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What to Do if a Rental Truck Breaks Down

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Renting a moving truck and handling your move on your own can be a cost-effective and manageable option for certain types of moves. However, eliminating the moving company from the equation results in additional responsibility on you if something goes wrong during the trip.

Rental Truck Breaks Down

Find out the best way to handle your rental truck breaking down, and steps you can take to avoid the unfortunate situation in the first place.

Do the research and find a company

While it may be too late to do this once you're already behind the wheel of a sputtering trailer, While it may be too late to do this once you're already behind the wheel of a sputtering trailer, you can prevent these unfortunate mishaps by carefully selecting your truck rental agency before your move. Research your options thoroughly, read reviews, and check the company's profile on the Better Business Bureau to see if they have any outstanding complaints. Remember that many truck rental companies are franchised, so each individual location may be responsible for maintaining and servicing the trucks.

Before you drive the truck off the lot, you should have the opportunity to inspect the vehicle and ask the company representative questions about its condition.

  • When was the last time the truck was serviced?
  • Has it ever been in any accidents?
  • Has it had any other repairs?

Make sure you have answers to all your questions and request a different truck if you suspect there is anything wrong with it.

Read the fine print

Every truck rental agency handles the issue of break downs and accidents differently. Before signing the contract, read the specific terms and conditions thoroughly and ask any questions if you do not understand. There should be a clause somewhere in the document explaining what to do if your truck breaks down, if you are responsible for the repairs, or if the company will reimburse you. If you do not purchase insurance on the truck, you may be considered liable. Make sure you are comfortable with the terms and there is no confusion before you rent the truck.

Tip: Don't forget to bring your policy and membership information with you during your trip.

Pull over to a safe place

If your rental truck begins sputtering, hesitating, making any strange sounds, or dragging in one direction, pull over to a safe area on the side of the road. You don't want to completely break down in the middle of highway where you would be in danger of being hit by another vehicle. Light on your emergency lights so you are visible to other drivers and turn off the truck.

Call the truck rental company

Find your truck rental contract. Make sure you always keep a copy as well as copies of any other important rental documents in the truck with you during your trip. Most truck rental companies have a roadside assistance or emergency number to call in case of an accident or vehicle failure. So, if you're having problem with your rental truck, contact the company and explain what happened in detail and provide your location, being as specific as possible.

The company may provide you with additional instructions and explain how they will handle the situation. They can send you a tow truck out to retrieve the broken-down trailer as well as send you a replacement truck so you can transfer your belongings and continue your trip.

Stay in the vehicle

While you are waiting for assistance, it's a good idea to remain in the truck with the doors locked, especially if it is dark. You may not be visible to other drivers if you get out to inspect the truck. If you are traveling alone, it could be unsafe to get out of the vehicle and draw attention to the fact that you are helplessly stuck on the side of the road with a truckload of valuable belongings.

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on April 2, 2014

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