CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Moving and Towing

I have a lady-friend (age 73) who’s moving from western Mass to Milwaukee. She has a Chevy Aveo. Her original plan was to rent a 10-foot U-Haul. She would drive one, and a relative the other. Now she says the cost of gas for 2 vehicles would be prohibitive, and is thinking of towing the Aveo behind a U-Haul. I feel this is not a good idea, but need expert advice to confirm my opinion.

First off, U-Haul’s site says there’s no combo at all suitable to tow an Aveo. But she called around, and says she found other companies that will rent a larger truck that will tow it. I am leery. If U-Haul and Budget won’t do it with ANY size truck, are these other companies ignoring possible dangers? Is an Aveo just too small, or too low, or too lightweight to safely tow? (I have visions of a light wind on the Aveo ending in fishtailing the truck, with disastrous results). Secondly, would the difference in gas costs between a 10-footer in addition to the Aveo, and say a 17-footer towing it, be that dramatic? I drove a 10-footer on a similar trip (1092 miles) in 2009. Apart from cost of rental, I spent $212 on gas (at 14.1 mpg), and $57 on tolls. (Avg cost of gas in 2009 was $2.75. By the time she makes the move, it could be $4).

In addition, I personally wouldn’t dream of towing anything at all until I took a course to learn the specific skills needed.

(BTW, she’s also talking to movers to handle all her stuff. This avoids some headaches, but still leaves the Aveo to be driven to MKE, so the costs could end up the same.)

You’ve identified the issues. I’d have somebody else do the moving, even if the costs ended up the same, towing a car with a new-to-her truck would be a pain. If she does decide to do it she’ll need a dolly for the Aveo, to lift the front wheels off the ground. But I’d much rather just drive the Aveo and have the goods delivered.

I agree with “texases”. I would not ask anyone without experience doing this trip alone with all that it entails. Driving the compact should be her only concern.

If the costs are the same…then have the movers do it.

Be careful with some of these long-haul movers. There are a lot of horror stories about shoddy companies that take advantage of the weak.

I don’t know what is being moved, but I opt for professional movers. There are ways to cut costs. If there are a lot of books, the books can be shipped more reasonably by freight. Stoves, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators are usually better off being sold and replaced on the other end. Some movers will give a good rate for a partial load if the party being moved can be flexible on the moving date. These movers assemble a couple of partial loads into a full load if the destinations for each partial load are reasonably close.

Just curious, but who would load & unload the trucks if she went U Haul way?? She would have to hire someone I assume? I would think for someone her age hiring a mover would be the way to go .

“I would think for someone her age hiring a mover would be the way to go"
DfromSD–Don’t underestimate us geezers. I am 70 years old and I could unload a truck. On the other hand, I apply Wes’s rule (a rule my friend Wes taught me): " If a job is going to take more than 15 minutes, I hire someone to do it”. If I were moving from Western Massachusettes to Milwaukee, I would apply Wes’s rule and enjoy the brew that made Milwaukee famous when I got there.

"I am 70 years old and I could unload a truck. "
We need an impartial opinion on that. lMrs. Triedag ? My wife knows the only truck I can easily unload is the one with the tailgate release and dump body.

I would apply Wes’s rule and enjoy the brew that made Milwaukee famous when I got there.

PABST???

That would be Schlitz, Mike. Not a bad beer for a lager.

I thought it was Pabst…Looked it up on Google …yup Schlitz.

Real Old Schlitz??..Or the Old Schlitz…or the new old Schlitz??

If the cost of gas would be prohibitive, then we are on meager dollars. My suggestion, load only what you can’t part with into the aveo, have an estate sale, go minimalist in the new place and fill in with garage sale and thrift shop buys as desired. The estate sale will bring most bang for your stuff.

Having professionals move your “stuff” costs a fortune…That usually works only if somebody else is paying for it…Usually, it’s cheaper just to sell your old stuff and buy new (or used) stuff when you get there…Put your most prized stuff in the Aveo and hit the road…Start life anew in Milwaukee…

Cant you put a mini hitch on the Aveo and like Barkydog said have an estate sale,you can hook one of those tiny trailers to the car and head out.I have said if I move again it would be" sans possesions" if you love books treat yourself to a" Kindle" Photons or Electrons weigh little and dont take up much space and sell aunt Erma’s glassware collection(just kidding- but lately have been embracing Thoreau’s wisdom)-Kevin

The Aveo can tow no more then 1000lbs. For towing your furniture and other valuable possessions you want a covered trailer. The lightest covered trailer you can get weighs about 900lbs. That leaves you with 100lbs of goods…which is NOTHING. Not worth it. And I sure wouldn’t drive an Aveo more then 100 miles with a trailer.

Well Mike you can go to tractor supply or northern hydraulics and get one of those little 4x8 stake side trailers for very little and with judicious tarping can probaly get the light bulky goods delivered,probaly more trouble then its worth-but you can get the job done.Resale the the trailer after the move(we are not talking moving pianos here,Never under estimate a 73 years young Lady.I know its not the same thing,one of brothers used to move his riding mower and about anything else he wanted with a Taurus and one of those heavy deck Leonard trailers(could always rent a Dodge Cummins or Chevy Duramax and pull a 20 some foot covered trailer and stow the Aveo inside along with the goods and probaly get fairly good highway MPG,not for the faint in spirit though)-Kevin

@kmccune…I own a small open utility trailer. It weighs about 400lbs. That would leave 600lbs for the cargo…That’s still not much cargo.

Aveo is NOT a vehicle to tow with. And you don’t need a big Diesel engine. My 4runner with a V6 can haul up to 5000lbs very safely.

Yes but she canna’ tow with the Duramax- you are right however,its an exercise in futility-Kevin

MikeinNH…I own a 200 lb aluminum utility trailer, rated for 2000 lb capacity. They are out there. But, they can’t be had for “very little” though Kevin makes the point…you can easily resell them at a reasonable loss. That then leaves you 800 lbs with the Aveo. My neighbor has towed that with his. Both of you make good points.
The car probably won’t last long after you ask it to tow that distance. I woukd sell the Aveo, rent a truck, hire some one to load then unload, and purchase another Aveo type car when you get there.