What would you do? Bad mechanical condition & driveability of rental moving trucks

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by chipNanna, Jan 18, 2022.

  1. chipNanna

    chipNanna Bobtail Member

    Jan 18, 2022
    Edit: I put the wrong truck sizes, we went from 16 ft to 26 ft! Hello, I'm looking for advice from experienced truckers. We are moving from FL to PA, as my husband is changing jobs. We've already been delayed one week due to Penske renting us a truck that was not available, they called us one day before pick-up to tell us they had ZERO availability (reservation done over the phone talking to an actual person). I'm concerned that the truck we currently have is going to be a problem (safety and how it might affect my husband physically, as he is the one who will be driving it, with me driving our car) due to how much it shakes. You will see why we had to accept this truck after you read the rest of this. When we test drove it on the highway while empty, it shook a lot, but we're hoping it will be better after loading). My husband says that the alignment is not great, but the truck we first left the Penske lot with was much, much worse - we had to turn down 2 other trucks before leaving their lot yesterday - here's the problems we've had over this past week:

    At first we reserved a truck with Budget, and when we stopped in the store to see the actual truck we'd get, just a few days before we were supposed to leave, the condition was extremely bad, bald tires all around, they told us they did not have any other trucks available, could not change the tires in time for us to leave, and nothing else was available, not even larger ones, not even at other locations up to 50 miles away. Since it was a small Avis rental office, they said the only thing we could do was to call Roadside Assistance, which would take so long that we would not be able to load it and leave on time. (We live in FL where availability is a huge problem). All of the trucks on their lot were in terrible condition.

    So, we kept our reservation to be safe in case we couldn't find another company with availability, hoping we could find another rental company with a truck available, knowing it would be difficult, especially since, in our area, renting at the last minute makes the price go sky high. UHaul had very little available, but at over twice the price, which we could not afford, as we're working with very little money, but we found availability on the Penske website. We started doing the reservation online, but ended up calling them and finishing it over the phone. They told us that they take very good care of their trucks, and that none of them are older than 3 years old. We also got a great price, and the office where the truck is located is a big location where they have a garage and do maintenance on their trucks. Plus, we liked the fact that the rental was for 6 days for Penske, vs 5 days for Budget, as it would've given us an extra day to get the truck loaded. (My husband has to do most of the lifting by himself, he's in his 60s as I have a back and neck problem.) After securing the reservation with Penske, we cancelled our Budget truck.

    The day before we were supposed to pick up our Penske truck, they called us and said it was NOT available, and that they had NO availability for any truck of any size, not at ANY location. We told them we were willing to drive a long distance to pick up a truck, as my husband has to start his new job and we have to get up to PA, but they had ZERO availability. We asked them how was that possible? Their website showed tons of trucks available, and we did the reservation over the phone with an actual person, how did they not know? The manager of the office said he had lots of people who rented trucks that were not available, so he was scrambling to call all of these people and try to find them trucks on later dates. (There had been a storm up North, so maybe a lot of trucks never made it back on time?)

    The next available truck was ONE WEEK AWAY. We knew we had no choice, as Budget and other companies had no availability, esp. at the last minute, and by this time, even UHaul had very little, and we literally did not have the extra money for the price of UHaul. So, my husband had to call his new boss and tell them we would be delayed an entire WEEK. Penske gave us an extra 10% off, but that did not match much with it delaying us an entire week, but it was better than nothing.

    So they had a bunch of trucks come in, but due to the time frame, we wondered if they had time for the mechanics to check the trucks that just came in, we worried a bit about that. We went to pick up our 16 ft. Penske truck yesterday. Some of the tires were bald. The manager changed us to another 16 ft truck he had on the lot, and some of the tires on it were not very good, my husband asked if they could change the 2 tires that looked bad, since we'd be driving in snow, ice, & rain, but he said there was nobody there in the shop to do it, as it was a weekend. So we accepted it, drove away in it, me following my husband in the car. We got about a mile away, and my husband did a U-turn. The alignment was so bad that he could barely hold onto the steering wheel, could barely keep it on the road.

    The manager said they had no other 16 ft trucks available, so we switched us, again, to a larger, 26 ft International diesel truck, and that was okay with us, my husband has a lot of experience driving a truck at his job that's almost exactly like this one, but at the airport at not more than 15 mph, but, my husband used to have a CDL, and is a very good mechanic, so he understands certain things. We got home and my husband said he wanted to drive it at speed on the highway because it seemed like the alignment on it was not so good either, but not nearly as bad as the previous truck. (These rental truck companies do not do proper maintenence on their trucks, so we don't expect perfection, but we do expect to be able to drive it safely and for the alignment to not be so bad that you can't hold on to the steering wheel). I rode with him, and even at only 50 mph, it shook so bad I, myself, would not be able to ride in that truck for more than a couple hours, so thank goodness I'm driving our car up North, but I was concerned about him driving it 1100 miles. It got a little better at 60, but not much, and my husband said that MAYBE it would drive better after being loaded. Also, there was some damage to the back of the truck that they said they were not aware of, but not mechanical - we pointed it out on the walk around of the truck, so we really wondered how long it had been since the truck was inspected. We took photos and the manager asked us to email them to him, as they were not aware.

    Maybe we should not have accepted this truck, but we felt we had no choice, especially due to the fact that we had just turned down two other trucks they tried to give us, and with the lack of availability of other companies. If we delay our trip again, and they do find another truck, it could have issues too, as from all of the trucks we've seen at both Penske and Budget, they are ALL in bad shape - and when we were in a shopping plaza yesterday where they have some UHaul trucks for rent at an Ace Hardware, we looked at them, and they all had bad tires and looked very old and not in good condition.

    On the paperwork, this truck has 191,000 miles, which is not too bad for an International truck, but who knows when it was last serviced, especially due to covid, since parts are hard to get, and since these rental truck companies do not do maintenance like they should. Now, my husband is wondering if he will be able to physically handle driving this truck for 6 to 8 hours a day for 3 days. He told me that after we get it loaded, if it drives the same or worse, we will likely have no choice but to call Penske. My husband quit his job to take this new job in PA, and is VERY worried that since we were already delayed once due to the lack of availability and due to the other company's truck having bald tires, that he will lose his new job, that they won't believe what happened to us with the truck, as availability problems are more of a Florida thing, so maybe people up North don't understand. (We are both from up North, and moved back to FL 4 years ago, and regret it, we have always disliked FL for many reasons, that's why my husband got a job up North.)

    What should we do if this truck ends up being too physically brutal to drive due to the shaking? Call the manager at the Penske location, or call roadside assistance, or call Penske corporate? According to what we've seen over the past week, it seems like we have no choice but to accept the truck we have, no matter how bad it shakes, because the other trucks were worse. But, if we do, what happens if my husband cannot physically handle the shaking of this truck after driving it for many hours? He is in great shape for his age, but physical condition really does not have much to do with being able to handle driving a truck that's shaking like this.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
    Reason for edit: added info
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  3. Magoo1968

    Magoo1968 Heavy Load Member

    Mar 18, 2021
    St Malo mb
    Don’t forget to leave a detailed review on their site. Fla to pa isn’t too bad just drive slow and save fuel if shake gets to bad maybe another state location can swap units.
    chipNanna Thanks this.
  4. chipNanna

    chipNanna Bobtail Member

    Jan 18, 2022
    Thank You very much, I really appreciate your advice. It's a good idea to maybe change in another state. And we did ask the manager of the local office to make a note about how this one is shaking too, so if it gets worse or causes major problems, at least they will be aware of it already. We just hated to have to complain AGAIN, about the 3rd one they gave us, plus, we know that any truck that they might replace it with would probably not be much better. One of the problems is that the state laws in FL allow vehicles to be very unsafe - when we lived in Massachusetts, they were very strict about the condition of vehicles on the roads. Thankfully we are not going to try to drive more than 6 to 8 hours daily, so that's better than driving straight through like we used to do in our 20s, 30s, & 40s. Also, the truck is governed to 65 mph, which slows down our trip enough, but my husband says that he thinks that due to the condition of the truck, that 60 mph is about the highest it would be safe to drive at.
  5. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Henderson, NV & Orient
    If the truck is that bad, set the cruise control on 55 or 60 and just go.
    People around where I live are driving to New Mexico to get a decent rental truck.
  6. Val_Caldera

    Val_Caldera Heavy Load Member

    Apr 2, 2021
    Triad, NC

    Penske, Nationwide, In MY Opinion, has a sordid history of NON Quality Equipment.

    In '18 I worked for a Driver Service (Greensboro, NC) and the 10 speed Manual, 10 wheel day cab Penske Truck we needed was stated to be "In Excellent Shape".
    It "went through the shop" with emphasis on "through".
    That was a Friday 1700 hours.
    Sunday it was discovered to be 5 Gallons LOW On Motor Oil, yep, "quality & well maintained equipment". Ryder and Budget basically identical.
    - - - -
    Front End Shaking Can Be ANY or ALL Of The Steering and Suspension Linkages as well Completely WORN OUT Shocks and, of course, Unbalanced/No Balanced Wheels.
    If The Motor Oil, When HOT, Is Sludge, Good Luck.

    Swapping at another Facility would be fun with reloading the Load yet Hopefully, If such occurs, and not a repeat DUD, you 2 acquire a Better, Safer Model!

    PLEASE Keep US Updated.
  7. wis bang

    wis bang Road Train Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Levittown, PA
    We lease our fleet from Penske we are supposed to get a replacement when one goes down for extended service but most fo the time they don't have any.
    tscottme Thanks this.
  8. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    This isn’t new, was at uhaul last September to get a hitch ball and someone was ready to get a uhaul for a one way move. They had a Ryder 26 foot box truck with a bad tire all loaded up ready to go. After pleading with Ryder, they would not replace the tire. so the girl in front of the line heard what he was going through and made a suggestion …

    take a metal spike, position it to rip into the tire and run it over, destroying the tire and forcing them to replace the tire.

    I don’t know if he did that but I do know that would force Ryder to replace the tire.
    Chinatown Thanks this.
  9. Trucker61016

    Trucker61016 Heavy Load Member

    Sep 18, 2017
    Linville, Va
    Just wanna know if you plan on writing a book ?? This was a gripping story.....
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