutes after leaving the dealership the turn signal on the trailer stopped working. I was able to stop at an auto parts store and repair the wiring and again we were off. We loaded the trailer and got up early the next morning. We placed our two cats in kennels in the back of the truck and both our dogs in another. We stopped in Clovis New Mexico to pickup some items that belonged to us before leaving the state, only to find that we couldn’t take everything we wanted because we had gotten the smaller trailer. In fact some of the things we left behind simply because we were afraid of overloading such a small trailer. We arrived in Lubbock on the afternoon of the 5th and Dallas on the afternoon of the 6th. We took our time making it across Texas because of all the bad weather.

    On the morning of the 7th we headed out of Dallas and arrived in Shreveport, Louisiana around 2 in the afternoon. At about 2:30 p.m. is when all hell broke loose. While on I-20 near exit 17 I heard a loud bang behind me. I looked in the rear view mirror and noticed the trailer was leaning to the right side. It was swaying back and forth and a causing the truck to shake violently. I was already in the left hand lane, so I just let off the gas in an effort to slow down as I started to drift to the left. The next thing I knew the truck suddenly was facing 90 degrees to the right and we were going across three lanes of traffic. Just when I thought we were about to hit the wall we swung back to the left 180 degrees, and then the truck started rolling, passenger side first.


    When I woke up everything was confusing and I was disoriented. I was upside down. I heard my fiancé? calling out to me, and all I could tell her was that I was hurt. She had already crawled out of the truck but I was trapped inside. There was no way for her to get me out, she undid my seatbelt and tried to get me free, but just couldn’t. Finally people that stopped to help were able to pull me out of the passenger side window.

    The next thing I remembered was that people were all around; my black lab puppy was licking my face and wouldn’t leave me alone. Finally the Police and Fire Department arrived. The Police took our statement. We were both placed on back boards and take to the hospital. I was told they would look for our animals, only the lab puppy had seemed to have made it. There was no sign of the other animals.

    The hospital did a cat scan on me and an ultrasound on my fiancé. She checkout just fine but they told me I had a concussion. They treated a nasty scrape on the top of my head where glass was imbedded into the skin. Before I go any further I have to thank with all of my heart the ER staff of St. Mary Shumpert Hospital. They treated us wonderfully. The hospital staff got us a free taxi and a cheap hotel room in an effort to help us.

    Once we arrived at the motel I called U-Haul to report the accident. They asked me a ton of question about what happened, but not once did they offer an apology or ask if we were ok. When I explained that we were stuck in a motel until my in-laws arrived from Delaware and our funds were limited, U-Haul refused to help. They went on to say that they couldn’t even file the accident report because they had no record of my rental, and needed my rental agreement number on the receipt. I explained that the receipt and paperwork on the rental was in the truck, with the trailer and that everything was in impound. I further explained that I wouldn’t be able to get there until the following Monday.

    On Saturday the 9th of April my in-laws arrived. I had never met them before, so it was a little strange meeting them for the first time, especially when under these circumstances. I couldn’t have like a pair of people more. They took my fiancé and I and got us some clothes and got us checked in to a decent hotel. (We had been staying in a crap hotel, and wearing the same clothes for 3 days.) They welcomed me into the family as well as anyone ever could, but back to my story.

    On the way in they told us they saw a dead cat on the interstate. My father in-law and I went out the next day and confirmed it was my fiancés cat.

    Because it was a Saturday, we were unable to do anything in preparation of retrieving our things or dealing with U-Haul. They wouldn’t do anything until I had the rental number, and that was in the truck which was in impound along with the trailer and everything we had owned.

    Finally Monday arrived and we set out to get the trailers swapped out and get the hell out of Louisiana. We went to the Police station and retrieved our firearms. We then headed to the pound to check on my puppy. We then went to impound yard to retrieve the rental agreement and take a look at the truck and trailer. When we arrived I was shocked by what we saw. It was the first time I was able to see the damage. The roof of the truck was caved in; it was amazing that I had survived. My head rest was now out the back window above the roof.


    The most amazing part was when we found that the trailer was missing its right tire. I found it a few minutes later in the bed of the pickup. Apparently it was found by the tow truck company at the time of the wreck and placed there. It appeared that the axle just snapped at the hub.

    We took as many pictures as we could and then called U-Haul. I went ahead and answered all of their repetitive questions. Finally I asked about getting a replacement trailer. The woman on the other line told me that all she does is take the reports and I would have to call another department to arrange another trailer. I called the number she gave me only to get the run around again. First they weren’t going to give me another trailer. Then they were but wanted me to pay for it. Then they didn’t want me to pay for it but wanted me to pay the towing and impound bill on the old trailer. Finally the decided to give me the trailer that I asked for. The kicker was that they said I had to go to a location to pickup the trailer 30 miles away, even though there was a location 5 minutes away that had the size we wanted. We drove to the location the told us we ?Had? to go to. Yet when we arrived were told to go back to the location that we had requested in the first place. We proceeded to try to pickup the trailer only to get asked for a cash deposit for it. After about 30 minutes of explaining that I wasn’t going to give them any money they agreed to give me the trailer. They only problem was they didn’t have anyone that knew how to hook up the mess of wires on the trailer to my Father in-law’s truck. Finally we were able to get everything hooked up but had to get an even bigger trailer than we needed. We drove to the impound to get our stuff. It took us about an hour to unload and load the new trailer. Almost everything that could be broken inside the trailer was. My computer, my laptop, our TV, VCR, anything electronic was destroyed even though I had carefully packed the trailer.

    After we got everything loaded and took a last look at everything we headed to the hotel. The next morning we picked up our dog from the pound and continued on the Birmingham. We finally arrived in Birmingham exactly one week after we left Albuquerque.

    A few days after we arrived in Birmingham I had to return to the ER. I had continued (and still do) have headaches, nausea, etc. The doctors did another cat scan and told me that I have post concussion syndrome. My memory doesn’t work like it used to and my fiancé constantly complains that I forget things. Looking back I think that if it wasn’t for the love of our friends and family and the love of God that we would have never survived.

    A week after getting to Birmingham I received a phone call from the animal shelter in Shreveport. They had found our other dog the Friday before. She had been hiding under a house near the interstate where the wreck had occurred. My fiancé went the next day with my boss to get her. She didn’t have any injuries and is doing fine, just like my other dog. We still are awaiting word about our other cat “Mason” and can only hope that the cat that died met his fate quickly.

    I received a call from the adjuster for Uhaul. He state that their “impartial expert witness” inspected the trailer and found that the reason for the accident was the hitch that was on our truck They claim that the hitch failed causing the truck to fish tail, which then caused stress on the hub and caused it to snap. I tried to tell the adjuster that this was contrary to what the witness statements from the accident said…but he wouldn’t listen…

    Update January 2006
    Our daughter Aris Kathryn Shank was born in October of 2005. Healthy and well. My memory is back to normal, however my back still bothers me on a daily basis. We still haven’t found an attorney that will take the case. I’m starting to believe that if you have enough money you can screw over whom ever you want and get away with it. Uhaul has never offered any type of compensation and are now billing me over $1600 for the trailer that was destroyed in the wreck. Even though I have two witnesses that state just the opposite of what their “expert witness” says. If anyone has any information about Uhaul and how they maintain their trailers please email me.

    Thanks,

    Rob Shank-Mr. Antiuhaul

  93. RebekahSue says:
  94. stwoodruff says:

    This is also common in the RV industry. We have manufactured a towing systemt that absolutely ELIMINATES trailer sway for 13 years and have yet to get even one OEM to build it into the travel trailer. Every year people are killed when they are just trying to take a nice vacation.

    See http://www.NoSway.com for details.

  95. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Okay, here’s an analogy:

    I have a computer that needs a new hard drive. I go on the Internet and look up the specs for my computer (not having a manual since I bought used) and it says I can use X type of hard drive. However, I like to be sure that I’m doing things right, so when I go to the store I ask the salesperson what drive I should use.

    He says “Oh, you can use Y type of hard drive too, it’s better.”

    “Really? Because I read that X is what I’m supposed to use –“

    “No, no, Y will be fine with your computer.”

    So I buy Y, return home, and find out it doesn’t work.

    Am I an idiot for choosing to trust the word of a professional over my own untrained judgment?

    Similarly, would I be an idiot for actually believing that someone who’s paid to work with trailers might actually know more about trailers than I do?

    I’m really puzzled at the victim-blaming behavior I see around here sometimes. Customers operate on the assumption that the people who have trained and worked in a field are more knowledgeable than them, and therefore they trust the workers’ judgment — this is how specialization in an economy is supposed to work. We shouldn’t be blamed for assuming that a company isn’t going to screw us over, ignore state regulations, or attempt to flout the laws of physics.

  96. MrEvil says:

    I’m probably the first person that would call for people to take a minute and figure out what they’re driving. Like during the Ford + Firestone fiasco, those fatalities and injuries could have been prevented if the drivers had listened during drivers ed and stayed calm (Car & Driver never got an Explorer to magically flip itself over during a simulated blow-out).

    However, in this instance, if U-Haul wants to be absolved of any wrong-doing they need to take due diligence in informing their uneducated customers the perils of towing a trailer. Still, U-haul is not absolved from failing to properly maintain their equipment.

    If you’ve never pulled a trailer before, and you are unable to take the time to properly familiarize yourself with towing a trailer, don’t rent or borrow a trailer to move. Rent a truck and get someone to follow you in your car.

  97. JayXJ says:

    I’ve rented one U-Haul trailer. It was a POS (of course) and goober at the shop didn’t hook up the wiring correctly (of course). Sorta disturbing when you figure how many trailers this man hooks up in a day… But it made it from Orlando to Atlanta with only one roadside repair…at least it made it.

    As far as the towing specs: No U-Haul should use some common sense in renting. However, who rents a trailer without knowing what thier vehicle is rated to tow. That’s just ignorant.