Truck User Instructions

Get help at
or call 1-800-528-0355

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Safety alert symbol - This safety alert symbol precedes all the safety messages in these instructions. Safety messages alert you to possible hazards and instruct you on how to avoid or reduce the risk of injury.


READ and FOLLOW all of these instructions and safety messages before operating the truck. DEATH, DISMEMBERMENT or SERIOUS INJURY to you, your passengers, and others on the road may result if you do not follow these instructions. Make sure all drivers read and understand all these instructions.

Parking, backing and loading

ALWAYS SET THE PARKING BRAKE when parking. Firmly set the parking brake and then move the shift selector firmly into park. ALWAYS TURN ENGINE OFF before exiting cab. When facing downhill, turn the wheels toward the curb. When facing uphill, turn the wheels away from curb.

 GET HELP BEFORE YOU BACK UP There are blind spots behind any vehicle. DO NOT rely on mirrors alone. Have the helper stand where he can be seen directly, or in your mirror, while he guides you. He should not be in the path of the truck. If no help can be found, walk around the rear of the truck and MAKE SURE there are no children, pedestrians or obstructions behind you.

DO NOT HOLD THE RAMP or have the ramp extended while the truck is BACKING UP or in motion.

NEVER overload the truck. Do not exceed the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and the gross axle weight ratings (GAWR), which are posted on a label inside the driver’s door opening.

NEVER load cargo on the outside of the truck.

DO NOT transport hazardous materials, corrosives, explosives or flammables.

NEVER leave CHILDREN or KEYS unattended in the truck.

Disturbances and emergency situations

A "disturbance" is improper handling, oversteering or other deviation of the truck from its intended path, due to one or more causes (improper loading, steering inputs, excessive speed, crosswinds, passing vehicles, rough roads, tire blowout, trailer sway or whipping, etc.).

If a DISTURBANCE OCCURS, DO NOT steer or brake. Let off the gas pedal to slow down. Steering or braking during a disturbance can cause a loss of control or crash.

If a WHEEL GOES OFF THE PAVED ROADWAY, DO NOT steer sharply and DO NOT brake. Let off the gas pedal and slow down below 25 mph. Then steer gradually back onto the roadway. Proceed with caution entering traffic.

Slow down

AVOID CRASHES by slowing down. Reduce your speed from what you would normally drive your car under similar road conditions.

DRIVE DEFENSIVELY – anticipate stops, brake early and never follow closely.

BEFORE going downhill, slow down and shift the transmission into a lower gear, let off the gas pedal and allow the engine to help you control your speed. DO NOT RIDE BRAKES on downgrade

Slow down for curves, adverse weather, hazardous road conditions, road construction and expressway exits.

While on the road

Use the checklist at the end of these instructions while on the road.

ALWAYS wear your seat belt. Be sure children are properly restrained.

Rear-facing infant seats should never be placed in the front seat of a truck equipped with a passengerside air bag. A child may be seriously injured if an activated airbag strikes the child restraint.

DO NOT drive when you are fatigued, sleepy or distracted. Avoid driving at night.

NEVER use a cell phone when driving. If you need to use a cell phone, find a safe place to exit the roadway.

NEVER drive under the influence of alcohol or any substance that might impair your vision, judgment or ability to control the vehicle.

NEVER allow passengers to ride in the cargo area or on the truck exterior. Passengers risk injury due to shifting cargo, asphyxiation and lack of collision protection.

EXHAUST FUMES ARE LETHAL. DO NOT operate the engine in a confined area where exhaust fumes could enter through doors or windows. DO NOT sleep in the truck with the engine running.

Overhead clearance

U-HAUL TRUCKS ARE TALLER THAN PASSENGER CARS. If you don’t know the overhead clearance, get out of the truck and make certain that you are clear of any obstruction. DO NOT GUESS.

Watch out for drive-through restaurants and motel overhangs, service-station canopies, bridges, balconies, roof eaves, porch awnings, electrical wires and tree limbs. Many overhead obstructions are not posted for clearance.


Load heavy items first

Load the heaviest items first, in front and on the floor. Load lightest items last, on the top and to the rear. Pack all items closely and firmly. Secure partial loads with rope, as close to the front of the cargo area as possible. NEVER load cargo on the outside of the truck. Be sure the cargo door is closed and latched securely.

Do not overload

Every U-Haul truck has a maximum (fully loaded) gross weight label on the driver’s side doorpost. NEVER load the truck so that it exceeds the listed GVWR and GAWR. If in doubt, check the weight on a commercial or state scale. (See the Yellow Pages under "Scales, Public.") To check GVWR and GAWR weigh the truck with; full fuel tank, all occupants, all cargo and trailer tongue weight if towing.


Most U-Haul trucks are fully equipped to tow a trailer. If you plan to tow a U-Haul trailer, you will be provided with the appropriate equipment and instructions. Read the U-Haul Trailer User Instructions thoroughly. Follow the instructions on how to properly load and operate your truck/trailer combination.

If you plan to tow your own trailer, check with a U-Haul representative to determine the maximum trailer weight you can tow. Make sure your trailer is properly loaded, that the coupler and safety chains are attached and that the trailer lights are working properly. See your trailer owner's manual for more information.

Hazardous materials

DO NOT transport hazardous materials, corrosives, explosives or flammables, such as gasoline or paint thinner. A container that is almost empty is just as dangerous as a full one. Flammables may explode or ignite through spontaneous combustion from vehicle movement.

Empty and air out the tanks on lawn mowers, camping stoves and lanterns before loading.

Propane tanks must be secured standing upright, with the fuel hose disconnected, valve closed and checked for leaks before transporting.

NEVER fill a portable fuel container IN or ON the truck. Set tanks on the ground to fill to avoid static electricity and prevent sparks.

Securely close and properly package household cleaning products.

Loading ramps

U-Haul designed the loading ramp to help you load and unload the truck. MAKE SURE the loading ramp is completely stored and latched before you put the truck in motion. Follow ramp operating instructions on the decal in the cargo area of the truck.


When loading or driving a U-Haul truck wear fully enclosed shoes with slip-resistant soles, such as tennis shoes or work shoes. Flip-flops and sandals do not provide protection from falling objects or sharp edges of your cargo. You are also more likely to slip and fall when wearing flip-flops or sandals.

Wet floors

If the floor of the cargo box or the loading ramp become contaminated (wet, oily, other), remove all contaminate from that surface. You may slip and fall when walking on a contaminated surface.


Get familiar with controls first

Before driving, familiarize yourself with the driver controls and accessories. Be sure you understand how to operate the transmission shift and parking brake controls before starting engine. Locate the switches for lights, wipers, climate controls, etc. Adjust mirrors as needed.

Stopping and following distance

U-Haul trucks are heavier than passenger cars, especially when loaded. This means it will take you longer to stop.

Allow at least 4 seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. Start counting when the back of the vehicle in front of you passes a fixed object, such as a line or crack in the road. If the front of your vehicle reaches the object before the end of the 4 seconds, increase your distance.

If you are driving in adverse weather, such as rain, snow, or fog, use at least a 5 second gap.

If a disturbance occurs:

Let off the gas pedal. NEVER speed up to try to control a disturbance.

DO NOT apply your brakes.

HOLD THE STEERING WHEEL in a straight- ahead position. DO NOT try to control the disturbance by turning the steering wheel.

After a disturbance has stopped:

Pull a safe distance off the roadway and stop. Get all occupants out of the truck and away from the roadway.

Check the cargo to make sure the load has not shifted. Make sure the truck is loaded heavier in front and not overloaded.

Check that all the tires are properly inflated and that all lug nuts are tight.

If towing a trailer, make sure it is properly loaded. Trailers must be loaded heavier in the front half to prevent trailer sway or WHIPPING. See the U-Haul Trailer User Instructions for more information.

If the disturbance persists, contact the nearest U-Haul representative and have them inspect or exchange the truck.


Your truck is heavier and longer than a passenger vehicle and will require more time and distance to pass. DO NOT pass on hills or curves.


Shift into lower gears to prevent the truck from jerking due to engine lugging when traveling up hills. This will improve gas mileage and reduce engine overheating.

DO NOT ride the brake pedal while going downhill. Prolonged use of your brakes results in overheating and possible loss of braking. When you need to slow down, apply the brake pedal and slow down below the intended speed. Then let completely off the brake pedal. Repeat this braking cycle as needed.

Road shoulders

If a wheel goes off the paved roadway:

DO NOT turn the steering wheel sharply.

DO NOT apply your brakes.

Let off the gas pedal and slow down below 25 mph. Then steer gradually back on the roadway. Proceed with caution entering traffic.

Sharp corners

Avoid turning too sharp on corners, in gas stations or parking lots. Because the truck is longer the truck rear end will track inside the turn and may sideswipe a vehicle or object. Drive slightly past the corner before turning or turn wider than you would with a car to avoid this. Or simply plan ahead and avoid sharp turns where you can.

Steep driveways

When driving on steep driveways or angled incline transitions, the rear bumper may drag or get stuck, particularly after loading. The parking brake also may not hold on excessively steep inclines. Avoid driving or parking on steep inclines, park in an alternate location.

If a truck gets stuck

If truck becomes stuck in snow, mud, sand, other; do not attempt to get it out by spinning wheels or revving engine – this may damage the truck and you will be held responsible. Get help at or call the Roadside Assistance number under BREAKDOWNS below, and U-Haul will assist you.



Shut off engine before refueling. Extinguish all smoking materials and open flames. Remove fuel-tank cap slowly to vent any pressure inside the tank.

Avoid spilling fuel. Hot engine exhaust can ignite flammable vapors, causing a fire or explosion.

Be sure to use correct fuel, refer to labeling on truck.

Tire pressure

Set all tires to the proper pressure. Find the recommended COLD pressure on the tire decals located on the truck. Tire pressures go up during driving. DO NOT let off this extra pressure.

Engine oil

You should check engine oil at each fuel stop. Use only the grade of oil that is listed on the decal in the engine compartment. Keep the engine oil level between the ADD and FULL marks. Save receipts for reimbursement when you return your truck.

If your truck is equipped with a tilt engine hood, pull it open only from the front handle.


NEVER loosen the radiator cap when engine is HOT. Doing so can cause HOT coolant to spray out under pressure. Check radiator level only when engine is COLD.


Immediately park your truck in a safe place, completely off the roadway. Turn on your emergency flashers. Get all occupants out of the vehicle and away from the roadway.

Assemble and place the emergency warning triangles on the roadway, as traffic permits. Assembly and placement instructions are shown behind passengers seat, or on the back of the passenger-side visor.

If you must continue on the roadway to reach a safe place off the road, turn on your emergency flashers and proceed with caution.

If necessary, drive on a flat tire to reach a safe place completely off the roadway. Drive slowly.

If the truck’s mechanical problem is minor and it can be safely driven, proceed to the nearest U-Haul location, get help at or call Roadside Assistance at 1-800-528-0355.

If the mechanical problem is major or if the truck is inoperable or cannot be driven safely, get help at or call Roadside Assistance at 1-800-528-0355. Be prepared to give your exact location and a callback telephone number. Have your contract with you when you call. They will have a U-Haul representative contact you and do whatever is necessary.


In case of an accident, get everyone out of the vehicle and completely off the roadway. Call an ambulance if anyone is injured. Notify the police as soon as possible and then report the accident at or call Roadside Assistance at 1-800-528-0355.

Driving checklist

(Use at each stop)

Before driving

  • Fasten safety restraints.
  • Properly adjust mirrors.
  • Get familiar with controls.

Backing and loading

  • Before backing, check behind the truck for pedestrians and obstructions.
  • Secure load in cargo area.
  • Cargo door closed and latched securely.

On the road

  • Slow down to avoid crashes
  • Anticipate stops. Brake early.
  • Be alert and drive defensively.
  • Stop for rest when you get tired.

At stops

  • Firmly set parking brake.
  • Shift transmission firmly into park and turn engine off.
  • Check connections if towing a trailer.
  • Check tire condition.
  • Check that all lights are working.
  • Remove keys and lock the truck.

Remember - crashes are caused by:

  • Driver error or Inattention.
  • Excessive speed.
  • Following too closely.

You should always

  • Load the truck heavier in front.
  • Reduce your normal driving speed.
  • Wear your seat belt.
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