Future planning. Would prefer not to be barn bound when trainer unavailable to take me to shows / clinics (she has other commitments that mean I can’t do anything off farm from for 10 weeks during prime Eventing season). Affording horse, trailer and tow vehicle would be several years away, and I’m not sure it’s cost effective to have a separate vehicle I’ll likely use only a handful of times each year in any case. Don’t want anything that is strong enough to tow even a Euro trailer as a daily driver because I don’t want to take the hit on fuel economy 355 days/ year I’m not hauling. Can’t borrow her truck since it’s her daily driver. As of now, can’t carpool with any other riders to events. Have contacted commercial shippers previously w/ no responses and I’m not sure where I’d change / work from at a one day horse trial without a trailer if they dropped me off for the day. Thinking of biting the bullet for my own trailer but renting pickup from UHaul or Enterprise when needed. Has anyone ever done this? What were your experiences? What watch outs or considerations should I be thinking about? TIA.
You can with Enterprise , there are "special pricing for weekender use
You can with Enterprise , there are "special pricing for weekender use
Many years ago, a trainer in my area would rent the big tractor truck to pull his big rig.
Also consider turo.com. It is sort of like Airbnb for vehicles.
Thanks for the responses so far. But I’m wondering if anyone has actually done it. If so, what concerns should I have about towing with an unfamiliar truck, or not the same truck each time? Or anything else I don’t know enough to ask?
You would need to make sure the hitch on the rental was setup at the correct height for your trailer.
Otherwise you risk towing with the trailer nose too high or low.
And you’d need a variety of ball hitch sizes - 2", 2-5/16", etc.
Rental may not have a brake controller.
IMO, you would be better off borrowing trailer & tow vehicle from someone who has the correct setup. Pay them what you’d spend on truck rental.
Bite the bullet (as I have) get a HD SUV to haul & a smaller daily driver.
I have a PT Cruiser for everyday & haul with a Chevy Trailblazer.
As long as the rented vehicle has an operational trailer brake and is rated for the loaded trailer’s weight, you should be fine. You’d get the lightest 2H BP you can, and your own hitch for it that you would put on the rental truck.
That being said, not all 1/2 ton trucks are created equally, and I would not drive through rough terrain/mountains with an unfamiliar truck unless I 100% knew the towing capacity of it. Don’t trust the kid at the counter… they will not know, even if they tell you they do…
Also, many/most rentals aren’t 4WD. So that may be a limiting factor if you’re attending an event where parking is a muddy field.
Like 2DF, I also have a separate daily driver from my towing vehicle. Does it suck to have two car payments? Yes it does. But for me it’s worth it.
I believe one of the COTH columnists wrote several times about renting a UHaul truck to haul her trailer to every event. She’d be a great reference, if I could remember who it was!
I have a Euro trailer (a Boeckmann) and have used a rental pickup on occasion. My trailer has surge brakes so I don’t need to worry about a controller in the tow vehicle, and I only need a V6 motor. The electric plug is a 4 pin such as used with a boat or utility trailer. It wasn’t a problem at all. I do have an SUV that I tow with but when that dies I may just rent instead of buying another.
I didn’t think you could rent a truck with liability for hauling horses.
I got stranded once in Missouri and wanted to rent one to drive my trailer home to Texas while my truck was in the shop and they refused. It’s hard to find one big enough as well; lots of half tons - not so many 3/4+ tons.
I would be concerned that the rental truck hitch was either not rated high enough to tow a horse trailer or that it is not welded to the truck frame. Many rental trucks are setup for lighter weight towing such as utility trailers, boats, etc.
Ive done this through enterprise when my truck was in the shop for repairs. They do alow horse trailering.
You must rent a 3/4 ton, all of their 1/2 tons do not have brake controllers. The 3/4 tons have factory installed tow packages, there was no worry as to towing capacity. They will ask you about the trailer weight. I had some issues with the drop etc so had to purchase another trailer ball mount.
I find it interesting to read other people’s posts on this topic, but I have a very different opinion. I think that renting a tow vehicle is in general not a great option. First of all, there are a lot of variables. Is the vehicle adequate to tow the load? Does it have a long enough wheelbase to be stable? Is the hitch itself rated to tow the weight you are towing? Was the hitch (even if rated adequately) installed correctly at a reputable shop? Is the electrical hookup compatible? Do you know how to work the brake controller? Is the height of the hitch correct so that the trailer you are towing is level? Is the towing vehicle familiar enough to you that you know how to troubleshoot if you have problems? How confident are you that the rental vehicle has been well maintained?
My experience is that I use two towing vehicles and four different trailers (not all mine). There’s a certain level of adjusting and trouble-shooting that is necessary. I think it is a gross oversimplification to assume that you can connect any truck to your trailer the night before of an event and everything is automatically going to work perfectly. Everything might look great but half your lights might not work, or there could be some other unanticipated issue. Other people may have different opinions and I respect that. But my advice would be to test out your rental plan well in advance of an actual event. And, I would also recommend that if you figure out a setup that works to strive for consistency, renting the same (or as similar as possible) vehicle each time.
I don’t think I could ever trust the maintenance done on a rental vehicle enough to put my horses at risk like that. I have all the service records for my truck and have it looked over by mechanics fairly regularly for my own peace of mind.
There is also a reason for the saying “drive it like you stole it-or, rented it!”
@BeeHoney I agree. Major issues include whether the brake controller is compatible and works properly, whether the truck you are able to rent has sufficient tow capacity and factory installed, frame mounted hitch, and whether said hitch has the proper tow capacity. Assuming you are in an area where there is enough of a market to rent a proper vehicle - you’ll need to have access to different ball sizes and different drop/rise arms to level the trailer relative to the truck.
you’ll need to have access to different ball sizes and different drop/rise arms to level the trailer relative to the truck.
or just look in my garage, there are two cases of various hitch parts all combinations of receiver hitches
Those of you would would never use a rental truck…do you borrow a friends when your primary hauler is out of service?
I’m not in the never camp, just requires a lot more thought/work than it sounds like to someone who isn’t used to trailering. That said, no - I don’t borrow. My tow vehicle goes in for regular scheduled service to keep it running well when it’s needed, and I use professional shippers when something unexpected happens, or I’m not available on the day the horse needs to ship, or we’re going farther away than I typically drive.
Most of the information people have mentioned (I.e, tow capacity, ratings etc) can be found in a truck manual online or with the truck. You should know what your load weighs. I rented a truck that was larger than my truck so no issues with capacities. I would only rent a newer truck with a factory tow package—the trucks computer will tell you if there’s an electrical issue. Start by setting the gain with an empty trailer to figure out braking. It’s not that difficult to determine the necessary drop to level the rig. If you do your homework and use common sense its totally doable, if you are confident and experienced with trailering. Of course I’d prefer my own truck but it was a useful option, especially for short trips close to home.
Yes, and the hassles that have ensued are what I base my advice on. When I change tow vehicles or trailers, I expect problems to occur and troubleshooting to be required. These headaches sometimes must be endured due to necessity, but I would not willingly take them on as my primary towing plan.
Also, having rented both vehicles and equipment on multiple occasions (for purposed other than towing) I have very low confidence in the maintenance level of rental vehicles and equipment.
And, IME very few people have working knowledge of what it takes to have a safe towing setup. There are a lot of details that go into it. Unfortunately, there are a TON of people that THINK they know this information but IRL are simply blissfully ignorant.
So, if a person chooses to go this route, they would need to fully educate and equip themselves, and allow time to do a full checkout of the rig in advance of actual travel.