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U-Haul Trailers: Information and Alternatives

May 19th, 2016 - 1:20 PM

Everything you need to know about U-Haul® trailers​

There are several reasons why you might consider renting a U-Haul trailer for a long distance move. Perhaps you’re moving just a few household goods and want to tow a trailer behind your car instead of renting a truck. Or maybe you have a few extra items that won’t fit in the rental truck and need a way to move them, too.

The information below will help you determine if renting a U-Haul trailer is ultimately your best choice, or if a company like U-Pack® can better suit your needs.  

U-Haul trailer rental

U-Haul trailer options​

U-Haul offers two types of moving trailers: cargo and utility. The enclosed cargo trailer is designed for moving household goods while the open design of the utility trailer is geared towards hauling bulkier items that can be exposed to the elements.

In addition to these trailers, U-Haul offers sport trailers, car tow dollies, auto transport trailers and motorcycle trailers. 

U-Haul cargo and utility trailers

U-Haul trailer dimensions and weight limits

If you’re moving household goods across the country, you will most likely need to rent either the cargo or utility trailer. These U-Haul trailers come in a variety of sizes and weight restrictions.

Cargo trailer dimensions and weight limit:

  • The 4’ x 8’ trailer has a 1,650 lb. limit
  • The 5’ x 8’ trailer has a 1,800 lb. limit
  • The 5’ x 10’ trailer has a 1,550 lb. limit
  • The 6’ x 12’ trailer has a 2,480 lb. limit

Utility trailer dimensions and weight limit:

  • The 4’ x 7’ trailer has a 1,770 lb. limit
  • The 5’ x 8’ trailer has a 1,890 lb. limit
  • The 5’ x 9’ trailer with ramp has a 1,650 lb. limit
  • The 6’ x 12’ trailer has a 2,670 lb. limit
  • The 6’ x 12’ trailer with ramp has a 2,110 lb. limit

What size U-Haul trailer do I need?​

The U-Haul trailer size you need depends on how much you’re moving, but to give you an idea of what size you may need, here are some examples:

  • The 4’ x 8’ cargo trailer (the smallest U-Haul cargo trailer) has 142 cubic feet of space and holds a maximum of 1,650 pounds. This trailer can hold items like a loveseat or table and chairs.
  • The 6’ x 12’ cargo trailer (the largest U-Haul cargo trailer) has 396 cubic feet and holds a maximum of 2,480 pounds. This trailer can transport a small amount of household goods.
  • The 4’ x 7’ utility trailer (the smallest U-Haul utility trailer) has 26 square feet of space and holds a maximum of 1,770 pounds. This trailer works for items like appliances or single pieces of furniture.
  • The 6’ x 12’ utility trailer with ramp (the largest U-Haul utility trailer) has 74 square feet of space and holds a maximum of 2,110 pounds. This trailer can transport larger/heavier items such as lawnmowers or ATVs.

The number of articles you can load also depends on the curb weight of your vehicle (the weight without the cargo or passengers) and the lowest-rated component of your hitch system. Maximum tow weight is usually printed on the hitch, ball and ball mount. Be sure to check this information because it could cause you to be unable to tow some of your heavier furniture or equipment.

Note:  The type of vehicle you drive can influence which trailer you use. Some trailers are too big for certain vehicles, while some are too small for larger SUVs and trucks. Make sure your vehicle works with the trailer you want to rent to avoid any issues.  

How old do I have to be to pull a U-Haul trailer?

U-Haul requires the driver of a vehicle pulling a rented trailer to be at least 16 years of age with a valid driver’s license.

How fast can I drive while towing a U-Haul?

U-Haul recommends keeping your speed under 55 mph when towing a trailer.

How does towing affect my gas mileage?

Pulling a heavier load takes more power, so you can expect to pay more at the pump when towing a U-Haul trailer. Fueleconomy.gov states every 100 pounds of extra weight will decrease fuel efficiency by about 1 percent. Since a full 6' x 12' U-Haul trailer can weigh close to 4,400 lbs. pulling it behind your vehicle could decrease the fuel efficiency by 44 percent! If your car gets 30 MPG normally, it may only get 13 MPG while towing a U-Haul trailer. And if you're moving long distance, those fuel costs can add up. 

What about trailer sway?

Trailer sway is something to be aware of anytime you pull a trailer behind your vehicle. It’s the swerving, fishtailing or swaying movement that can happen when a trailer is being towed and it can be very dangerous. Minor sway is normal, but substandard vehicle care or improper loading can result in unsafe trailer sway. When this happens, the vehicle can drift across lanes or even lose total control. To prevent trailer sway, U-Haul recommends using the 60/40 rule: load 60 percent of your cargo weight in the front half of the trailer and 40 percent in the back half.

What does U-Haul require for towing?

If you choose to tow behind your personal vehicle, there are a few requirements:

  • U-Haul must approve your vehicle (read why U-Haul won’t rent a trailer to a Ford Explorer)
  • The curb weight of your tow vehicle should be around 80 percent of the loaded weight
  • A hitch system and lighting connections are required — the hitch system includes the receiver hitch, ball mount, and ball (you will need a particular size hitch ball for each trailer size)
  • Your vehicle must have external mirrors on both sides
  • All lights must be operable
  • If your vehicle is an SUV or Jeep, it must have a hard top

Note: If you use a U-Haul truck for towing the trailer, you won’t need to check for these requirements because the trucks are designed to haul their trailers. If you do decide to use a U-Haul truck for towing, keep in mind rental trucks generally are not equipped with rear-view mirrors. You’ll need to rely on your side view mirrors to ensure safe passing.

How much is a U-Haul trailer?

U-Haul prices are based on a few things: one-way rates on the trailer size you choose, the distance between your origin and destination and when you’re moving. There are also a set number of days to complete your move and there’s no discount for returning the trailer early. If you pay by cash, a $100 deposit plus the rental rate is due when you pick up your equipment. To figure out how much it is to rent a U-Haul trailer, you will need to enter your specific information on their website for a quote. Keep in mind U-Haul trailer rental prices vary daily.

Are there any alternatives to towing a trailer?

Yes! U-Pack is an excellent alternative to pulling a U-Haul trailer. U-Pack allows you to pack, load and unload just like you would a trailer, but you don't have to drive. Because U-Pack drives, you're free to drive your personal vehicle or catch a quick flight. Here's how it works:

  • U-Pack delivers a moving trailer or ReloCube to your home
  • You load your items inside
  • U-Pack drives your trailer or Cube to your destination
  • You unload
  • U-Pack picks up the equipment

Talk about convenient and easy! And the best part? U-Pack is affordable, with rates that often compare with truck rentals. U-Pack bases your price on how much space you use in the trailer or how many ReloCubes you use. One ReloCube is ideal for a small move, holding a little more than the U-Haul 5’ x 10’ cargo trailer (the 5x10 trailer is about 230 cu. ft. and the Cube is 306 cu. ft.). If you have more to move, the moving trailer is an excellent option because you pay based on the linear footage you use.

Get a quote from U-Pack to compare to U-Haul trailer rental

You can get a free moving quote online or call 800-413-4799 to see how much U-Pack costs. Every quote includes the driver, fuel, sales tax, road tolls, liability coverage and transportation time. Compare U-Pack prices to renting a truck and trailer or towing behind your vehicle—you may be surprised by the savings!

Have questions?

Leave us a comment below and we’ll answer right away.

Other helpful links

7 things to know about U-Haul before renting a truck

How much will it cost to tow my car?

FAQ about U-Haul truck rentals


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