cheap car transport method?
January 11, 2008 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Hi. I have have a sticky problem I hope some can give me a few suggestions about. My 21-year-old nephew is trying to find an economical way to transport his (not running) car from Twentynine Palms, CA to Albuquerque, NM.

The cheapest quote he has been able to find so far from a transport company is around $600, but I don't know if that includes all the fees or not. I suggested he might be able rent a truck from U-haul, but that may be difficult also. He doesn't have a major credit card, only a debit. He's in the Marines, so may be eligible for special discounts or benefits. I know some car rental companies will rentals without the guarantee of a major credit card, if he shows his military ID, but haven't checked out moving companies. Any suggestions?
posted by annsunny to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
Craigslist often has ads trying to sell extra space on auto trailers running between cities. I see them advertised leaving ABQ all the time.

Renting a Uhaul will likely cost about $600 for that distance. Or more.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 9:55 AM on January 11, 2008

Craigslist is a great suggestion, thanks! He might be able to get the car to a larger city, like Palm Springs or Las Vegas, to take advantage of something like that.
posted by annsunny at 10:10 AM on January 11, 2008

I've seen people put tow hitches on campers or larger pickups -- could he essentially tow the car himself but without renting an enormous U-Haul, just by renting a larger size truck?
posted by salvia at 10:59 AM on January 11, 2008

He checked into it, but most car rental companies have specific rules against that, probably to avoid both liability and ruined transmissions.
posted by annsunny at 12:35 PM on January 11, 2008

What kind of car is the non-running car?
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 12:38 PM on January 11, 2008

"91 Ford Taurus, with a V6.
posted by annsunny at 1:09 PM on January 11, 2008

Oops, i meant a '98
posted by annsunny at 1:13 PM on January 11, 2008


Even if he rented a U-haul truck, and I'm guessing he could probably get around the credit card requirement with some other deposit, he'd still have to rent a dolly to tow the car. Renting a pickup or an SUV to tow a car dolly wouldn't work, as U-haul won't install a hitch on a car that doesn't belong to you (I've tried).

Also, multiple car-shipping services, like these guys, need the car to be running, so they can get it on the trailer.

Does he have a friend with an SUV or pickup, who is willing to hitch up a tow dolly? To me, this seems like the only feasible option.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 2:35 PM on January 11, 2008

I don't think he has a friend who would lend him a vehicle for towing. All his buddies out there are also marines. Also, I'm not sure anyone would want to, since the car isn't working because he wrecked it. At least, I wouldn't if I were they. His dad is in Albuquerque, and is an ASE certified master mechanic. He can fix it and get the parts at a reasonable rate.
posted by annsunny at 2:48 PM on January 11, 2008

Budget Truck Rental doesn't require a credit card at all only a cash deposit that you get back at the end.

Of course renting a truck and dolly may end up costing more than $600 if you include gas. He can get a 20% coupon for the rental if he gets a change of address packet at the post office. I think the Military discount is only 15%.

Added benifit Budget actually does maitenance on their trucks and they're less likely to break down.
posted by thewalrusispaul at 2:53 PM on January 11, 2008

Yeah, I really don't think you're going to find something cheaper than $600 to get a wrecked car to ABQ.

Here's another thought - his father could drive out to California with the parts and a toolbox and fix the car, at least to get it running, over a long weekend! You can drive to Twentynine Palms from ABQ on probably 3 or 4 tanks of gas. So back and forth could be done for $300 or so.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:10 PM on January 11, 2008

Yeah, he tried Budget first, actually, but they don't have a truck rental office anywhere reasonably close, he told me. He's rented from them before.

Wow! that is a really poor rating for U-haul. I like renting from Budget, also.
posted by annsunny at 3:14 PM on January 11, 2008

His dad might be able to drive out there, but I am not sure what he needs to do to the car. He might need access to heavier equipment than he can transport. I know the radiator, airbags, and windshield all need to be replaced. The rest, I am not sure about. He was able to send pics to his dad, but I don't know what the conclusion was.
posted by annsunny at 3:19 PM on January 11, 2008

Thanks for all the suggestions and comments! I forwarded everything on to my nephew and brother.
posted by annsunny at 9:08 AM on January 12, 2008

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