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Hauling sheet goods

My 1980s Honda Civic hatchback was the last of its kind that was wide enough to fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood. Is there any smallish car around today that can handle that?

Scion xB might do it

Put it on the roof and don’t drive over 45 MPH. Anything will of that.

Not much anymore I don’t think. I have a trailer for that, or the big boxes now will rent you the truck to haul it. I had a guy that worked for me, lived in an apartment, and did wood working. He would have Home Depot do the cutting for him so he didn’t need a table saw, and could get it in the car. The other thing is, the local lumber yards are very good at simply dropping off what you order-usually free of charge.

Probably, but not safely. Even with the rear seat down you don’t have much over five feet of length in a small car. That leaves a lot of wood hanging out the back.

I rented a car called a “HHR” one time, forget who made it, Chrysler maybe, but the rear seats would fold down very nicely and make a large very convenient to use rectangular shaped cargo compartment. I hauled a whole boatload of flat cardboard boxe bundles in it, and it worked great. I think it might have been big enough for a sheet of plywood, you might need to leave the tailgate down though.

Why compromise your car selection for something you might do rarely? Get a small hitch and fold up trailer if you want to be independent. You can then haul all kinds of things you might not want inside your car.

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Put it on a roof rack and drive carefully, as recommended. Alternatively, lumber yards DELIVER such things for a modest fee. Tom and Ray got this question several times; they recommended you don’t size a vehicle for a once a year over size purchase.

I once bought a garden shed from Costco, who don’t deliver. A friend with a pickup truck was happy to pick it up for me. The garden shed is now 8 years old.

Tom and Ray got this question several time

Tom and Ray actually had a very funny story about a friend of theirs who was stealing sheets of plywood from a construction site. He strapped the plywood to the top of his station wagon. Driving down the road…he had to brake hard…and the plywood slid off the front and destroyed the front end of this vehicle.


@Mike, that’s one of my favorite Tom and Ray story. Maybe their best ever.

100% agree with @twinturbo. The safest way to carry 4 by 8 sheets with a compact is with a utility trailer. If you are going to buy a compact with the restriction it must carry a 4 by 8 sheet, you eliminate some of the very best, most reliable, most comfortable and economical compct cars on the road. For the paltry amount it cost for a utility trailer that can serve a need, it is well worth it.

@dagosa - I’ve been trying to figure out which '80s Civic could handle 4X8s…the wagon?

The last car I had that could handle a 4x8 sheet was a 67 Buick mid sized wagon. Its not the length thats the problem but the interior width. It would barely take it. I can get an 8 foot 2x4 in my G6, but nothing more than about 30" in width. That’s why I have a trailer. Last load to the dump was 1060 pounds of excess garage stuff. Comes in handy for more than plywood.

When you find one, let me know.

I can go to Home Depot and buy 3 4x8 sheets of plywood and bring them home with my wifes Lexus ES 350.

But before I leave the store I have to stop at their panel cutter and have them cut into 2x4 pieces.

@GeorgeSanJose – the HHR was a Chevrolet small crossover SUV made for a few years.

I rented an HHR once and no way is the back 48 inches wide. Very similar to a PT Cruiser.

It’ll stick out, but my 08 xB is able to accommodate 48” plywood. Drop the seats and it’ll slide in, nose down and back of sheet angles up. I also transported a prehung exterior door in a 2006 xB. Couple of bungee cords or ratcheting straps and good to go!

Like I probably said five years ago, I prefer a trailer for hauling this kind of stuff. No wear and tear on the interior of a car and a lot easier to load and unload. Plus you can cut the sheet goods right on the trailer if you want to get it to more manageable sizes.

I see all sorts of stuff hauled on tops of smallish cars. I once hauled a wall-vented natural gas home furnace on top of my Corolla. .