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How to Load a Car onto the Auto Transport

The U-Haul Auto Transport trailer allows you to easily tow a vehicle for a cross-country move, transporting a project car, or any of your other vehicle towing needs.

 Your specific vehicle towing combination will be validated during your reservation and again at the dispatch. Don’t change either the tow vehicle or the one being towed without first checking with U-Haul to revalidate. You can check your desired towing combination online prior to completing the rental process. You will also need to know your towing vehicle’s hitch system rating.

Reminders for Using an Auto Transport

  • Refer to your car owner’s manual or consult a trusted mechanic to determine what method of towing is best for your vehicle.
  • The vehicle in tow must be loaded forwards on the transport. Towing a vehicle backwards may result in sway or whipping and lead to a total loss of control.
  • Do not load cargo into towed vehicle. U-Haul’s towing validation is based on the empty weight of your vehicle. Cargo can add too much weight or change the distribution of weight which can result in the towing vehicle swaying or whipping.

Follow these steps to safely load your vehicle onto a U-Haul Auto Transport:

1. Park the vehicle being towed and the auto transport in line with each other on a level surface.

  • Make sure that the towing vehicle is in park with the parking brake set.
  • Double check the car trailer’s coupler and safety chains to make sure that they are securely attached to the towing vehicle. Do not attempt to load a vehicle onto an auto transport that is detached.

2. Prepare the auto transport:

  • At the front of the trailer, free the tire straps from the ratchets. To do this, pull the ratchet handle up and the latch toward you to release the strap. Then pull the strap out of the ratchet and towards the rear of the trailer, laying them flat on the deck.
  • Lower the driver’s side fender (over the wheel) by releasing the two latches and rotating it down.
  • Prepare the loading ramps by releasing the latches that are holding the ramps in place and pulling the ramps completely out.

3. Load the vehicle on the auto transport:

  • Center the vehicle to be loaded behind the car carrier.
  • Do not allow anyone to stand between the towing vehicle and the auto transport during loading. If someone is guiding the loading process, make sure they always stand off to the side.
  • Drive slowly up the ramps and onto the trailer until the vehicle's tires come to rest against the stops at the front of the trailer.
  • Before exiting the vehicle, be sure to place the vehicle in park and engage the parking brake.

4. Secure the vehicle on the auto transport:

  • Move each strap ratchet left or right to align it with the center of the tire.
  • Position the straps up and over the front tires, making sure that they are centered over the tire.
  • Route the strap through the slot on the ratchet spool, making sure at least 6 inches of the strap passes through the spool. (If there isn’t at least 6 inches of strap, your vehicle’s tires may not be securable by the straps provided. Alternative tie-downs will be necessary to properly secure your vehicle to the transport.
  • Tighten the ratchet, folding the handle down when done.
  • Finish securing the vehicle by fastening the security chains to the frame or other structural member. Leave some slack in the chain, looping them around and securing them through an open link using the s hooks. You will have to do this at the front and the back of the vehicle.
  • Stow the ramps by lifting them and sliding the back into the auto carrier until the latches reengage and are correctly securing the ramps.
  • Raise the driver’s side fender and secure it with both latches (one on each side).

Please, while traveling, drive slower than your normal speed, stay attentive and avoid distractions, such as cell phones. Anticipate stops, brake early. Inspect connections at all stops and always wear your seatbelt.

For more detailed information refer to the Auto Transport User Instructions Guide .

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