What's The Best DIY Moving Truck?

Illustration for article titled What's The Best DIY Moving Truck?

I'm moving. Again. But before I cart my belongings from Colorado east to the land of bad summer and winter weather, I need to figure out the cheapest way possible to do it.


I've looked into moving trucks, but being a Parking Lot Mechanic type, I'm pretty sure I can do better. I think it's time to buy my own moving truck.

My 1986 Subaru GL wagon, while very roomy, won't fit all of my stuff. Trust me, I tried working out myriad potential scenarios, including dragging a small utility trailer behind it. But maybe that would kill its anemic 85 hp aluminum mill. Plus, I've loaded that car down with crap before, and it's a misery to drive when the front wheels barely touch the ground.

Renting a UHaul can be pretty expensive. Especially if you're dragging a car with you. It looks like it would be about $1,300 just for the rental, which doesn't include fuel. At the current average price, considering the mileage a box truck dragging a car gets, that would be at least $650. Boom. That's almost $2,000. It would be cool to spend a lot less than that.

What if, instead of renting a truck that I won't even come close to filling up with belongings — like most people do — what if I buy an old beater truck and put my Parking Lot Mechanic skills to work to keep it alive for the long, cold journey across the Midwest? If I do that, and if the truck makes it, I can resell the truck for the same price once I get to my destination. And even if it doesn't make it, I can part the thing out to recoup some of my cost.

Illustration for article titled What's The Best DIY Moving Truck?

So here's the question, knowledgeable Jalopnik readers: Which beater truck would be best. I have enough stuff to fill two Subaru station wagons, and will be towing ... you guessed it, a Subaru station wagon.


My fancy wanders toward the ridiculous: a late-'60s American pickup with a manual transmission. Of course, that wouldn't be practical at all. The wretched $750 pile I'd go for would break down in 50 miles and probably wouldn't best 10 mpg. But what about an early-'90s Astro van, or a big American station wagon? Any suggestions? Sound off in Kinja!

My only requirements are strong, capacious, and cheap, with bonus points for decent fuel economy.


Photo credit: Craigslist; DEI Equipment


For Sweden

Do this right the first time. Buy a cargo van and sell it at the end of your trip. The pictured GMC Savanna is for sale in Denver for $1900.


If that's not enough room, buy a pickup bed trailer, such as this one for $400