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Important Questions to Ask Before Renting a Truck

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Whether getting a truck rental for a move or to haul items out of your house and to a nearby scrap yard or landfill, you want to ensure you get the right truck for the job and know everything involved in the rental. As with renting a car, there can be surprises about your rental you weren't expecting, but with a truck, you may need to consider a few additional details.

1. What is the tow load capacity or payload capacity?

The tow load capacity refers to how much weight the vehicle can tow safely. The payload capacity means how much weight it can hold in the back of the truck. If you're renting a truck to haul a trailer or to carry items in the back, you need to know its capacity and ensure you don't go over the limit. For a moving truck, be sure you don't try to overfill the back as this can cause the cargo area to drag. Always get a larger, stronger truck for very heavy loads or if you're not sure of the weight of what you will be towing or hauling.

2. Can the truck tow a personal trailer or vehicle?

In some cases you can attach your own personal trailer to the back of a rental truck, but some agencies may have restrictions about this and may only allow their own trailers to be used. If you need to tow a vehicle during a move, you need to ask if your make and model can be towed. Larger, heavier vehicles and those that sit very low to the ground may not fit the truck's trailer or may get damaged when lifted and towed, so be sure you ask about your car or trailer in particular if that's how you plan to use the rented truck.

3. Is there an environmental charge?

While you always want to ask about any hidden or extra charges, when renting a truck it's good to ask about environmental charges. This is often charged by a truck rental company to recoup the cost of recycling or disposing of fluids in an environmentally-safe way. While you may not like the idea of an extra charge for this, if the company does tack this onto your bill, note that it means they are disposing of fluids and replaced parts in an eco-friendly way. If you're environmentally conscious at all, you may prefer to rent from a company that does this.