Common Preventable Issues and Recommended Driving Tips for U-Haul Trucks

There are plenty of reasons for renting a U-Haul truck for your next move. But if you’ve never driven a moving truck before, you might have some questions about how to operate your equipment properly and effectively so both your truck and belongings remain in good condition.

Driving a U-Haul truck isn’t much different than driving a passenger vehicle. Following local traffic laws and adhering to recommended driving best practices is the best way to prevent problems with your truck during your move. To get even more out of your moving truck rental, here are some driving tips and additional recommendations for preventing common issues during your move.

Recommended Driving Tips for U-Haul Customers

Basic tips for driving a U-Haul truck:

  • Follow at a safe distance. Never tailgate, as you will not be able to stop as quickly as you would in a smaller vehicle. We recommend keeping a larger following distance between you and the car in front of you.
  • Check your mirrors. Your vehicle may come with mirrors folded in to help with parking. Be sure they are extended and in your sight line before you get on the road. U-Haul Team Members will gladly help adjust the mirrors to your needs.
  • Remember your clearance level. If you are traveling on the highway, parking under an awning or near a carport, be mindful of your truck’s clearance level (placard located outside of the cab doors on the “box” corner of your U-Haul truck). ATMs, fast-food drive-throughs and gas pumps are areas that may have limited clearance and require caution.
  • Use extra caution at stop lights and when changing lanes. Larger moving trucks have a slower time maneuvering and stopping quickly, so ensure there is enough room for the vehicle before you move over. Always signal well in advance.
  • Follow local speed limits. The vehicle you are driving may be larger than the vehicle you are used to driving; remember to build speed gradually and drive at an appropriate speed.

How to Prevent Common Issues & Reminders

Stay in control

We recommend driving in a steady, controlled manner with safety in mind so that you put as little stress on your equipment as possible. Take turns slowly. Refrain from accelerating rapidly and actively anticipate braking to give yourself time to brake.

Shifting correctly

Repeatedly shifting between drive, reverse and park when the truck isn’t fully stopped can damage the transmission over time. Remember to come to a complete stop before moving the gear selector lever

Don’t get stuck

U-Haul trucks and trailers are designed to be operated on paved surfaces only. Do not operate U-Haul equipment on surfaces other than concrete or asphalt. Even paved roads can become slippery in cold/wet weather and getting up a hill or inclined driveway may be problematic. Wet grass or ground can cause a truck or trailer to sink into the ground as it gets loaded.

Securing the rear cargo door latch

When opening the rear cargo door on any U-Haul “box trucks” (10’, 15’, 20' and 26’) models, the cargo door latch rotates counterclockwise and will secure itself in the open position when rotated fully counterclockwise. See how to latch a rear door on a U-Haul Truck in this video. Failure to rotate the latch into the proper open position can result in the latch getting caught and the cargo door becoming stuck in the open position.

Use the correct fuel when filling up the tank

If you are renting a moving truck, we ask that you return the equipment with the same amount of fuel that it had when you left the U-Haul Location. Reminder: Every U-Haul truck runs on unleaded gasoline, so be sure you are using the correct fuel type.

Don’t allow yourself to run out of fuel

If you are traveling a long distance, make sure that you will have enough fuel to get to where you are going, or that there is a gas station on the way. Plan your route and stops ahead of time.

Take good care of the keys

With the stress of moving and hauling your items, it can be easy to misplace or even lock your keys in the moving truck. Be mindful when removing keys from the doors and ignition. Excessive force when removing the key from the door or turning on or off the ignition can damage or break the key.

Connect/disconnect your trailer correctly

U-Haul is all about DIY and putting the power in your hands. If you are connecting your trailer yourself, be sure that you do so correctly, so that it doesn’t disconnect while you are moving. This video will show you how to properly connect a U-Haul trailer to a towing vehicle. 

Check out this guide for more recommended driving practices from U-Haul. Visit the U-Haul Trucks Videos page for more tips and useful information about operating a U-Haul moving truck rental.

Got a problem? U-Haul Roadside Assistance can help

While every U-Haul truck and trailer are regularly maintained and inspected for quality and reliability, unpredictable things can happen. If a problem does come up during your move and you are a current U-Haul customer, U-Haul Roadside Assistance will help you get back on your way.

Visit today for more information.


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