When you have a one-ton diesel van at your disposal, you find a reason to put it to work. I hauled the van out for Radwood Chicago loaded down with merchandise and the ephemera needed to host a car show, but while I was on this side of the Mississippi, I volunteered to haul something quite interesting that you’ll certainly see more of on Jalopnik in the near future. After a bit of searching around, I found a U-Haul location en route from where I was in Chicago to where the car was in the suburbs of Boston, and booked the best damn trailer in the biz.
I’ve had excellent luck with U-Haul trailers in the past, as their Motorcycle trailer is just the finest piece of equipment money can rent. These machine movers are lightweight, durable, impeccably engineered, and just cheap as chips to borrow for a few days. Why on earth would anyone buy a five figure car hauler when you can rent one of these for a race weekend for a couple hundred dollars? The even better bit is that you don’t have to store it, insure it, register it, or maintain it!
The best part about this trailer is just how self-contained it all is. This was specifically designed for hauling a bunch of different kinds of cars, and it shows. Not only are the ramps for the car wide and sturdy, they clip right in to the back of the trailer and extend out like a transformer. Once the car is loaded, the front wheels are held in place by a webbed tire net that ratchets directly to the front of the trailer (above) and features lots of adjustability for various vehicle track widths. Then there are securing chains front and rear, and Robert’s your mother’s brother.
I neglected to bring a come-along chain, so I was forced to use a thick ratchet strap to pull the car up the ramps solo. Twelve cranks, chock the rear tires to keep it from going back down, loosen the straps, twelve more cranks, repeat. It wasn’t an easy process, but it was what I had. With another person we could have pushed the lightweight car up onto the trailer, but I couldn’t quite clear the top lip pushing it by myself.
Once the front was secured, I threw a ratchet strap over the rear sway bar just to keep the back end from bouncing around too much. For simplicity sake, I threw the remaining strap into the car’s trunk, and tied it off to the rear roll cage leg. Even alone, the car was loaded and secured within 45 minutes, and off we went.
I got up in Chicago on Sunday morning semi-rested after the hottest-feeling Radwood on record, more on that in another post. The U-Haul website would only let me book a trailer to return to the same location as pickup, which is kind of a pain in the ass, so I booked a place in South Bend, Indiana as it would be both on my way to Boston, but not too far out of the way after I dropped the car off and headed back to Reno. This meant I had to haul an empty trailer for a bit over 1,000 miles, and pay a mighty high toll rate for four-axles, but sometimes you play the cards you’re dealt.
As luck would have it, the guy at the U-Haul shop where I picked up the trailer allowed me to re-jigger my itinerary to drop off just down the street from the end of the car’s journey. Well, okay then.
The U-Haul didn’t open until 10 AM on Sunday, so I already knew this was going to be a long day. I left Chicago at 6 AM and after listening to what seemed like the entire series run of the podcast You’re Wrong About, I arrived at my destination, trailer in tow, around 1:15 in the morning. Loaded the car up by 2 AM and took off again. An hour later I found an empty carpool parking lot, pulled in, and caught forty winks in the back of the ambulance.
While our journey together isn’t yet over, I can say that U-Haul has another slam dunk with this car hauler. It’s so simple to use that any old dingus, myself included, can make it work. It’s a nice size for a variety of vehicles, even this little guy fits. And it just tows so nicely. My old Ford with almost a quarter million miles barely even notices it’s back there. For just under 200 greenbacks, including the extra insurance, to use the trailer for three days, I can’t recommend it enough. Forget hauling your own trailer, just U-Haul it.