By on May 26, 2011

Should you be afraid of towing in a new Ford Explorer? Though the newly-unibody Explorer is rated for up to 5,000 pounds, Jack Baruth noted in his review that

My experience pulling my race car on an open trailer with my Flex indicates that the D4 chassis is more than up to the job, but that the transmission just feels delicate. Serious towing with a sideways gearbox frightens me, and it should frighten you, too.

And though you might well share Jack’s nervousness about towing in a new Explorer, the law of the land says it’s safe pulling up to 5,000 pounds. Even so, Consumer Reports found out the hard way that not everyone believes in the Explorer as a safe, effective towing machine. Namely the equipment rental company U-Haul appears to have some kind of problem with the Explorer, as  CR’s Eric Evarts explains

I called U-Haul to see about renting their largest, 6×12-foot open trailer to drag the mulch home. “Come on down! $29.95 for the day,” the friendly attendant said.

Eager to finish that day and save $18 by delivering the mulch myself, I trundled off to the local U-Haul lot. As the workers started to fill out the paperwork inside, their faces went ashen the second I said, “Explorer.”

“Sorry, we won’t let any equipment out behind an Explorer,” they said, and began putting away their pencils.

Huh?

Huh? is right. One might well worry about the long-term effects on ones “sideways transmission’s” health, but that should hardly concern U-Haul. Do they care if you need a rebuild at 50k miles? Not so much. Nor are they concerned that unibody construction makes for a less capable or safe hauler. In fact, U-Haul’s concern seems to date back to the previous body-on-frame Explorer, to which the new CUV is in no way related.

“Corporate policy, since the Firestone lawsuits,” they said. “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do for you.” (Ford was sued in a class-action lawsuit in 1998 over defective Firestone tires on early Ford Explorers, which led to several deadly rollover accidents. The lawsuit was eventually settled. But this new Explorer has zero in common with those early SUVs except the nameplate.)

When we called U-Haul corporate later to check on the policy, Joanne Fried, director of media and corporate relations confirmed the policy. “Every time we go to hire an attorney to defend a lawsuit, as soon as we say ‘Ford Explorer,’ they charge us more money.” She said the policy also applies to Jeep Wranglers, unless they have a hard-top installed.

As we waited on hold for a few minutes, the corporate recording recited: “If you need to tow, U-Haul is the only name you need to know, and the only place you need to go.” Apparently not if you drive a Ford Explorer. In that case, you need to go elsewhere.

Talk about a perfect illustration of the state of legal liability in this, our most litigious society. Because the new Explorer is called an Explorer, and because layers charge U-Haul more for doing business with any Ford Explorer owner, U-Haul and its obviously scrupulous and detail-oriented lawyers have completely failed to notice that the new Explorer has literally nothing to do with the old one. Which would be akin to arguing that the CR-Z shouldn’t be called a hybrid because it’s the “spiritual successor” to the CRX. Or buying a new Buick Regal or Scion xB because you liked the previous one. Earth to U-Haul: the new Explorer has no more to do with the Firestone recall than the Ford Edge or Flex. Time to tell those lawyers they have their heads up their… pocketbooks.

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80 Comments on “U-Haul Won’t Rent Trailers To Explorers, Idiot Lawyers (Not Unibody Construction) To Blame...”


  • avatar
    philadlj

    If Ford came up with new names for most of their models every new generation like GM (Cavalier/Cobalt/Cruze, Metro/Aveo/Sonic), this wouldn’t be a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      You mean like Taurus/Fusion and Five Hundred/Taurus?

      Or Fusion/MK?, Edge/MK?, Taurus/MK? and Flex/MK?

      • 0 avatar
        Acc azda atch

        philadlj

        Seriously,
        I think that’s the dumbest comment I think you’ve ever made.

        Their biggest problem is their consistency. They have a HISTORY of abandoning vehicles because they run into q.c issues.

        AND YOU THINK ITS A SOLUTION?!

  • avatar

    Back in 2006, the guys at U-Haul were gonna let me rent a trailer for our Lincoln Aviator, but not if it was an Explorer. It was the funniest thing I heard in a long time.

    Lawyers are pretty awesome.

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      Its not the lawyers, it is about management or the death of common sense or of anyone having some authority to exercise it. Back in the day, Explorers were flipping all over the place. So mangagement confers with legal, and a new policy is born: No rentals to Explorers.

      If you could get to the lawyer involved in the original policy, he would almost surely say “oh, we only meant the Explorer involved in the rollovers.” But nobody gone back to address it. The policy has ossified and nobody has the authority to make an exception.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Yeah, I agree, it’s not the lawyers. Some time ago our daughter and her husband owned a nineties-something Explorer and it was pretty fishtail-happy with just a 4X6 U-Haul behind it when they towed her belongings to their new residence a couple of states over. The old Explorer always felt unstable, at any speed, over any terrain, even with brand-new shocks. I don’t blame U-Haul for this policy. For them it is better to be safe than sorry. I haven’t tried renting any size U-Haul for my wife’s 2008 Highlander AWD, but we have safely towed an 8X12 Haul-Mark enclosed trailer I bought from Home Depot years ago full of office furniture up and down US82 into the mountains without any problems. No white knuckle moments. Just let the transmission manual gear-select do all the work, up and down the mountain. I don’t know what the total GVW was but we could feel the trailer was back there going up the mountain. Talk about pedal to the metal.

      • 0 avatar
        aspade

        It’s exactly the lawyers.

        If you could pay the lawyer involved in the original policy another $300 an hour of course he would say that. That wouldn’t solve anything. Refusing to rent to 2011 Explorer drivers doesn’t make a lick less sense than refusing to rent to 1991 Explorer drivers.

        The real problem is that the deep pockets principle has eviscerated personal responsibility. If the courts are going to unilaterally declare a customer’s incompetent driving as U-Haul’s liability then U-Haul is going to unilaterally crap all over their customers to protect themself.

        Which is exactly what they do. Know what a trailer rental would cost if it didn’t come standard with jackpot insurance?

      • 0 avatar
        ciddyguy

        highdesertcat,

        Was this Explorer your daughter and BIL had a 2 door explorer or the 4 door version? And was it from the first Gen versions?

        I ask as the original explorer was based on the Ranger pickup in chassis and drivetrain, the Explorer Sport (2 door) was a bit larger than the older Bronco II which was based on the truck, but with a much shorter wheelbase.

        I’ve not heard of this squirly ride in the 4 door versions but have heard of the squirly handling in the Bronco II and perhaps the somewhat larger Explorer Sport 2 door versions.

        I have 1992 version with the extra cab version of the truck in 2 wheel drive, 5spd manual and never have found it squirly in its ride, though it’s about as refined as I don’t know what as it crashes through potholes and such but handles better than one would think for a truck none the less.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        ciddyguy, it was a 2-door V6 4X4 with a manual transmission, and I believe it was a mid-nineties model. (She is no longer married to this dude after she found him canoodling another dude, so I’m not going to ask her). But the story is that after she got married they used HIS Explorer to tow a U-Haul 4X6 to get to his new duty station in California. On the way back from their honeymoon in Las Vegas, both got nearly seasick from the six-degrees of freedom and motion the body of the Explorer moved in relation to the chassis while on the open road (I-10). Once back at my house to pick up her belongings I installed 4 brand new Monroe gas-matic shocks on the Explorer. If you’ve ever experienced gas-matics, they’re pretty sturdy. It helped a little, but once the loaded little 4X6 trailer was behind it the Explorer still had more side-sway than should be expected, especially in high-wind conditions as those experienced in New Mexico and Arizona. They got there alright but within the year he had traded the Explorer for a new luxo Kia Sorento 4X4 with leather and everything. As far as I know he still drives that Kia as he comes to pick up his son on visitation days at my daughter’s place so she and her new husband can have some kid-free time. My point was that U-Haul may have done the right thing in denying Explorer owners the use of their trailers based on the older Explorers. And rather than splitting hairs over the model year and unibody vs BOF, the lawyers may have advised them to draw the line at “Explorer”. Which leaves me to question why they allow the Lincoln-Mercury versions to tow one of their trailers when they are nothing but rebadged overweight Explorers.

      • 0 avatar
        ciddyguy

        highdesertcat,

        That explains it, I know the older Bronco II’s had a very short wheelbase and they tended to be very “interesting” as they say in the handling department due to the ultra short wheelbase and the higher center of gravity in the 4×4 versions, my best friend had, for a time an Eddie Bauer variant of it from 1985 with manual transmission that he had for a time in the mid to late 90′s and although he didn’t have issues it it, I’ve heard stories of it being pretty high strung, tippy and generally wild in the handling, the newer Explorer sport 2 doors? Don’t know for sure as I’ve only ridden in one for a brief time years ago when my best friend’s old 62 GM truck broke down and we needed a ride to the nearest town, it was OK then, don’t know if 2WD or 4 but it was OK from that limited time so can’t say if the Explorer sports were a huge improvement older Bronco II, and as I said, it was based on a shortened chassis of the Ranger trucks.

        Never heard of handling issues with the Explorer 4 door variants as they were about the same length as the trucks so had the benefit of the longer wheelbase and outside of the Firestone tire recall, I’ve not heard other major issues that I recall on the older explorers but could be mistaken but would not put it past Ford to try to sell a car that WAS unsafe at that time as this WAS the 1990′s before some additional safety features came on board.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        ciddyguy, I’m sure the short wheelbase only aggravated the handling issues, especially with a loaded trailer behind it, or a blown tire. At one time we considered buying an Explorer for my wife’s work – this was at a time when her Towncar was especially balky and needed a lot of my attention (and that of Autozone). We even looked at one in 2008, and the Acadia and Enclave, before she chose the 2008 Highlander AWD. And like I said, that Highlander had no trouble pulling an 8X12 Haul-Mark, loaded with office furniture, up the mountain. Lots of factors here, but maybe being extra careful during such an adventure also helped to make it a safe trip. The point I wanted to make is that U-Haul should also prohibit rentals to the rebadged version of the Explorers.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      You want fun? Work for a big four accounting firm and be responsible for eDiscovery, Litigation/Compliance and such.

      It’s just so awesome when a lawyer asks you to go back seven years and find all emails with the word “Royal” in them, and then complains when you give it to them (despite warning them) because it contains messages that have nothing to do with the case (eg, because they say things like “Legal is a royal pain in the _ss”).

      Better yet is when they ask for absolute assurance that you found all documents related to a case. Because, you know, we can keep track of handwritten notes, memos sent from home, and so forth. Absolute assurance. Yeah. Sure. Right, I’ll get right on that, after I finish world peace.

      I’ve never seen a profession so totally divorced from how the real world works. F&A seem normal by comparison.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, maybe . . .

    OTOH, the Arizona Republic (IIRC) some time ago ran a big “expose” on U-Haul. The catalyst, apparently was a rollover accident involving a car towing a U-Haul trailer, that caused some injury (or a fatality, I don’t remember), and the paper looked into some other accidents involving U-Haul equipment (both trailers and trucks). The paper’s side of the story was that there were many instances where either the trucks or the trailers were not properly maintained with respect to vital safety features like . . . um . . . brakes. U-Haul’s side of the story (with respect to the trailer incident) was either (1) that the trailer was too heavy in relation to the weight of the towing vehicle (i.e. don’t tow a big U-Haul trailer behind a Honda Fit) and/or the driver was using excessive speed, which, as you may have noticed from the big sign on the rear of all of the trailers, is defined as over 45 mph.

    Unfortunately, pulling a trailer at even 45 mph is not something for beginners. And, unfortunately, the kind of folks who would rent a trailer from U-Haul are likely to be just that and are very unlikely to drive 45 mph on a 70 mph speed limit freeway. I’ve never seen one, for example.

    So, you have fertile ground for accidents. Throw in a little indifferent maintenance here and there (recognizing that most U-Haul locations are franchisees) and you’ve got a plaintiff lawyer’s dream.

    My one experience with U-Haul was more than 35 years ago, when I tried to tow my Mazda RX-2 behind the biggest truck that U-Haul rents. The truck had a 50 mph governor, so speed was not an issue, and, following the Mazda instruction manual, I had disconnected the propellor shaft from the drive shaft (apparently the manual transmission doesn’t self-lubricate when coasting in neutral). However, the towing hitch ripped the bumper off while I was going on an exit ramp. That all happened when I was on my way to law in Virginia from Texas, so I didn’t know enough to sue at the time. ;-)

    I’ve rented U-Haul trucks of various sizes for hauling household goods various distances up to several 100s of miles with no bad experiences since then.

    But I would think twice about hooking up a trailer to my Honda Pilot, even with a correctly installed towing hitch.

    • 0 avatar
      Roundel

      The idea of towing anything just doesn’t sit right with me at all. Everytime I have had to move something I just up and rented the cargo van or the box trucks. Its just not worth the hassle.
      Oh.. and I rent Penske everytime.
      The condition of Uhaul trucks can be scary sometimes, not to mention the fact they can be more expensive overall.

      • 0 avatar
        zerofoo

        Towing is great for one-way trips. I helped a friend move a bunch of stuff from my house to his with a U-Haul tow-behind and my 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I also helped another friend move his project car with a tow-behind vehicle dolly.

        In both cases I dropped off the U-Haul at the nearest dealer, and drove my Jeep home. Much easier than having to drive back with the U-Haul and switch cars.

        In both of the above cases, my unibody Jeep was never a concern, although my transmission sits longitudinally in the vehicle (as the vehicle gods intended).

        -ted

      • 0 avatar
        cfclark

        Agree on Penske–my first thought was, “well, your first problem is that you went with U-Haul”. Some of Murilee’s junkyard finds are in better shape than some of the U-Haul local trucks I’ve seen. I will occasionally rent a local cargo van from them, if everything on the lot appears to be the latest-generation Econoline, but this always entails an terminable wait at the counter, indifferent customer service at best, and having the U-Haul rep try to upsell me on every product in the store. Then running the gauntlet of, er, “undocumented day laborers” at the exit who want me to hire them, but that’s not U-Haul’s fault.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        I’m fixing to move shortly, and I was considering towing my motorcycle behind my car, but I figure the gas for the bike one-way would be cheaper than paying for a hitch + installation and renting the trailer one-way…

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      I’ve rented their trailers as well, and they are a good value. Their trailer rental rates are $15 daily for a 4′x8′ open or enclosed to $30 for a tandem axle 6′x12′, and at that price it does not pay to own my own. Plus, when you own your own trailer it is used mostly by friends, neighbors, & family, and they tend to return it in worse shape than it was when they borrowed it.

      On the other hand, I wouldn’t think about renting one of their trucks. A Penske truck with a lift gate is a much better and more reliable proposition.

    • 0 avatar
      Pinzgauer

      Honda Pilot is rated for 3500 lbs and there is no reason why it cant tow this amount. Just make sure you have a trans cooler.

  • avatar
    Birddog

    Back in 1999 I went to U-Haul trying to rent a trailer for my “race” car(an 86 Omni GLH). They said my 97 Ram 1500 with factory tow package wasn’t enough and “corporate policy” wouldn’t allow it.
    Then they said I’d have to rent a box van in order to rent a trailer. As I was walking out they said “nobody is going to let you rent a trailer”.

    Haven’t even tried price shopping a U-Haul since.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Heh, I wonder if the wannabe Taco & Ridge have the same problem at U-haul.

      Probably not, as nobody who actually tows buys a Taco or Ridge…

      • 0 avatar
        ubugray

        Wannabe what?

        I’m guessing your comments are tongue in cheek, as anyone who knew anything about Tacos would know they tow just fine. Yes, I own one and tow with it as needed – even a u-haul trailer once.

        In case you’re not really familiar with them, here’s a couple of good write-ups:

        http://www.trailerboats.com/output.cfm?id=944533
        http://www.trailerboats.com/output.cfm?id=2415691&sectionid=318

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      When I was in college I used to rent U-haul trailers to move between living at campus and when I spent semesters working a co-op job. It was quicker and easier (and cheaper, since my co-op reimbursed the expense) than having my parents “help” with their minivan. The trailers were universally in poor condition, often with dangerously low tire pressure. I never towed with load without first airing up the tires. I will say the surge brakes usually felt like they were working though, although one trailer did leak rain into a piece of semi-antique furniture I moved for my family while I happened to have the trailer and it cost 2-3 times the trailer rental to have it refinished properly.

      When I moved from GA to VA I needed to tow a Legacy. Uhaul said my 2002 Ram 1500 wasn’t up to the task (technically they were right, the car weight + trailer weight was pushing my rated tow limit). None of the other rental places will rent you a trailer unless you also rent a truck and use it to pull the trailer. I borrowed a home-made flatbed trailer from my brother-in-law’s father that easily weighed 2x what a Uhaul car trailer will weigh to tow that Subaru (plus as much household detritus as could be crammed in/on/around it) that just barely fit on the deck and made it in one piece.

    • 0 avatar

      Funny. A few years back, I called about renting a tow dolly to drag a car back to Arizona from Mexico. They told me they wouldn’t let me tow a 91 Galant VR4 behind a 99 Isuzu Amigo V6 (and not because they suspected damage to the AWD system).

      So I showed up to the local U-Haul with the Amigo and rented a tow dolly for the weekend, as I was “taking an 85 Toyota Starlet project back and forth to the paint booth.”

      The Amigo got about 6mpg on the return trip, with over 4000lbs hanging off the back (it’s rated to 3500lbs), and there were times I could only do about 20mph uphill with the hazards flashing, but I kinda fell in love with the Isuzu that weekend.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        I never had problems getting a trailer to tow our Cobra replica or our old 911 to tow behind our 2000 Durango. It is the 318 (5.2l) with the factory tow package and towed both just fine. When I towed the replica from CA to WI I averaged 13.5mpg and I had the truck full of work clothes, computers, guitars and anything else I didn’t trust the movers with. The only small issue was they don’t have the Cobra replica in their computers which caused some confusion on how to write it up.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Stupid lawyers, sure. But don’t forget stupid customers and stupid U-Haul clerks. Simply put, it’s easier to say “No Explorers” than get into an argument over model years with customers on an individual basis. Sure, even the early Explorers should be “safe” now (certainly no less safe than, say, a Bronco II anyway) provided it’s not riding on Firestone Wilderness ATs, but it’s not something I’d have any desire to fight the lawyers over.

    Besides, the Explorer was a substandard vehicle at best, and the new one offers no real advantage over its competitors, so there’s a simple answer here: Just don’t buy an Explorer.

    As for U-Haul, I’ve had good experience with them. YMMV, of course, especially if you’re renting older equipment relegated to the “In Town” fleets. But they beat the heck out of the crap I’ve rented from Budget.

    • 0 avatar
      jericho brown

      My reply is based on my curiosity about trailer towing capacity ratings by US manufacturers. FYI, I have an 03 Explorer Sport 2WD 4 litre V6, 5spd manual. I bought this truck for its light weight, fuel efficiency (22mpg hwy), and the manual trans. made in America. This SUV package that was capable of carrying 4-5 passengers, gear, and pulling a trailer. I have used the truck to tow a 4x8ft. trailer with various weight loads over a period of 10 years. Lets talk about Alaska to Winnipeg Manitoba twice- mountain passes on the alaska Highway, blizzard conditions. I’ve done six trips from S. Wisconsin to Winnipeg MB. in the past 3 years(720 mi. each way). The last trip was to move office furniture and tools in 100d temps. The load was 5ft. in height, and weighed less than the max. towing capacity rating for the vehicle of 5140lb. In the summer I tow an 18ft. boat with a 90hp outboard a single axle trailer, up and down steep grades, with passengers and gear. I have also towed an 18ft. inboard-outboard boat weighing 5000lb. on a 300 mile weekend trip to Lake of the Woods from Winnipeg which included 40 miles of steep grades and hairpin turns. the rig has never had a mechanical failure in 114,000 mi. and handles flawlessly, in windy conditions, and on snow or ice. I always run 4 snow and ice tires on steel rims during winter of standard size. This truck has a 102″ wheelbase and is rather light for a truck, at 3,770lb. It burns no oil, and the transmission and clutch have never been replaced. This year, at 110,000 mi. I replaced the dampers, and upper and lower control arms, and brakes. Soon I plan to buy a 16ft. aluminium auto haul trailer to move my 3,650 lb. Thunderbird down to WI. from Winnipeg- 725 mi. The total load will be 5,200lb. plus driver and a passenger and luggage. I will have no problems, because it is all about how you maintain the vehicle, and how you drive it! And, as an aside, I would never rent anything again from U-Haul, because of the Explorer policy. I learned of it when I tried to rent an auto transport trailer to haul my Thunderbird to Wisconsin from Winnipeg last summer.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It’s pretty rich to hear U-Haul being persnickety about this kind of thing, considering they’re famous for stuff like this.

    My BIL was stranded by a U-Haul truck that spat it’s rear diff on the 401. I personally moved some friends in a rented (stick shift, FTW) U-Haul International that couldn’t stay in second gear to save it’s life.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Oh, it’s widely-known that U-Haul defers maintenance on their trucks.

      My cousin got stranded when her U-Haul puked it’s guts out on their coast-coast move. U-Haul eventually got a second truck out there, moved the stuff to the second truck, and was even nice enough not to penalize them for going over the original return date.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Yep – more like Explorer owners (or any other) shouldn’t be going to U-Haul for a trailer.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    So, would debadging your Explorer and telling U-Haul it’s a Taurus Wagon work, or would their lawyers tear you a new one if anything went wrong?

  • avatar

    USA is strange. Thirty years ago you could see normal cars towing the beutiful Air Stream caravans a small boat or a horse. Now you can hardly tow anything no more!
    My Cadillac STS -05 can tow 1000 lbs in USA. Here in Europe GM has approved it for 4000 pounds. Most cars like VW Passat, Volvos etcetera are towing 3000lbs here in Europe and no, we are not dying like flies on the highways. Ok we are only allowed to drive 50 Mph.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      30 years ago (1981), those cars had 400 cid V-8 engines with a full ladder frame under the body. No kidding they could tow things.

      Now, people are driving gutless wonders from Japan, and wondering why they can’t tow.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, the thing is that we are towing 300lbs with normal large and medium cars. No V8, no BOF. Just normal cars with 2.0l four bangers. Almost anything in Europe will tow 2000lbs.
        Lets talk about rails and V8, how much are you allowed to tow with a Panther today?

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Wasn’t every car from 1981 gutless? You might have had a point if you said 1971…

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        The idea that a massive, full frame V8 is necessary for towing is a very silly and very American concept. A couple of years ago on Top Gear, the guys towed a reasonably sized camper with what essentially a Kia Spectra. It was slow and they hated it, but the point still stands.

        Most small cars in the U.S. are conservatively rated for 1000-1500 pounds, enough for a small camper or U-Haul trailer. Incidentally, 1500 lbs is all the BOF, V8 Crown Vic is capable of towing anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Today? 500 pounds, because Ford wants to sell you a F-150.

        Back when the Crown Vic first came out and was used as a tow vehicle? 5000 pounds.

      • 0 avatar
        aspade

        The biggest difference between a tow vehicle and a non tow vehicle is the ducts and cooling. Almost any passenger car has plenty of motor and frame for a small trailer.

        What they don’t have is the cooling capacity to keep the brakes firm in the hills or the transmission from cooking its fluid in an afternoon.

        The CAFE obsession is making this worse. Airflow over the brakes has no benefit on the treadmill or the sales brochure.

      • 0 avatar
        Z71_Silvy

        “Back when the Crown Vic first came out and was used as a tow vehicle? 5000 pounds.”

        Yep0…it’s all marketing. The 1997 Crown Vic could pull 5000 pounds…then in 1998, when it got more power, better brakes, etc, it dropped to 1500…despite having the same engine, trans, and rear end from an F-150.

        Ford is shady like that.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I believe many US car tow ratings are complete bullcrap. I wish their was some type of universal tow capacity system.

      The Swedish car makers seem to be the only ones that don’t water down their tow ratings for the US. The new Saab 9-5 Aero has a max tow rating of 4409lbs. Even the base 9-5 gets a rating of 3968lbs. The 9-3 gets rated at 3500lbs. The S80 and S60 both get a little over 3300lbs.

      OTOH, the Taurus and Lacrosse get rated at 1000lbs. The Town Car (BOF, RWD, V8) gets 2000lbs. A lot of cars get “not recommended for towing” printed in the owner’s manual.

      People bring up that in Europe, people tow slower, or for less distance. But that still doesn’t explain why some vehicles are rated higher in Canada. Why can a Yaris in Calgary tow 700lbs, but a Yaris in Seattle can tow nothing?

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        “Why can a Yaris in Calgary tow 700lbs, but a Yaris in Seattle can tow nothing?”

        There are a *lot* more lawyers in Seattle than Vancouver, to say nothing of Calgary.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        You want bullcrap? Try BMW. Years ago, I tried to get a hitch kit for my E30 325is. Later, tried the same for my E36 M3. Both times, the highly indignant parts gentleman told me that BMW sedans do not tow. Period.

        Never mind that I had the (German) BMW part number for the hitch, both times. I guess it’s all image: Only poor people tow.

    • 0 avatar
      Adub

      I am amazed at the tiny vehicles I see in Europe towing giant trailers. There is no mechanical difference, just the lawyers.

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      TTAC had an article on exactly that a few years ago. Identical vehicles were rated for more towing in other countries. I suspect litigation fears.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        While I think the “too many lawyers” explanation may be part of it, I don’t think it explains everything.

        If Toyota raised the rating, and I’m towing 2500 pounds with my Corolla (1000 over the present rating) like a jackass and maim a bunch of people am I really that much larger of a lawsuit fear than if I am towing 11300 pounds (equal to the max tow rating) with my Ecoboost F150 like a jackass and maim a bunch of people?

        Why are certain SUVs like the Land Cruiser, X5, and GL-class given the same tow ratings in the UK as in the US? Are these rigs just so awesomely capable that Americans won’t crash them? Are SUV/truck buyers just given the assumption that they know what they’re doing? Are the fat profits from SUV sales worth a possible lawsuit?

        Are the Swedes just not afraid of lawyers?

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        More like – if I tow 4500 lbs in a Panther, and something goes wrong, don’t I get to sue Ford for saying I can safely tow 5000 lbs?

  • avatar
    RayH

    I remember years ago helping move many people with manual tranny Ford F350 moving trucks. I was the only one who could drive the last few because they would only shift into second and fourth. Another time the front end was so loose it felt like the tie rod ends were repairs with baling wire. Their saving grace was the brakes always seems excellent.

  • avatar
    brettc

    There’s the difference. Americans typically like to go fast (65 mph or higher) with trailers. Years ago, VW said that the Jetta wasn’t rated to tow for “technical reasons” in the U.S. owner’s manual. I think they now allow about 1000 pounds, but that’s still pretty low.

    As for U-Haul, I rented a diesel Ford cube van from them in 2001 when my wife and I moved into a new apartment. The rental experience wasn’t bad, but the truck was fairly old and it was governed to 55 Mph and we had to drive on a 65 Mph highway. When I went to start it the next morning to take it back to the rental place, it did not want to start. After lots of cranking it finally fired up with lots of smoke. This was in February in Maine, so it was extra cold. I bet the new neighbours loved us that day.

    In 2003 when we moved again, I rented a nice DT466 truck from Budget. Nice brand new truck and it could handle highway speeds. Budget did double charge my credit card, but they fixed it.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    The 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe V6 was rated at 3500 # for towing in the USA while the 2011 Santa Fe V6 “crossover” which is for all intents and purposes identical (except I think it has one more cog in the automatic transmission) is rated for about 1650 #!!!

    As for your comment, SVX pearlie, in most every other country in the world, people have been pulling trailers with what would be deemed “econoboxes” in the states for literally decades.

    When I lived in the UK, you’d see 1500# to 2000# trailers behind Ford Escorts all the time.

    In fact, the new Toyota Corolla is rated at 1500# towing while the new Camry is rated at 1000#! Go figure….

    I think the litagous society in the USA is partly to blame, but also the general incompetence of driving standards has a lot to do with it, in reality.

    If Britons and Europeans drove with as little care and attention as virtually all Americans, most of their civilization would be dead. Either you pay attention or you have a smash-up “over there”.

    • 0 avatar

      Mr Carpenter, I agree to all what you claim but one thing. I think Americans are great and careful drivers most of the time, at least when sober. This is remarkable as the driving education in the US is nothing compared with the one over here in Europe.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    Years ago driving all over NA as a climbing bum, the biggest yard sales I encountered on the highways of America involved towing. There is so much more to it than just trailer weight. In Alaska I witnessed a fishing boat whip a Suburban off the highway backwards and stuff it 100′ into the woods, all because the weight distribution/tongue weight was wrong, and lack of or improperly adjusted trailer brakes. If you think hooking up 5000 lbs is cool because the owners manual says so your taking a very big risk. As for towing in Europe, I think this video says it all.

  • avatar

    Why does Ford bother making these the Territory is a much better SUV it hads allways been unitary and able to tow.I just saw an old exploder wallowing along on half flat tyres OMG what an awful car it was the terrible suspension that gave you no control should a tyre blowout that is the problem. Once the Territory was released here nobody wanted explorers with good reason. Ford do make good cars its just they arent available in the US

  • avatar
    bloodhound71

    They won’t let an Explorer tow one of their trailers, yet I have seen an early 2000′s Honda Civic sedan towing an enclosed 6′x 12′ trailer. Who was the genius who rented that trailer?

  • avatar
    obbop

    U-Maul

  • avatar
    manu06

    I tried to rent a car dolly to tow a 67 Nissan Patrol. No dice since the vehicle wasn’t in their
    Data base. They could see it through the window but it didn’t exist in their red tape.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Solve the lawyer problem, make it open season on them and remove the bag limits.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    How much can a Fiesta or Focus pull? Would U-Haul have a problem with that?

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Since the Explorer is just a rebadged Flex…just peel off the Explorer letters and stick on Flex.

    I do find it hysterical, however, that the new mediocre Explorer cannot get a break. From bad reviews, to lackluster sales, to the fact that the Durango is a FAR better machine…this Explorer…the one that Ford said would change everything (because the 2011 Explorer was the first unibody , 7-seat crossover on the market or something) and in reality, it’s just another mediocre vehicle from Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Hey, the Explorer has a long and illustrious brand history.

      Which is why the Pinto will be coming out next year…

      • 0 avatar
        Z71_Silvy

        Yeah…I think it’s funny that the ONLY reason the pathetic Explorer still exists is because Big Al was so short sighted and insisted on having something to put the name onto. There is no need for the Explorer…which is why the reviews have been not very positive. Ford designed and built the Explorer on the cheap knowing that it wouldn’t sell well (Just like all of the D3 appliances).

        It’s odd that Big Al didn’t learn his lesson when he foolishly brought back the Taurus name.

        Oh well…the Explorer will be heavily discounted in a few months and fleets will eat them up. It’s the perfect fleet vehicle…not very attractive, as bland as beige, etc.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I remember being 24 years old and being unable to rent ANY cars just because everyone had a minimum age rule of 25 years. Never-mind I had (and still have 15 years later) a perfect driving record with zero accidents.

    I also resented having to wait until 16 to get my drivers license. That’s probably why I became an ardent believer of meritocracy.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Even with virtually no incentives and pretty tight inventory the Explorer was the best selling large crossover on the market last month. While there were a couple off reviews, the majority of reviews have been very positive, as has the customer reception.

    What it means is that the Explorer is relevant again, and U-Haul might want to start rethinking their policy when they see the amount of business they lose out on.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      You’d think that, but U-Haul looks at it like this:

      #Explorer rentals x $20

      versus

      cost & damages from lawsuit.

      The lawyers have already won.

  • avatar
    AJ

    That is as dumb as Wranglers having to have hardtops. When a Wrangler rolls on paved road, the hardtop shatters and offers no protection.

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    My family operates a Budget rental franchise with multiple locations. We also rent Budget’s trucks, in which case they only allow their trailers to be used in conjunction with their trucks. I probably talk to a person everyday on the phone asking why, it makes sense from a safety standpoint.

    On this note, Budget trucks have corporate locations, franchises and dealers. It’s too bad because pretty much anyone can operate a dealer, you supply the place and Budget supplies the trucks…as you can imagine many people could care less about the condition and cleanliness of the truck they are renting.

    We inspect our trucks and actually clean them! If you have any questions regarding the system or the fleet, I would be happy to answer them.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Here’s a video from uhaul that features a Flex from 2:00 to 4:00: http://www.uhaul.com/Articles/Tips/80/Learn-how-to-load-and-haul-a-trailer-safely

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The fact that U-Haul is perfectly happy to rent to Aviator and Mountaineer owners, which are pretty much Explorers with a different badge, makes it even more ridiculous. The Explorer with the Firestone tire issue wasn’t even the previous gen, it was the one before that. The last gen Explorer was no more roll-happy than any other similar midsize BOF SUV (and even the one with the Firestone tire rollover issue wasn’t any worse than the similarly tippy-prone SUVs of the day, you just needed the right tires inflated to the right pressure).

      To top it all off, the current brand new Explorer is probably one of the safest potential tow vehicles around. Trailer Sway Control (something that was added for the last couple model years of the previous Explorer as well) is something notably absent in most of the competing vehicles in this class, and can considerably aid in safe trailering.

  • avatar

    When I rented a U-Haul GM Topkick it only had 30000 km and felt fine, but the waiting around and extra charges insured I’ll never go there again.
    U-Haul has never been known for having the best vehicles for rent, get into one and the gearshift kinda falls into place, the seat sags and a feeling the truck has done a lot of very hard miles.
    I rememeber they had a vast fleet of 1978-79 Ford F-300 series cube vans, and it seemed they were around…well forever.
    I swear they were only replaced in the late 90′s.
    And there is definatly a double standard over towing in Europe and NA. In Europe I saw plenty of small cars towing caravans and utility trailers with no difficulty, and yes they’re restricted to 90 kmh as indicated by the stickers on the trailer.

  • avatar

    I advise friends & family to avoid U-haul like the plague. Most of their franchise agents do nothing to maintain equipment.

    Penske and Ryder are both cheaper and have much nicer equipment. U-Haul sucks you in with a low daily rate and then hammers you on the mileage rate. You can also get a truck with a lift gate for no extra charge at most locations. Once you have used a lift gate you’ll never want to hump another appliance up a ramp.

    ABFs U-Pak service is also a good choice if you are moving longer distances.

  • avatar
    drifter

    Blame Ford not UHaul for retaining the name plate. Exploder has as much residual brand equity as Hyundai Excel.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I would put as much blame on U-Haul for being foolish and pig headed as I would on the Trial Lawyers Boogie Man.

  • avatar
    musiccitymafia

    It boils down to corporate U-Haul still being on the legal liability hook for customers who are “mistaken” about the year of their vehicle. Simple.

  • avatar
    jem287

    I had a 95 Explorer 4 door 4×4, my grandfather bought brand new in 95 and I just traded it in last year with 155,000 miles and we towed a good bit with it for the last 11 years and it did feel top heavy but I was never really worried and we pulled a 17′ Lund boat with it for years, but after I bought my Dodge Dakota crew cab it felt like I went from a truck to a sports car handeling wise I never really knew what I was missing though I cant complain besides for reg. maint. for a 100,000+ mile vehicle it only needed two trannies, and got 5,000 on trade in.


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