We made it back to Savannah.

But along the way it was far from a sure thing.U-Haul Truck
We rented a little truck like the one here in the photo. Only ours wasn’t as nice.

To quote what the technician who checked us back in at the U-Haul store here in Savannah told his Assistant Manager,

That truck is a real clunker.

Yep. That’s me and Gorgeous. We live on the edge.

We’re just the type to rent a clunker to drive a bunch of prized possessions 1300 miles or so across country.

We specifically requested a newer vehicle when we reserved our truck weeks in advance because we were driving so far. Then we took the clunker they offered because I didn’t want to take the time to argue about it. We were working with a deadline to get back to Savannah.

Here is a partial list of what we discovered was wrong with the truck after we got it loaded and started heading South.

  • Passenger side door didn’t close properly. Gorgeous had to stuff paper napkins in the door seal to cut down on the whooshing racket so we could even talk without yelling. Good thing we didn’t see much rain. The napkins fell out every time she opened the door.
  • Passenger side mirrors kept needing adjustment. We had to slam the passenger door so hard that it messed up the mirrors on that side and we had to keep re-adjusting them.
  • Right fender was loose and shook. Gorgeous thought it might come flying off the truck the whole trip.
  • The hood flapped loosely. We had this feeling that the hood might fly up and blind us at any moment.
  • Passenger side rear breaks and turn signal didn’t work. We didn’t find this out until Gorgeous followed me back to turn the truck in. Probably explains some of the looks we got driving in Chicago traffic!

We talked to the folks at the U-Haul place where we turned the truck back in. They agreed with us that that particular vehicle should have only been rented for local around town moves and not for long distance one-way trips.

Something about a 20+ year old truck that is just not conducive for long hauls.U-Haul Sign

This isn’t the first time we’ve rented a less than fully functional U-Haul. We moved to Charleston I had to stop at a truck stop and buy a fuse to get the windshield wipers working when it started raining. Gorgeous and I even talked yesterday about starting an upscale truck rental company with a quality vehicle guarantee.

If you ever get a truck for a one-way move from U-Haul, here are a couple tips that might help make your experience better than ours was.

  • Check the truck out thoroughly before you leave the lot. Seems like a no-brainer. Once you leave the lot it is harder to switch trucks. Had I done this it might have helped, at least with the turn signal thing. Unfortunately the truck we got was the only choice on the lot I got it from and was only there because I reserved it weeks in advance.
  • Rent one-way trucks from a U-Haul center not from a business that rents U-Hauls on the side. I never realized there was a difference. But the U-Haul centers usually have more trucks to choose from. And they differentiate between one-way trucks and local rentals. It makes sense that businesses that are renting U-Hauls on the side have less incentive (and ability) to manage the quality of vehicles rented.

The Assistant Manager told us that we rented an ‘E’ model and that that store normally only rents ‘K’ and ‘L’ models one-way. So apparently the U-Haul centers understand that there are quality issues with the older trucks.

The thing is the garage where we rented the truck was tied into U-Haul’s computer system. They told us the trucks were managed logistically from a regional center.

That means U-Haul positioned that particular vehicle in that location for our 1300 mile trip. Someone at U-Haul knew they were sending an old vehicle on a long trip.

Gorgeous will be sending a letter to U-Haul. We’ll see how it goes.

I promise I’ll be doing some research on what other options are available before I rent another truck. I’ve had too many junky 20+ year old U-Hauls over the years to stick with them.

If they don’t do something in the way of compensation.

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