We're moving: Share your experiences w/U-Haul, Penske, Budget?

We need to rent a moving truck, probably in the 16-17-ft range, for a 300-mile move. We hope for an easy 6-hr drive.

Any recommendations, or dis-recs, re U-Haul, Penske, and/or Budget?

It appears that Penske has the best reputation; U-Haul the worst.

The below U-Haul stories are fr/2007–Don’t know if they’ve improved since then.

Thanks for info–

I’ve used U-Haul and Ryder in the past without any major issues. Get the biggest truck you can drive and afford, you have more stuff than you think and it’s not easy to get packed in a truck. These places have problems getting the trucks back sometimes so if you try to stick to a tight schedule the truck may not be available when you want it. That could happen to any of them. Try to find a place that can show you the actual truck you’d be using so you can make sure it’s in good condition.

Last move was about 10 years ago with Penske. At the time they had a decent discount for AAA members that was much greater than the cost of a AAA membership. If it still exists, it could save you a few dollars and get you a AAA membership.

I used Budget from Vegas to Reno. Rates were the cheapest and drop-off location closest. Had no problems on either end. Truck was reasonable and ran fine. When I dropped it off, they didn’t even look at it. I made them give me a release saying it was returned okay.

My only advice is figure closely what size truck you need, then get the next bigger size. I swear, if the truck I rented was 1/2 inch shorter, I would not have made it! The big, square stuff goes in neatly, but the odd-ball shit eats space up big time. I had to get very creative at the end.

UHaul fucking sucks. They jerk you around and then, they only give you a very finite time to have the van. When we did an intown move, they rescheduled on us! and then when we got the van, gave us only 8 hours. That sucked. I hate them and would gladly try one of the others next time.

U-Haul will quote a low price for a rental. That price is not what you’ll actually pay. You’re going to have to pay for insurance on the truck (which they will hard-sell you on by virtually promising that if you don’t buy it, they’ll find something wrong with the truck that “wasn’t there before” and bill you for it.) You’ll have to pay to refill the tank, and heaven help you if the needle is a micrometer to the left of where it was when you picked it up or they’ll bill you for the price of the difference plus a “service charge” for the effort it took them to refill it. If you use the dolly that’s zip-tied to the inside of the truck, they’ll bill you for that. You’ll be required to put down a deposit on the truck which is considerably higher than the quoted rate, and it’ll take them a good long time to actually bother refunding you the difference.

Penske does seem best on average, but what really matters is when the rubber meets the road at the local shop. You might get a nearly-new truck at U-Haul, or Penske may toss you the keys to a clapped-out beater that won’t even get up to 50 MPH. All trucks are new at some point in their life, and from there, it comes down to how they’re used, abused and maintained. Get prices, roll the dice…

Things to consider… U-Haul’s trucks are built for residential moving with low floors. Last I looked, Budget and Penske rent regular commercial trucks with significantly higher decks. Yes, there’s a ramp with all three brands, but that extra 18" or so inches each time you go in and out of the truck will add up on your legs. On the other hand, the “penalty” for U-Haul’s lower floors is the wheel wells intrude into the loading space. Higher-decked trucks have completely flat floors end to end and side to side.

Most U-Haul trucks have a cage at the door containing moving pads and dolly. It steals space in the truck, and someone will mash their elbow into it at least once.

Be aware of what the truck runs on. Most U-Hauls run on gas, but most of the other guys’ trucks run on diesel. Regardless, they probably will burn more than you expect, unless you’re expecting to get 5 MPG. The “up to” figures on the websites are for new trucks with nothing in them.

Be **VERY **certain of the truck height vs the gas station canopy when you stop for fuel. Similarly, watch out for tree branches at your loading and unloading sites. A “simple” scratch can cost you dearly, and hitting an overhead structure like at the gas station will be devastatingly expensive.

U-Haul has no idea what’s going on within their own company. The truck broke down in our driveway. I was on the phone with them for hours to be sure we weren’t charged, etc. It took them two days despite a number of calls pleading with them to get their POS out of our driveway. The police showed up because U-Haul had reported it stolen. Then they charged my card for the extra two days. Finally, they got the thing. I spent more time on the phone with them fruitlessly and ended up having my credit card company do a chargeback on the charges for the two days it sat in our driveway because they wouldn’t come get it.

Never again.

I rented a U-Haul truck to move a load of stuff from Florida to the SanFran Bay area. I reserved a 17’ truck. When I went to pick it up, it was a 15’. “No 17 footers in the whole state!” Yeah. Thing is, a U-Haul 15’ isn’t a 15’, it’s a 12’. The truck has a little space that extends the box over the cab. They call it “moms attic” or some cutesy wootsey bullshit. They count that into the length of the truck, even though it can’t be fully utilized like the main box. I had to work like the devil to get 17’ worth of stuff in a 12’ truck.
Then there was the flat tire. Morning after I picked it up, the inner rear tire on the drivers side was flat. I pumped it up and drove to the dealer. “Well, we can get another truck in a couple days.” I pointed out to them that the wheel can be removed. You know, all those pretty little bolts in a circle. They couldn’t do that. I wasn’t going to unload the whole damn truck and reload it into another one of dubious quality. I filled the flat full of flat fixer, kept it pumped up and didn’t mention it on the other end. (by the way, their “full coverage” insurance doesn’t cover tires or the roof of the box.)
I’ve used Budget before, they were great.

Movers on either end to load and unload the truck can be amazingly affordable. They are also be amazingly quick and efficient–professionals can fit twice as much stuff in in half as much time, which may be the difference between having the truck one day or two. And, oh my god, unpacking is so much less unpleasant when you aren’t tired, sore and bruised from loading/unloading.

Actually, as a compromise, just hiring movers to load is the best thing. Unloading isn’t quite as bad, if you aren’t beat up from loading.

I used Penske for a cross-country move 10 years ago. I was impressed with how painless it was. Clean truck, easy drop off, no Uhaul bullshit.

ETA: I should mention that I hired some local movers to load the truck–best money I ever spent. All the online reviews mentioned this one guy by name and he proved to be a wizard fitting things in.

Over the years I’ve used them all and never had any problems.

The company I had a problem with was 2 Mentals and a Truck. I know a lot of people who had good experiences with them, but I didn’t.:mad:

Sounds like you won’t need that kind of service, though.

Penske is great. Haven’t tried the others because I tried Penske first. Have used them three times now.

I will warn you that both Budget and UHaul have substituted different truck sizes on me without prior notice. This last time I moved, Budget gave me a smaller truck than requested (14’ instead of 17’) and I ended up having to make 2 trips and pay the movers more as a result. I would recommend calling the actual location you’ll be picking the truck up from and press them as to whether they regularly have the size you want in stock. Even then, they won’t promise you anything.

U-Haul sucks donkey balls. They tried to rent me a truck with a tire that had a big chunk of tread missing, right down to the steel belt.

Ryder and Penske are reliable.

I had the opposite issue with Penske. It was years ago just out of college. I reserved a 12ish foot box truck to move my crap to an as yet unseen 650 sq ft apartment. But when I got to the Penske place all they had left were 25ish ft monsters. Driving on unfamiliar roads in a giant truck isn’t that much fun, and neither is maneuvering through a tiny parking lot with a truck you aren’t used to.

On the plus side there was no tetris involved, my stuff only covered 2/3 of the floor with nothing stacked at all.

Depends on the distance and conditions. Driving some much larger than you are used to 2200 miles in November will kick your ass mentally pretty damn hard.

I used U-haul a little over 5 years ago. It was a good experience for me. The website helped me set up movers at both ends of the move and it was very affordable. The movers were mostly well reviewed and I found them to be very helpful.

Apparently, based on the rest of the feedback in this thread, this is a good user name/post combo.

I have only used U-Haul for small local rentals (pickup or van). I find the service and selection of trucks varies wildly from one location to the next. The worst was some auto repair place that did U-Haul as a sideline. They only had a few trucks, and they were closed Saturday afternoon and Sunday so you couldn’t return on a weekend day. Fortunately there are other places not too far away. I really only use U-Haul because there are a lot more of them around here than any of the others.

Since JarTran folded pretty much I’ve gone over to U-Haul and never had any real issues. I usually try to avoid the smaller outlets but even there the biggest complaint I’ve had is some of the vehicles (especially vans) being pretty dirty inside when I picked them up.