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Moving Trucks - Frequently Asked Questions

June 11th, 2018 - 8:01 AM

Learn about moving trucks — sizes, fuel, driving and more

Planning a move comes with a lot of questions, and some of the most common ones concern the moving option you choose. If you’re considering a full-service move, you might wonder when to book them or how much it’s going to cost, but if you’re planning to rent a moving truck, you might have a few more questions about the process. Get answers to moving truck FAQs below, and then learn how U-Pack® compares.

moving trucks

Moving truck questions and answers

To help you find the answers you’re looking for, we’ve divided these FAQs into four categories: equipment sizes, fuel, passengers and driving.

Questions about moving truck sizes

What size trucks are there?

Each company offers different sized equipment. For the purposes of this post, we’ve included the three most popular: U-Haul®, Budget® and Penske®.

  • U-Haul offers: 10’, 15’, 17’, 20’, 22’, 26’.  The 22’ is for local moves only.
  • Budget offers: 12’, 16’, 26’
  • Penske offers: 12’, 16’, 22’, 26’

Note: The following information is broken down by equipment size, when applicable. When multiple companies offer the same size a range is given to show the options.

How much can they hold?

Each company offers different measurements: either the gross vehicle weight (GVW) or the max load weight. The GVW is the total maximum operating weight including the truck, passengers, cargo, fluids and accessories. The load capacity is the maximum weight of the load.

U-Haul truck weights:

  • 10-foot truck: 8,600 lbs. (GVW), 2,810 lbs. (max load)
  • 15-foot truck: 14,500 lbs. (GVW), 6,385 lbs. (max load)
  • 17-foot truck: 14,050 lbs. (GVW), 5,930 lbs. (max load)
  • 20-foot truck: 14,500 lbs. (GVW), 5,605 lbs. (max load)
  • 24-foot truck: 18,000 lbs. (GVW), 6,500 lbs. (max load)
  • 26-foot truck: 20,000 lbs. (GVW), 7,400 lbs. (max load)

Budget truck weights:

  • 12-foot truck: 10,050 lbs. (GVW), 3,610 lbs. (max load)
  • 16-foot truck: 12,000-12,500 lbs. (GVW), 5,524 lbs. (max load)
  • 26-foot truck: 26,000 lbs. (GVW), 9,180 lbs. (max load)

Penske truck weights (they provide only the max load capacity):

  • 12-foot truck: 3,100 lbs.
  • 16-foot truck: 4,300 lbs.
  • 22-foot truck: 10,000 lbs.
  • 26-foot truck: 10,000 lbs.

How much room is needed for parking?

Most trucks are designed to fit in the width of a standard parking space, but they may need extra room for the length. A typical parking space could be anywhere from 18-22 feet long, and a 26-foot truck is over 32 feet total (including the cab and cargo area). Don’t forget to add the ramp length for loading and unloading.

What’s the biggest moving truck?

The biggest moving truck available is the 26-foot truck, which is offered by U-Haul, Budget and Penske. They are very similar in loading space, but the largest load capacity by cubic footage is Penske.

If you think you might need more room, take a look at the U-Pack trailer — it holds more than the biggest rental truck. For comparison, the 28-foot U-Pack trailer is similar in size to a 26-foot rental truck plus a 10-foot truck. But don’t let the size scare you. If you don't need it all, you don't pay for it all! So, whether you're moving a large home or a small home, U-Pack is a convenient way to move.

Which size truck is best?

Each company gives a recommendation on the best truck size for differed sized homes. But because those are based on averages and don’t account for the amount of belongings you have, they may not always work. To get a better idea, use the moving space estimators to calculate what size you'll need. Start with the Room-by-Room Space Estimator. Then, after estimating the linear footage you need, use the Truck Rental Conversion chart to find the right size.

If you’re worried about running out of room when loading, U-Pack gives flexibility. You either use the space you need in a moving trailer or use multiple ReloCube containers — and you only pay for the space you use.

Questions about fuel

How many miles per gallon do most trucks get?

It depends on the size of the truck and the company. Here’s the average fuel mileage and tank size:

  • 10-foot truck: up to 12 mpg, 31 gallon tank
  • 12-foot truck: 8-14 mpg, 33-35 gallon tank
  • 15-foot truck: up to 10 mpg, 40 gallon tank
  • 16-foot truck:  6-12 mpg, 33 gallon tank
  • 17-foot truck: up to 10 mpg, 40 gallon tank
  • 20-foot truck: up to 10 mpg, 40 gallon tank
  • 22-foot truck: up to 10 mpg, 50 gallon tank
  • 24-foot truck: up to 8 mpg, 60 gallon tank
  • 26-foot truck: 8-10 mpg, 50-57 gallon

Read more about the gas mileage of U-Haul trucks and Budget truck gas mileage.

How much will it cost to fuel a moving truck?

Fuel costs depend on the average miles per gallon, the distance of the trip and current fuel prices. Our rental truck fuel calculator helps you estimate fuel costs for the move.

Questions about passengers

Can you travel with a baby or child in a car seat?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the safest place for children under 13 is in the back seat. Moving trucks don’t have back seats, so it’s best to avoid traveling in them with infants and children inside. Learn more about car seats and moving trucks.

How many passengers can fit in a moving truck?

The number of seats and safety restraints depends on the truck size. The 10-foot U-Haul and the 12- and 16-foot Budget and Penske trucks have bucket seats for two people. The rest of the vehicles have seating for three (bench seating). There are no moving trucks that seat four people.

Can a dog or cat ride in the truck?

You could place a pet in an open seat, secured in a carrier or seatbelt adapter. Avoid putting pets in the cargo area, as there is not proper ventilation. Check the rental agreement for restrictions on placing pets in the equipment. Learn more about moving pets long distance.

Questions about driving moving trucks

Do you have to stop at weigh stations?

Some states require trucks carrying household goods to stop at weigh stations. Before the trip, check with the Department of Transportation for each state you’ll be driving through to find out if you need to stop along the way. Read more about rental trucks at weigh stations.

How fast can you drive? What if you’re towing a trailer?

Most companies give the guidelines to obey the posted speed limit, however, a heavy, loaded truck may not be able to drive efficiently at high speeds. If towing a vehicle or trailer, there may be speed guidelines. For example, U-Haul says that the maximum recommended speed when towing is 55 MPH. Learn more about driving speeds when moving.

Can anyone else drive the truck?

You can add an additional driver in most cases, but there may be extra charges. According to Penske, you can add up to three additional drivers for a $10 fee per person. Additional drivers must meet the rental requirements. Other companies have similar policies.

It’s important to remember that no matter who is driving, the person who signs the contract is responsible for the equipment. If someone else is driving and has an accident, the person on the contract may be held financially responsible for any damage.

Do you have to buy insurance to drive the truck?

In most instances, adding any liability coverage or damage protection is optional. Talk with your auto, home/renter’s insurance agent to check coverage while moving — if damage isn’t covered, you may want to check on adding it.

Is a special license required to drive a truck?

No special license is required in most cases, since trucks are not considered commercial vehicles. You’ll just need a valid, government-issued driver’s license. However, U-Haul does require a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for 26-foot trucks in Quebec, Canada.

How old do you have to be to rent a moving truck?

U-Haul requires customers to be 16 to rent a trailer and 18 to rent a truck. Penske requires customers to be 18. Budget is a little different — in most states, they rent to customers 24 and over, but in some locations, they will rent to those age 18-23 with additional fees.

What if you don’t have a driver’s license or aren’t old enough to rent a moving truck?

For a long distance move, U-Pack is a great option. We require a credit card for reservations, so the age requirement is 18 (if you’re not 18, someone who can represent you could handle the move). U-Pack handles all transportation, so there’s no driving required on your part. Get a free moving quote to check rates.

Alternatives to moving truck rental

U-Pack is a great alternative to truck rental. And the prices may surprise you — especially for a long distance move (when considering the additional cost of fuel and liability coverage).

What are the perks of moving with U-Pack?

The biggest perk of U-Pack when comparing to a DIY service is that you don’t have to drive. Your belongings are transported to destination by an experienced driver. Transit times average just 2-5 business days, which means your belongings arrive quickly. You pay only for the space you use, and space can be added (more space in the trailer or additional equipment), so no worrying about running out of room. There’s no down payment or deposit, and the equipment is guaranteed once you reserve it. Prices include the equipment, transportation, fuel and standard liability coverage, and taxes do not apply. Get a free moving quote to compare.

Have any other questions?

If there are questions we haven’t answered, please ask! Leave us a comment below or call 800-413-4799, and we’ll be happy to help.


U-Haul® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc. Budget® is a registered trademark of Budget Truck Rental, LLC. Penske® is a registered trademark of Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P. Use of third-party trademarks or registered trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by such third-party.