Truck Nutz not included
June 15, 2009 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Help me find cost-effective hitch/trailer or truck options.

I will be moving from Cleveland to Champaign IL in early August with an apartment's worth of boxes, a couch, and a dining room table. My dad will be helping me move, and we are planning on either putting a hitch on his car (2009 Toyota Rav4 AWD) and towing a trailer, or towing his car behind a truck. I will be driving separately in a very small car that is unable to tow a trailer. He needs to bring his car to Champaign, as we can't afford a truck plus air fare back to Cleveland.

I'm frustrated that so far I've been unable to find rental options that aren't more expensive than the value of the couch and table. UHaul is about 300 for hitch + trailer, plus installation costs (which seems to be one potential area to save, although I don't have the first clue about how to install a hitch), and about 500 for a truck + car towing apparatus. Penske seems less expensive to tow the car, but they don't offer hitches from what I can see.

Any ideas? I'm open to other money-saving moving tips as well.
posted by emilyd22222 to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I thought about doing this many years ago, here's a couple ideas I came up with:

Buy an old school us, pack it full, sell it when you get there. They usuallu go for $1500 - 2000.

There are moving companies that will drop a container in your driveway, pick it up and bring it wherever, then remove it when you empty it.

Buy a trailer on Craigs, sell it at your destination.

UPS the small stuff.

Time for a new couch and table? It is garage sale season!
posted by KenManiac at 7:58 AM on June 15, 2009

Response by poster: Great ideas- I should mention that it will be very difficult for me to buy a couch in my price range when I get there, because I have a small car and no access to a truck (I don't know anyone in Champaign yet).
posted by emilyd22222 at 8:02 AM on June 15, 2009

Have you checked with one of Pods companies that will drop the pod at your current place and them transport after you load it?
posted by COD at 8:17 AM on June 15, 2009

Hitches are an easy DIY, they literally bolt on. Buy the plug in wiring adapter if one is available for his suv.

Northern tool sells a 4x8 folding trailer for $420 with free shipping. You'd have to add a sheet of plywood for a deck. The initial outlay is greater but 1) you aren't constrained by a rental term and 2) you can reclaim much of the cost by selling it.

Red Trailers
are another good choice if you have a dealer close.
posted by Mitheral at 8:21 AM on June 15, 2009

What about renting a moving VAN?
I just did a quick search on and they have cargo vans for $22/day. A 1 way trip will cost more but this could be what you are looking for and you may be able to fit that couch.
posted by doorsfan at 8:29 AM on June 15, 2009

How long a drive is it? If you do a local truck or van rental, you'd have to return it to the same location you got it from, but it would probably be much cheaper than a one-way. Sometimes they don't count mileage. check before you sign.
posted by KenManiac at 8:34 AM on June 15, 2009

Response by poster: Pods just quoted me $1600- a bit out of my price range.

Mitheral- I'm looking for a covered trailer, but thanks for the tip.

Doorsfan- Looking into that now, good idea. My dad could drive it there and back, so we may be able to do the round trip.

KenManiac- It's Cleveland to Champaign, about 450 miles.
posted by emilyd22222 at 8:51 AM on June 15, 2009

Response by poster: Enterprise quoted me at $70/day for the cargo van with 200 miles included plus .29/mile after that- should be around $300. That's the best option yet.
posted by emilyd22222 at 9:08 AM on June 15, 2009

Consider borrowing a car that already has a hitch (who do you know that has a boat?) from a friend . A one day trailer rental from UHaul will run you 20 to 30 per day.
posted by HuronBob at 9:20 AM on June 15, 2009

Some random thoughts;

The cheapest place to rent a trunk for furniture purchases is often Home Depot/Lowes. $25 for 75 minutes is what they charge in the Bay Area. Some claim you have to buy something to rent it, if that's the case, buy a $2 10ft 2x4.

The covered trailers rented by UHaul are usually quite heavy, 900 lbs for the 5x8 and 1250lbs for the 5x10. My four cylinder Rav4 is only rated to tow 1500 lbs total.

I would personally avoid Uhaul's tow hitches and almost certainly their installers. Problem number one would be their awful business practices and uniformly awful customer service. The other reason; you will find cheaper (and better) sources online and your friendly neighborhood mechanic will probably happily do the work. My mechanic recommend a specific maker of hitches and offered to me ship it straight to his shop where he would install it. Total cost a bit less than UHaul wanted (less for the hitch, more for the installation).
posted by fief at 12:45 PM on June 15, 2009

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