Product Review: Rental Truck

by Rocket Finance

The lack of activity here on rocket finance is due to a cross-country move and a family-wide bout with the flu. Hopefully things are back to normal and I am pretty certain that the flu bug cannot be carried by the internet. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming:

A couple of days ago, I reviewed the hotel in which we stayed on our move. It gave new meaning to the phrase, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” During the move, I also rented a moving truck for the first time in my life. Here is how it went:

I reserved the truck on the internet about three weeks before our move. It so happened that our move occurred during a time period when the demand for moving trucks is low so our total price, not including gasoline, was $930 with unlimited mileage. Most people move in late spring and throughout the summer. and the increased demand can cause moving truck rentals to double in price. There are times when prices just a few days apart can vary by hundreds of dollars.

Our truck was a 22 “footer”. Several people counseled me to get a larger truck, but we gave away or threw out most of our larger furniture, so a smaller truck worked for us. Most of the rental truck websites have a calculator that estimates the size truck that will be needed. In our case the tool was very accurate. We picked our truck from the company with no problems. The paperwork took about 20 minutes to complete – a major credit card is necessary to reserve a moving van.

The fuel bill from our move was incredible, but I’ll let you do the math:

  • One diesel moving truck that averaged about 8 miles to the gallon.
  • One unleaded minivan that averaged about 23 miles to the gallon.
  • Diesel gas prices that averaged about $4 a gallon.
  • Unleaded gas prices that averaged about $3.35 a gallon.
  • 1,170 miles

The truck was fun to drive – lot’s of power and as the driver, you are way up above everyone else. It was fun to pretend to be a semi driver for a week. I tell my wife all the time that we are going to be truck drivers after we retire. She doesn’t seem to be as excited about it as I am.

Here are the problems with the truck and the reason that I will never rent from this particular company again should I (heaven forbid) every have to move again. The first is that the driver’s seat was incredibly uncomfortable. I mean, you could not have designed a worse seat if you tried. My back will remember this trip for some time.

The second reason that I will never rent from this company again is the cleanliness of the cab. When I first entered the truck, I noticed a small pillow that was covered with hair under the driver’s seat. I figured it was some kind of oversight and gingerly threw it in the first trash can that I came upon. But as time went on, I realized that there was a dog dish, a dog chain and dog hair everywhere throughout the cab. By the time I noticed all of this, the back of the truck was half-loaded with our earthly belongings so I could not return the truck. There were several items that we needed to store under the seat during the trip and every one of them was covered with dog hair by the end of the trip. I am thankful that I am not allergic to pet dander or it would have been a miserable ride.

Can you guess the name of this rental truck company?

Photo by MadCowDisease.

  1. 19 Responses to “Product Review: Rental Truck”

  2. By Glblguy on Apr 7, 2008 | Reply

    Would they not have taken a debit card? U-Haul?

  3. By Erin on Apr 7, 2008 | Reply

    Thanks for the headsup. We rented a truck from the “B” rental company and it was ok. We are going to rent again to move across the country in a month or two. I’ll make sure we check the cab of the truck before we start loading up 🙂

    We are moving a little over 2,000 miles. We’ll have the moving truck and I’ll follow in our F-150. I estimated that the gas bill will be about $2,000 (that’s at $4.00 a gallon).

  4. By rocketc on Apr 7, 2008 | Reply

    @ glblguy, not sure – good question 🙂

    @ Erin, wow 2000 miles, sounds like a coast to coast move. Are you going left to right or right to left?

  5. By LittleSis on Apr 7, 2008 | Reply

    Wow – both of my cross country moves cost at least twice that much! I guess that’s a reason to try not to move in the summer!

  6. By Aaron Stroud on Apr 7, 2008 | Reply

    Last spring, I had to rent a small truck to finish our move. The cab was cleaner than the one you described, but it still felt dirty. The drive wasn’t long enough to hurt my back, but now that you mention it, it probably would have.

    Oh, and one of the side mirrors wouldn’t stay in place. I eventually had to tape it in place.

    I’m sorry to hear the family has been sick. On the bright side, the move is almost over and everyone is closer to being well.

  7. By [email protected] on Apr 7, 2008 | Reply

    I’ve never used a moving truck, so I don’t really have any guesses. The cab sounds absolutely disgusting!

    Tell us who it was 🙂

  8. By rocketc on Apr 9, 2008 | Reply


  9. By deepali on Apr 10, 2008 | Reply

    I rented a truck once from Budget (went online, found the closest location, called the number, made the reservation). The day of, I went to pick it up. Well, it turns out that location no longer exists. It was, in fact, a hole in the ground. So how was I able to make a reservation? It turns out the line was just transferred to another location, and they didn’t feel the need to let anyone know. I called the national number, talked to about 8 people who thought I was an idiot when I told him the location was gone, and finally found the actual location… about 6 miles away (I was moving literally 1/2 mile). So I managed to get into a closer place, and, after having a breakdown on the sidewalk, roped a friend and my boyfriend into driving out there with me (not the kind of place you want to leave your car). They had one person on duty, and about 6 people waiting for a truck. It would have taken 2 hours to get it. We said screw it and used my boyfriend’s truck (which resulted in more tears and some yelling). I hate you, Budget, you almost ruined my relationship.

  10. By deepali on Apr 10, 2008 | Reply

    Um, all that was to say that all rental companies suck. 🙂

  11. By Save Money on Apr 14, 2008 | Reply

    Oh wow, some of the commentors have had some bad experiences. What the best rental company to use for a truck?

  12. By rocketc on Apr 14, 2008 | Reply

    I don’t have any idea, since my experience has only been with one company. . but I am going to look long and hard at uhaul next time.

  13. By Tom on Apr 16, 2008 | Reply

    One thing that is good to know is these prices are negotiable. After making your reservation call the other companies and see if they can beat your price. If they can, then call back to the company you made the reservation with and tell them you got a better deal somewhere else and want to cancel. They will usually beat the price. Keep doing this until you get the best price you can. I’ve moved two times like this and dropped hundreds of dollars off my bill.

  14. By rocketc on Apr 16, 2008 | Reply

    Tom, that is a really good idea. My dad pulls off that kind of stuff all the time, but I always seem to end up paying more. . . I am terrible at negotiating.

  15. By Renee on Aug 4, 2008 | Reply

    Has anyone had to drive cross country in a moving truck with 2 big and one small dog, oh yeah and a husband/wife?

    We are leaving in three weeks and have no idea of how to do it. My husband wants to put the dogs in the back of the car we will be towing with the windows open. Won’t they inhale exhaust fumes doing that?

    Please help…

  16. By rocketc on Aug 4, 2008 | Reply

    I don’t think it is legal to have living things inside a car that is being towed . . . the gas fumes shouldn’t be too much of a problem if the windows are open.

    I think that one of you has to drive the truck and one of you has to drive the car with the pooches.

    Another reason why I don’t have any pets. 🙂

  17. By jeaninmpls on Aug 21, 2008 | Reply

    anyone ever get bed bugs after using uhaul?

  18. By Truck on Aug 26, 2008 | Reply

    Great truck post. I was surfing on google and found your site. SS

  19. By Pants on Oct 31, 2008 | Reply

    Last year I moved from the left coast to north Texas and rented a 22′ Penske. The truck was fantastic! It had barely 9,000 miles on it and was in great condition… smooth as ice. The rental + tow dolly for my car ended up being about $1.2k (not including gas) for a mid-summer move with unlimited miles. I liked Penske enough to use them again for my move back to Cali next week. BIG difference in price, this time I’m paying less than $400 for unlimited miles plus a tow dolly, hand truck and furniture pads. I guess if you have to move, move in the fall/winter. Wow.

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