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  1. #1
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    OT: Towing a car (trailer rental)

    Has anyone rented the uhaul car trailer before
    If I rent a regular size truck will it be sufficient to tow it
    I need to move a 2300lbs car from SoCal to NorCal
    What is my best option ?

    What about car shipping companies?

  2. #2
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    Should be fine. Basic rule of thumb - towing vehicle should weigh twice as much as load.

    Otherwise things can potentially migrate to swaying across 4 lanes at speed. Ask me how I know..

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Self Motivated
    Should be fine. Basic rule of thumb - towing vehicle should weigh twice as much as load.

    Otherwise things can potentially migrate to swaying across 4 lanes at speed. Ask me how I know..
    How do you know?

  4. #4
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    Drive up, fly back.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1
    How do you know?
    If you must ask

    Years ago my neighbor (yes it really was my neighbor - although I might be inclined to do something just as foolish) decided to save money picking up a Buick Roadmaster wagon in NJ to cart it back to VT by towing it with his Caprice Estate wagon. In his defense, he did rent a nice car trailer with tandem wheels - which does help with stability.. up to a point.

    Upon accelerating up to what would be a normal speed on the Garden State Parkway (likely another no-no) the whole rig started swaying badly - quickly clearing all surrounding traffic. Luckily he regained control and no one collided. The rest of the trip to VT never got above 40. That had to be miserable.

  6. #6
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    Any current full size truck can tow 2300lbs with no problem. If you're using a mini truck with a V6 and an automatic transmission you will have no problems with it either.

  7. #7
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    I rented a few before I bought a trailer of my own. U-haul will ask you what you're going to tow with, and what you're going to tow. In my experience they look that up in a book and give you a go/no go on the deal.

    I've towed several cars with 1/2 ton trucks before. I wouldn't recommend going a long distance with a smaller truck. The problem you run into is stopping the thing. The trailer has a brake on it, no controller needed in the tow vehicle. Still it can get wild if you let the speed get out of hand. Will you be coming down any mountain passes along the way? Being able to stop on flat ground doesn't mean you'll be able to stop with the brakes heated up, not to mention burning up the linings.

    Prior posters have already mentioned what can happen if the trailer gets to swaying on you. So, watch your speed and ignore people that try to push you past your comfort level

    You might want to read up in your owner's manual about towing. I know some vehicles recommend you turn off the overdrive to avoid burning the trans up from lugging the weight in too high of a gear.

    It doesn't sound like you're experienced with towing, so try to not put yourself into a spot where you have to back out. When you have to make a stop, look for places like truck stops that have plenty of room to get turned around.

    As for hiring someone else to tow it for you, generally it's priced by the loaded mile. I'm not sure what the going rate is nowadays though. Seems like I paid a buck and a half per mile for the last car I had brought in - IIRC it was $700 from East Texas to West Virginia.
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  8. #8
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    I vote for the one way flight deal. Easiest way to go, as long as your target car is legally drivable, naturally.

  9. #9
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    I've pulled about the same weight with a uhaul trailer hitched to my half-ton, no problems at all. I highly recommend a real chassis-mounted hitch, not just a ball on the bumper. Also make sure the kid who hooks up the trailer tightens that coupler, or you'll end up with a dented tailgate like I did!

    (I know, I should have double checked it myself, but I was in a hurry to get a car moved. Uhaul wouldn't pay for ANY of the damages.)

    If you have some cash to burn you can get free quotes from car-hauling companies.
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  10. #10
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    I do not want to drive back, just had the engine rebuilt and the trip back on freeway is bad for it, the last time I tried it caused a problem with the rings not bedding in properly.

    I am leaning towards getting it shipped back similar to what people use when they buy a car from Ebay, I seem to see a price around $300, that's cheaper than truck rental, trailer rental, gas etc.

    I've no experience driving a heavy load and all that skidding and braking horror stories is kind of making me nervous now.

  11. #11
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    Ignore the scary stories, 2300 pounds is a pretty light car. I'd be comfortable using another passenger car and a tow bar.

    I used a U-haul box truck and tow dolly in a pinch a few years ago. If you are driving an empty moving van with a car dangling off the rear the biggest challenge will be to not forget the car is back there.

  12. #12
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    Any modern full size pickup will have a towing capacity of at least 6000lbs. My 2000 Sierra 1500 series is rated at 7300lbs. Keep in mind that is the max capacity of everything, including the car, trailer, truck, load, full tank of gas, and passengers. However, I think even then you will in spec. When towing, the strength of the engine is rarely the limiting factor. Its the suspension and braking capacity that is critical, especially if you route is hilly. Make sure the truck is set up properly with a rated hitch, not a bumper mount.
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  13. #13
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    I'm assuming that you will be going through the Grapevine.There's a lot of climbing and descents that can get crazy if it's windy. So be careful of gusty winds. Pull over if you feel uncomfortable. Just remember not to push your towing vehicle when climbing, especially the 1st climb after Castaic. On the descents, watch your speed. Don't feel like you have to make up lost time by going fast on the descents. The crazy descents are Frazier Park and at the end, right after Gorman and Tejon Ranch. And like mentioned earlier, don't let other drivers push you to speed up. It's all about being safe and getting to your destination in one piece.

  14. #14
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    I would recommend a car dolly if the car allows for it. The weight of the rental trailers is more than you think, and can impact the towing performance of a mid-sized or half-ton truck.

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  15. #15
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    Not trying to say the recommendations are bad here but I would lurk in this forum and ask if you need to. These guys do this all the time.

    http://www.rv.net/forum/

    I tow a 25 foot offshore fishing boat with my Sierra 1500 up to 50 miles and have no problem. It has a actuated hydraulic braking system and it tows fine on tow haul mode.


    Based on your car weight (2300lbs) and the average weight of car trailer (2000lbs) you will be fine with a 1/2 ton pick up truck assuming your not loading the truck with more than the GVWR. 1/2 tons have a typical tow rating of 7000 to almost 11,000lbs depending on many factors. Factors are the more the truck has for options then the less it will tow such as 2wd is better than 4wd, regular cab is better than 4 doors and so on. I would certainly get a long bed truck if you can to handle stability/sway better (this is physics).


    To the guy who was towing the Buick with a Caprice, chances are you were way over the tongue weight capacity which is what caused the sway. Bags would have helped a lot and stabilizers would have made it easy. The car itself I'm sure had plenty or power/torque to tow but the car had it's limitations in that case. Glad you made it safely though.

  16. #16
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    I have been doing some more reseach turns out some of the car forum members are just using a tow bar bolted to the front bumper bolts to haul it around, even a minivan could do the towing. Does anyone have experience with it? Do you have to leave the key in the towed car to stop the steering wheel from locking?

    What I can't figure out is what I have to do to activate the brake lights, do the trucks already have a wire tap available to hook up a towing brake light, or is a external round light be just as good?

    Yes the grapevine area scares me but I will take it as slow as possible.

  17. #17
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    If this is a one time trip, i wouldn't even go through that trouble. Rent a tow dolly and be done with it.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorCyclist
    I have been doing some more reseach turns out some of the car forum members are just using a tow bar bolted to the front bumper bolts to haul it around, even a minivan could do the towing.
    I believe this was my suggestion.

    Yes unlock the ignition. I would just not worry about the lights if you are only going to tow this one time. Your regard for the law may vary, but a sign that says car-in-tow will keep you from getting rear-ended. Otherwise there's the magnetic kind.

    Keep in mind you need to attach the tow bar to you car, and modern cars make that difficult. The tow dolly is much easier, plus it has it's own lights. Tow bars are cheap though, you could just buy one and then you'd always have it.

    Also, I'm assuming this is a RWD car, so you may want to disconnect the propshaft. Depends on the car.

    I apologize in advance for the editorial content, but only in America do people think you need a half-ton truck to move something the size of a Miata.

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