U-Haul's Trucks Are Unsafe, Not Maintained

Part 2 in a LA Times investigation into U-Haul’s business practices and safety record isn’t any less bleak than part 1. The LA Times investigation has uncovered that U-Haul fails to properly maintain their aging fleet of vehicles while mechanics “hang paper” (forge safety inspections and repairs) to keep the trucks and the money rolling.

During a yearlong investigation, Times journalists surveyed more than 200 U-Haul trucks and trailers in California and other states and found that more than half were overdue for a company-mandated “safety certification,” a check of brakes, tires and other parts typically required every 30 days.

Some safety checks were more than a year overdue.

In response, U-Haul said its fleet of more than 200,000 vehicles is safe and well-maintained. It said it is investing heavily to modernize the fleet and spends about $350 million a year — about 20% of its rental revenue — on maintenance and repairs.

The consumer stories mentioned in the report are horrifying—trucks sent out on the road with the wrong tires and no lug nuts, trucks with emergency brakes that fail and roll over their drivers, breakdowns that end with big rig trucks smashing into families stranded by the side of the road.

The Times checked the safety certification stickers of 207 U-haul trucks and trailers during January and February and found that about half the trucks and three-fourths of the trailers were more than 30 days overdue for safety certifications. Some trucks hadn’t been inspected in many months; one was last certified in November of 2005.

U-Haul responded by claiming that the stickers probably fell off the trucks, or that the safety inspector had neglected to attach a new sticker. Even if the inspector had attached a sticker, it seems likely that the inspection or repairs never actually took place, according to several ex-employees quoted in the report:

“I would never rent a U-Haul truck,” said David Esquivel Jr., who was a U-Haul mechanic in Fremont, Calif., before being fired under disputed circumstances during a union organizing campaign in 2004. “It’s not dependable.”

Darryl Stasher, formerly a top U-Haul executive in Mississippi, said he was accused of “hanging paper” when the company fired him in 2001. Stasher, who worked for U-Haul more than 17 years, said that the charge was a pretext in his case, but that the practice was rampant.

“They set standards and guidelines that, in reality, they knew were not happening,” he said. “All these trucks were breaking down the day after they were rented, and after they said maintenance had been performed.”

—MEGHANN MARCO

Upkeep lags in U-Haul’s aging fleet [LA Times] (Thanks, Daniel!)
(Photo:Christina Alspaugh)

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  1. banned says:

    That’s Capitalism, get used to it!

  2. alpha says:

    Cool. I’m glad I’m going to rent a U-Haul trailer to move cross-country in a couple months…

    At least I don’t have to worry about the weight-issue (from part 1), and at least I know the state of my own brakes/tires/lug nuts.

    :|

  3. enm4r says:

    I needed a rental a few months ago to move literally 5-6 blocks. I planned on doing my entire move in one night, so I picked up at like 3pm and returned it at about 6am.

    When I went to pick up the truck (the small $19 one) the first one that they walked me out to was missing the right side mirror. Living in Chicago, and having to maneuver around on some close streets, there was no way I was going to take it. So I raised the issue, and they went through this huge hassle of changing trucks for me. Not that the other one was better, wouldn’t shift right (as an automatic), had no AC, and the right door wouldn’t even open, but I figured I’d trade those for at least having a mirror.

  4. natureboy88 says:

    Rocnrule: That’s why capitalism doesn’t work without reasonable regulations.

  5. LionelEHutz says:

    I used one about 2 years ago to move and it wasn’t until I reached my destination (a 6 hour drive) that I realized I was probably an hour away from having the inside of the cargo hold of the truck catch fire because the exhaust pipe was putting heat onto the truck bed just above the right rear wheel and not putting it away from the vehicle.

    Since then I’ve avoided them at all costs.

  6. dbeahn says:

    “wrong tires and no lug nuts”

    I’m sorry, but if you’re stupid enough to not bother checking if the wheels are attached to the truck, then perhaps U-haul is doing us all a favor in letting you go roll said truck on the road…

  7. lawnmowerdeth says:

    I’ve avoided U-Haul for years because of the junk they try to pass off as a truck (not to mention crappy customer service). Penske is the way to go, always newer vehicles that WORK.

  8. Hawkeye1659 says:

    “U-Haul’s trucks are unsafe, not maintained”

    In other news, the Sun rose in the east today and salt tastes salty.

  9. bohemian says:

    We rented one to move about five years ago. The emergency brake didn’t work. We found out when the truck started rolling backwards in a truck stop with nobody in it. Luckily my husband was able to jump in and stop it. The same truck also had a leaking windshield and no defrost fan. We hit a rainstorm and the water was blasting through the windshield seals. There was also no way to get the fog and moisture off the inside of the windshield except using your hand or a rag.

    We brought all of this up to the U-haul office we dropped this death trap off at. They told us to call some 800 number. So we tried multiple times to get a human being to do something other than give us some excuse and hang up. We finally got the generous offer of an $80 coupon to use on our next u-haul rental.

    I just wish I had had the energy left after the move to think about disputing the charges on our debit card, including the $100 fee we were charged that nobody could explain or remove.

    We have used Budget rental trucks on our last two moves with no problems or bad equipment.

    I hate u-haul with a passion.

  10. bambino says:

    @dbeahn: That’s all fine & well, until said idiot kills me.

  11. polarogak says:

    U-Haul’s shitty attitude toward you the consumer is really highlighted by the reservation system. You call the reservation line, request a reservation, and then they call YOU back and let you know which store in the area you’re lucky enough to be able to come pick up a truck at. You don’t actually get to tell them what location you want to rent from. Neat huh?

  12. DeeJayQueue says:

    I’ll say that it depends where you go. UHaul is a very hands-off company, and they let their franchises do just about anything they want to do. I’ve rented from places where the trucks looked like they all just came from a demo derby, like the one on Rt 3 in Havertown, PA. I’ve also rented from locations where every van and truck on the lot is 2004 or newer, like the one on Oregon Ave in Philadelphia.

    I will say that IMHO, there’s no middle ground here, the places and trucks are either super clean, nice, friendly, well-run, and well-maintained or they’re complete shit holes.

    The problem is that they’ve got the most market penetration and for many people they’re the only choice. There aren’t nearly as many penske/budget rental places around so sometimes people get screwed. Also people who are moving usually only have one day to do it, so they get there and the truck is broken or not maintained, but it’s “this or nothing” so they have to take it and hope for the best. None of these are reasons to put any money into maintaining a fleet of trucks, so there’s little incentive.

  13. jeffj-nj says:

    (picking up where my other post(s) left off…) This, on the other hand, is considerably worse, and by the sound of things, completely unacceptable.

  14. Anonymously says:

    I always laugh when I see a u-haul truck for sale. If it’s too crapy for the u-haul fleet, that’s really saying something.

  15. Jasmo says:

    Wooo, 350 million! They must be pouring money into those trucks …

    350,000,000 dollars divided by 200,000 trucks comes out to 1750 dollars per vehicle per year. Not that impressive. A set of tires, oil & filters, some brake parts, and labor – you’re already over $1750.

  16. acambras says:

    @DeeJayQueue:
    I will say that IMHO, there’s no middle ground here, the places and trucks are either super clean, nice, friendly, well-run, and well-maintained or they’re complete shit holes… Also people who are moving usually only have one day to do it, so they get there and the truck is broken or not maintained, but it’s “this or nothing” so they have to take it and hope for the best.

    That’s why I chose not to gamble with U-Haul this last move. I paid a little more, rented from Penske, and everything went fine — I got a great truck and no hassle.

    Moving is stressful enough. If you can avoid a company with a track record for sticking its customers with lousy trucks/trailers/equipment, that helps cut the stress a lot.

  17. silverlining says:

    I rented a UHaul once a couple of years ago, and that story sure fits my experience. We figured out during the move that the truck they rented us didn’t have working brake lights in the back–a huge problem, considering that it had recently snowed, the roads were slippery and that an inability to notify drivers behind you that the truck is braking could mean a rear-ending. And also, in my state, it’s illegal to drive vehicles without working rear brakelights–it’s a ticketable offense.

    So, I made UHaul pick up their truck. In response for renting a non-street-legal truck, they not only didn’t apologize, but charged me for the extra day it took to pick the thing up. Unbelievable. They even had their in-house accounting call and ask why I hadn’t paid. When I told them, I never heard from them again.

    I suppose I should have checked the truck in the UHaul lot, but it never occurred to me that they would send out a vehicle that couldn’t legally even be driven. Lesson learned. I’ll never rent from UHaul again.

  18. nursetim says:

    Every time I see a U-Haul truck or trailer on the road, it always looks to be at least ten years old and very rough looking. I have yet to see a new U-Haul truck anywhere.

  19. silverlining says:

    @dbeahn: How would someone off the street know if they were the wrong tires? I wouldn’t know. I’d just know if the tire was flat and/or the tread was bald. You shouldn’t have to bring your own mechanic and get a crash course on truck maintenance before you rent a UHaul.

  20. MauriceReeves says:

    We rented from U-Haul a bunch of years ago (the last time I rented from U-Haul actually). The truck was 6 hours late, screwing up all our schedules and the truck they gave us was the “only one they had”.

    No AC, no radio, and the parking break didn’t work. Funniest bit, it was a manual transmission, so as the only person in my family who drives a stick shift, I got stuck driving the thing. The person we were helping move lived on a hill, so I had to maneuver the thing into place, leave it in gear, and pray to God the clutch didn’t give out.

    Never again.

  21. @LionelEHutz: My husband did have one catch fire. On the interstate. He called the “roadside emergency” number they give you for catastrophic breakdowns and they seemed totally puzzled as to why a truck being on fire should be any sort of concern whatsoever.

  22. queen_elvis says:

    @alpha: Read part I, dude. Trailers are no better.

    We get the LA Times and we’re moving next month, so this is nice and timely. I think I’ll take the amount we would have spent on the U-Haul and try to find a friend of a friend with a pickup.

  23. Starfury says:

    A few years back a friend rented a U-haul. The gas tank was at 1/4….even after we put gas in it (more than 1/4 of a tank) and drove it all day. Took him 2+ hours to pick it up even though he’d made arrangements with the place the day before over the phone. If I ever move I’ll definitely use a different rental company. Enterprise, Budget, and Penske are all competitors to U-haul here.

    As to the U-haul store in FRemont mentioned…I live in the area and drive by there on a regular basis. Never been in and don’t plan on it.

  24. chimmike says:

    They’re roving home machines used by redneck elite everywhere. What do you expect? A brand new well maintained truck? Have you all looked at the people who MAINTAIN uhauls?

    I rented two, and I’ll never do it again. First, I drove across the state of FL, towing a car. It was gas powered, and was an absolute dog. Swallowed fuel like a prostitute. The a/c barely worked, and I don’t think the brake lights worked.

    Second, I rented for use across down. I asked for a diesel because they generally have better economy and power. I was wrong on both. The diesel could barely do 55mph, and was HORRIBLE on fuel consumption. The speedo was broken and I found myself actually doing 35mph on a 65mph road when the speedo indicated 60! My poor relatives following me had to call me and tell me I was being dangerous!

    Never, ever, ever again. Mooch off friends to help you move. Or hire a moving company and save your back some pain!

  25. tvh2k says:

    As an alternate to U-Haul for small, in-town moves consider getting the truck from home depot/lowes for $19 + the cost of a 2×4 (you must justify need for the truck). You get it for 75 min, unlimited miles, then something like $5/30 min after that (not sure). Works great if most of your items fit in a car but you need a to transport a few big items (read: sofa, dresser).

  26. Mary says:

    I’ve had to rent U-Hauls twice, and a friend of mine did once. The first time, the truck was in such terrible shape I said I’d never do it again, but then Budget refused to actually deliver the truck I reserved to the place I needed to rent it from, so I had to get the only U-Haul truck available in my entire hometown, and it was twice as big as I needed.

    It was also in horrible shape, and now that I live in a more populated area, I’m more than happy to never use them again. My friend had problems when she rented from them too, and it’s all so ridiculous. Reading this cements the fact that they aren’t worth the time it takes look over their trucks.

  27. bobbycreekwater says:

    I have rented U-haul trucks three times in my life and each time was worse than the other. The first two times the truck broke down in the middle of my trip. One from NC to GA and my third and final U-haul tragedy was the best one to day. This happened maybe 5 years ago. Me and my uncle were in a rented U-Haul truck and about 2 hours into the trip it broke down. Angry and without a cell phone at the time I walked to the nearest gas station to use the phone and my Uncle stayed with the truck. After I called for help I walked back out the U-haul truck only to see 6 police cars surrounding the truck and my uncle laid down on the ground. I rushed to the scene only to find out that the U-haul truck had been reported stolen weeks ago! So yes I rented a stolen truck and U-Haul is to blame.

  28. Jurph says:

    There may be factual or systemic problems in U-Haul’s business, but this series of articles from the L.A. Times is amazingly bad journalism. The author lists the average age of other fleets, but then doesn’t bother reporting the average age of U-Haul’s fleet — this implies that U-Haul’s fleet is much much older, but gives no evidence.

    The anecdotes are just single data points. If I’m trying to judge whether U-Haul is providing an unsafe service, why does it matter whether the inconvenienced traveler “hitchhiked through a dust storm” to get home?

    Similarly, the Consumerist’s summary is pretty loaded, too: you cite “breakdowns that end with big rig trucks smashing into families stranded by the side of the road.” The driver of the big rig fell asleep at the wheel and hit a family including a pregnant mother… but unless there is a rental company with a zero breakdown rate, this could have happened to customers of any company.

    The story about the man who was run over by a truck with a faulty parking brake sounds like the hard-luck stories I get from homeless folks at the bus depot. I don’t care if his daughter got divorced, or didn’t know how to drive stick, or had to beg for beans to make soup that evening for the orphans and their adorable stray puppies… the important facts are that U-Haul knew the truck had brake problems and failed to address them, and that someone almost died because of that.

    I know U-Haul sucks, but the L.A. Times has turned a punchy two-page article about corporate malfeasance into a bloated “feature series” full of emotional appeals. The Consumerist should be above this.

  29. filker0 says:

    I rented a U-Haul truck recently for a move between West Virginia and Iowa. We tried for a different company, but we would have had to drive about 100 miles each way to pick up a one-way rental truck from any of the other companies.

    The truck we got was very new; less than 7000 miles on it. Even so, it was amazingly difficult to drive; the steering was wobbly, the mirrors were very difficult to adjust, and the (automatic) transmission seemed a bit sticky (the engine would sometimes have to rev pretty high before it would down-shift, while other times it was smooth in the same circumstances). The place we picked it up from was friendly enough, but the place we dropped it off with was almost hostile.

    I had sworn off U-Haul for many years after an experience (or is it “Adventure” in UH-speak?) in 1985, where the truck I rented had a malfunctioning speed limiter that prevented the truck from going over 45MPH on flat highways, and was worse on hills. I was banned from the Interstate for going too slow, and ended up crossing PA on state roads. On some hills, I was going less than 5MPH. I stopped at a dealership about 40 miles into my trip in central MA, and after two hours, they said that it was not malfunctioning and that it was supposed to work that way. I stopped again in PA, and was told that it was fine without a mechanic even looking at it or anyone trying to take it for a test drive. A trip that I’d expected to take me 2 days took 4. When I turned it in at my destination, I was told that it was broken and that I might be liable for the damage caused by running the thing without enough hydrolic fluid (or something of the sort.)

    I didn’t end up having to pay that extra bit to them, but I swore never to use them again.

    When you have an apartment’s worth of stuff to move so that you and your wife (and son) can live in the same house (heck, the same state), you take what you can get.

    Though my most recent experience was better, I still don’t want to have anything to do with renting trucks from them.

  30. Gopher bond says:

    @natureboy88: What do you mean capitalism doesn’t work? Is U-haul your only option for moving? What about Budget, Penske, Enterprise? What about hiring movers? What about a friend with a pick-up? What about selling all your big stuff and buying what you need at the new place? Just because the cheapest, most accessible moving truck rental service is the shittiest, doesn’t prove a demerit against capitalism. Maybe the Government should nationalize moving truck rental into a monopoly called We-Haul and then we can all be forced to use the crappy service.

  31. jitrobug says:

    Another plug for Penske!

    I walked away from a Uhaul disaster and rented from Penske on the day of my last move – worked out great. They even sent somebody out to my house when we couldn’t get the ramp on the truck to go back in.

    When I went up the corporate chain to get my reservation fee back from uhaul, they ended up also sending me $100 in “VIP Coupons” – just this last week I thought I’d try using them to get myself some free propane for the bbq.. after standing in line for 10 minutes listening the the one employee be a dick to everyone he talked to, I just left – even for free uhaul isn’t worth it.

  32. aiken says:

    Yep, not really news. U-Haul is just painful. I’ve used ‘em twice and had three breakdowns. The trucks are scary to drive. If I were really hard up for money and had to move, I’d rather make hundreds of trips carrying my stuff on my back than rent a u-Haul.

  33. timmus says:

    I heard the U-Haul horror stories back in 2003 when we were about to do a move, so we used Penske. Awesome service and awesome truck. We went back to them in 2005 and had another great experience… the truck for that move was almost brand-new and even had a CD player. I’d use U-Haul for just a minor local move with a store that was familiar with. But anything out of town, absolutely no way. Penske or Ryder.

  34. alpha says:

    @queen_elvis:

    oh I did. That’s why I even referenced it in my post. But at least SOME of those were attributed to the unsafe practice of towing a trailer that was too heavy for the vehicle. This will not be a problem for me. Also, I don’t need to “find a friend with a pickup” because I have one. And, when making a cross-country move (with a fair bit of stuff), you can’t exactly fit it all in the back of a truck…nor would you want to leave all that stuff in the back of said truck if you, for instance, stopped for a night to sleep at a motel.

    Now, if I could find a trailer rental place besides U-Haul, then that would work out great, now wouldn’t it. But so far, I have not been able to.

    Also, I was being somewhat sarcastic and am not entirely thrilled about the situation…thus the “:|” face

    So yeah. Go U-Haul…

  35. TWinter says:

    @silverlining:
    And also, in my state, it’s illegal to drive vehicles without working rear brakelights–it’s a ticketable offense.

    Is there a state in which this is NOT illegal and ticketable? If there is such a state I would really like to know so that I can make sure that I never go there.

  36. Caswell says:

    Jasmo, I thought the same thing when I read through the article.

    C’mon, 20% of revenue goes back to maintenance? It’s a freaking vehicle rental service – what in the world else would they have to spend money on, aside from completely new vehicles? I imagine their franchises are the one laying out the lion’s share for storefront infrastructure costs.

    They were a customer in a previous job I worked in the auto industry. I can honestly say they’re the only customer I’ve had in my 10 year experience as an engineer that’s questioned a change that both improved reliability and saved money.

  37. Bay State Darren says:

    What I’d’ve done were I the L.A. Times (and if anybody reading this is them, fell free to use this suggestion) is rent trucks from U-Crash-&-U-Die and have a mechanic serrupticiously inspect the vehicles. Then they might have to say, “U-Caught us.”

  38. TechnoDestructo says:

    @DeeJayQueue:

    They’re not just the only choice for people with no other options, they’re the only company a lot of people THINK OF.

    They’ve got name recognition, and they’re riding it into the ground, just like Radio Shack, Gateway, and the US automakers from about 1975-2000.

    And it isn’t just a few small towns where you’d have to drive 50 miles to drop off your truck. Outside of the most populous states, Ryder and Penske locations are few and far between (if you’re not near a major city/regional population center, forget it)…and some states lack them completely.

    Uhaul exists in the middle of goddamn nowhere. For rural America, they’re the only convenient option. (Unless you can arrange a ride to/from a location in a major city which might be up to hundreds of miles.) They have you by the balls and they know it, and they behave accordingly.

  39. Toast442 says:

    I’m convinced that there isn’t a single U-Haul truck that is new. I believe that all their trucks come used from third-world countries. Has anyone ever had one that wasn’t ready to fall apart?

    My last experience with them (in more ways than one) resulted in the jerk behind the counter trying to charge me a towing fee because my rental truck ran out of gas in the middle of the road about 300 feet from the rental store. I didn’t even make it to the gas station a block away.

    He made sure he pointed out the portion of my contract where it said I was responsible for fuel in the truck. No, I didn’t end up paying, but it took a management intervention (on a Sunday morning from his home) to get it cleared up.

    I have the worst luck when moving, but U-Haul – Never. Again.

  40. alicetheowl says:

    I had to move just last month, and, after reading the horror stories here and having my own to contribute, I took several people’s advice, and went with Budget. The place was right up the street, the person at the desk was friendly and helpful, and, when they didn’t have the equipment I’d asked for, the guy who owned the place schlepped to another location for me to pick it up.

    I was amazed at the pickup in the engine, and how smoothly that monster drove. I was used to my little compact Saturn, and having a truck full of everything I owned accelerating almost as smoothly and quickly was quite surprising.

    It’s pretty sad that performing as expected and giving me what I asked for is a surprising feat, but, after my dealings with UHaul, it’s not so surprising at all.

  41. mwdavis says:

    YMMV
    I had a good experience with U-Haul in Omaha — truck didn’t fall apart or explode or molest my children. Had a very poor experience with Budget in Houston, although the problems were more appalling and malevolent customer service than vehicle quality. As others have pointed out, I think with any franchise business, a good experience is half luck of the draw and half planetary alignment.

  42. gvarsub says:

    A few years ago I attempted to rent a U-haul truck in Baltimore. After paying a $50 reservation fee, the day of my move no truck was available and I had to get a truck from a competing company 70 miles away (a busy moving day in June). U-haul refused to refund the reservation fee since, get this, *we didn’t rent a truck with them on the proposed date*. Never again.

  43. bklynrickel says:

    an adventure in moving to say the least.

    i always knew this was the case. i’m really not surprised in the least.

  44. mandawest says:

    Before I married my husband I made it very clear there was only one thing that he could do that I would not have forgiveness for. Cheating? No. Patronizing U-Haul. U-Haul is the devil. I made the mistake of renting one for a move from (way) Northern CA to Washington DC. After seven times I lost count of how often the truck broke down. Breaking down consisted of the engine cutting out while traveling at highway speeds. And the “customer service?” When the finally agreed to send a repair truck, they told the mechanics to put some transmission fluid in the gas tank and send us on our way. Found out from the repair guys that U-Haul knowingly sends customers out in vehicles that may break down and cause accidents at any moment. 10/10 safety? Right. Maybe that guy needs some meds for his delusional thinking.

  45. Jiminy Christmas says:

    Budget or Penske are the way to go.

    The last UHaul I rented had so much play in the steering wheel I felt like I was driving a clown car.

    Then again that was better than the penultimate time I used UHaul: I drove out to Bumfuck, Egypt…supposedly the only place in the city that had the right sized truck, on a reservation I made weeks in advance…only to find a single employee and a lot without one truck of any variety parked on it.

  46. Brazell says:

    Most obvious title ever

  47. Brazell says:

    Although, I must say, my experience with U-Haul, while exceedingly dangerous, is always worth a barrel of laughs. A friend had to move from Northern Mass to Central Mass, so he rented a UHaul to move his stuff… within 5 minutes of getting on the highway, I open the glove box to see a ticket that indicates that this truck should not be rented out. Of course, we laugh over it.

    It was so crappy, but we had a good time with it and it ended up doing the job, although it was super expensive. Rented from them again to move inside the city, whcih was much more convenient, much cheaper, and much safer… and couldn’t really complain. It’s UHaul … what do you expect, Hertz?

  48. HarryHomard says:

    U-Haul has been the subject of a little investigative reporting by CTV’s W-FIVE here in Canada for the past 2 years. Check out these interesting stories…

    from October 2005: “After renting 13 U-Haul trucks across the country, W-FIVE found not a single one passed basic provincial standards. Each truck required some sort of maintenance to make it roadworthy.”

    [www.ctv.ca]


    from October 2006: “The final tally for W-FIVE’s U-Haul road tests this year – nine U-Hauls tested seven failures.”

    [www.ctv.ca]


    Add that to the miserable safety record in the States. Yikes.

  49. JayXJ says:

    My final U-Haul experience was a comedy of errors worthy of “Country Fried Home Videos”. We pick up truck #1, that we’d reserved a month ago. Nice looking, newer truck. I fired it up and it starts belching huge clouds of white smoke. NEXT!
    Drive 15 miles to Ackworth. Surprise, surprise, the truck they said they have on the phone…doesn’t exist. “Who did you talk to?” “You.” “Oh, sorry.” and she LAUGHS.
    Next drive in to Atlanta. Truck # 3: Will not start. So I’m escorted (after much paperwork) to truck # 4. Now I’m happy this is one of the ‘trucker specials’ that most moving companies keep: Manual shifter, diesel, CB hook ups, and it runs. I do a quick walk around…the back end is smashed and the door will not release. Truck #5 has a smashed front end that matches the smashed back end on truck #4 pretty well…Hmmm. Need a new yard jockey? Truck # 6 lulls me with an engine that cranks, lights that work, and tires that actually have tread. So I take it, not realizing it was just waiting to get on the road before trying anything.
    We load the truck ourselves, after several hours of waiting our help has left. 70 miles into our trip I note that the oil pressure is low, yup leaking. Fill that up every 50 miles. The transmission is pretty rough and not wanting to upshift (automatics should NEVER be used in a truck this size). As we get to our destination the brake booster fails. If my wife had been driving this would’ve caused an accident.
    After unloading I drop this terror off at the drop location and call the next morning to report the problems. I’m given the ‘aw, your just not used to a big truck’ routine. Really, the 18 wheeler I drive doesn’t count? He then said “We’ll look into it.” Yeah, sure. I feel bad for whoever got the thing next.
    We went round and round with U-Haul for weeks trying to get refund. We finally got a partial refund and…a coupon off our next rental (the baby loved the pretty drawing paper).

    I’ve used Penske ever since. They are worth the extra money.

  50. Eric1285 says:

    Ugh, I remember when my friend had to get a U-Haul truck to move out of his apartment. The manager at the rental place said that we could return the truck with half a tank of gas and not be charged anything. Well, we did exactly that…the needle rested right on the halfway mark. We bring the truck back, and the manager comes out to take a look. He sees the needle indicating that the tank is half full, then proceeds to turn the truck on and let it idle for a few minutes, til the needle has just barely edged below the halfway mark. He then tries to charge us for it.

    We argue with him for a while, and eventually I tell my friend to just charge it on his card and then dispute it. Long story short, the credit card company gave him his money back and we’ll never be going back to that rental place (Ann Arbor, MI off of Stadium).

  51. matthines says:

    The first time that I moved I used Uhaul; mistake. Unfortunately they were the only ones in the area and have unwillingly continued to use them. My first time, the check engine light came on about 2-3 miles away. So I did what anyone would do, turned around. After I asked for a new vehicle, they somehow convinced me that this truck would be fine. Well I get moved and pull in to a local gas station to replenish what fuel I had used, only to see that out of the engine bay smoke was rising (note that I had just pulled up to the pump, so needless to say the attendant was quick to move the truck, fire and all, away from the pump). The wire to the alternator, which looked as if it had been wrapped in electrical tape (hmmm), caused the fire. So not that big of a deal, but a fire is a fire.

    Regardless, we were not going to drive the truck anywhere else, so we called Uhaul to come pick it up, they toyed around with us and put us on hold until they closed that day (it was Sunday). Not knowing what else to do we called the nonemergency number for the county, we spoke with someone who actually knew the owner of that Uhaul, he called him as well as a tow service. All in all we sat at the gas station for about 2-3 hours that day.

    That next day, I called Uhaul, talked to a manager, fussed and complained, and finally got the service for free. I can’t help but use them, since there are no other options around, but they suck.