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Forum topic by Charlie posted 10-23-2013 01:25 PM 2529 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1100 posts in 2457 days

10-23-2013 01:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

This is WAAAaaaay early planning. Probably buying a vehicle next October. So….. early research. :)

I currently drive a 2005 Dodge Caravan. 4×8 sheets go in flat on the floor with all of the doors closed and I’ve put boards up to 10 ft in there as long as I only have a few and can slide them up between the front seats. Combined highway/city mileage is about 22mpg.

I’m 61 and I think I have most of my “major construction” behind me. My next vehicle will probably be a 2 or 3 year old vehicle. Highly doubt it will be brand new. I have been looking at used, extended cab pickups and usually they are either expensive or have a LOT of miles on them in the age range I’m looking. I like being able to go from full cargo to full passenger in a couple minutes (stow-n-go seats) and I need the ability to to have at least 4 people relatively comfortably in the vehicle.

Now, 99% of the time I’m NOT hauling anything but me. I’ve been toying with the idea of looking at a small cross-over or suv type vehicle. I’m pretty sure I could bring home 6 to 10 8ft boards in almost anything. I’m trying to figure out how you get a sheet of plywood home. Or how often I’d have to GET a full sheet home.

Small trailer? I’d have to figure out where I’m going to STORE a small trailer. And it has the expense of getting the trailer licensed and inspected every year. Rent a trailer when I need one? I guess that’s a possibility. I have no idea what that costs.

I guess I’m trying to find a comfortable vehicle that won’t drain my wallet at the gas pumps on the 1% chance I’ll need to haul something.

So what do YOU do?

14 replies so far

View sras's profile


4914 posts in 3300 days

#1 posted 10-23-2013 01:33 PM

You can rent a trailer a lot of times before you cover the cost of buying one. I’ve considered the same thing, but so far can’t let go of the idea of owning my pickup.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)


19210 posts in 2027 days

#2 posted 10-23-2013 01:36 PM

I have a great big crew cab diesel truck that tows a fifth wheel camper. That doesn’t help you. My wife has a Subaru forester that just turned 200,000 miles. That is an excellent all wheel drive vehicle that gets almost 30 mpg. It can tow about 2500 lbs. Great vehicle if you decide to get a little trailer, but not great for hauling long boards without the trailer. I would say go with the trailer option and small SUV. A little trailer is very easy to move around by hand and so storage is easier than with a larger trailer.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2457 days

#3 posted 10-23-2013 02:04 PM

Looks like I can rent a u-haul 5×9 trailer for about $20 a day. Maybe I should be looking at a vehicle that works for me during that 99% of the time I’m not hauling anything bigger than groceries. :)

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Gene Howe

10972 posts in 3599 days

#4 posted 10-23-2013 02:24 PM

If you really only need to haul long/wide materials 1% of the time, $20 per day to rent a trailer sounds good to me.
To haul our Polaris Ranger, we bought a 5X10 trailer with a ramp that serves as the “tail gate” for less than $1200. It’s light enough to roll around by hand. At $20 per day, 60 trips would pay for it.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3142 days

#5 posted 10-23-2013 02:47 PM

I have a small Suzuki SX4. It’s like a mini crossover SUV with AWD, a 2 liter engine and it’s real fun to drive, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say comfortable. Does get 30 mpg and has a trailer hitch.

After my truck got totaled I got a 5×8 trailer at TSC (Tractor Supply Corp) for about $599 and have hauled 500 BF of cherry on it.
I, for one, like having a small practical vehicle and a small trailer for other stuff. Used to have a pickup, but I can go twice as far on a gallon of gas in the Zuki.

They do make small trailers that stand on their end with casters on the frame that you can up=end and roll into a garage to store against the wall. I think Harbor Freight even sells one.

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2795 days

#6 posted 10-23-2013 03:27 PM

i have a chevy HHR with a rack on top. I fashioned the rack to support two 4’ 2×4s crossways. The x4s are fixed to the rack. Ply can go on top and any thing else to the ply. I used eye bolts, giving me tie down options. Works great. The HHR gets 33 on the highway and 27 in town.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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3447 posts in 3182 days

#7 posted 10-23-2013 03:51 PM

+A on what jumbojack said.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View DrDirt's profile


4491 posts in 3913 days

#8 posted 10-23-2013 04:48 PM

Most of the small SUV’s have roof racks on them.
Alternative is whether you need the full 4X8 – since most stores will break the sheet down for no extra charge

If you have a friend with a Pick-up that is a possibility for the 1 or 2 times a year you have something unworkably bulky.

I would go for the 99% solution. Of course I still have the F150 I bought in 1988 that I drive about 5-6 times a year.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View MT_Stringer's profile


3181 posts in 3402 days

#9 posted 10-23-2013 05:07 PM

My wife drives a Chevy Traverse and I have a Chevy 4 door pick up. I really like the smaller vehicle and it doesn’t cramp me while driving or riding shotgun. We have hauled several 8 foot 2×4’s but they come up into the driver compartment. 2×4 foot pieces of plywood fit with no problem. I guess one option is to have the store cut the ply in half or thirds, then if you need to, cut it with a battery powered saw before loading it.

I still use my truck for hauling lumber. If the weather is bad, I can put boards up to 4 foot in length n the back seat area as well as 2×4 pieces of ply.

Always been a Chevy guy and drove Blazers, pickups, Tahoes and Surburbans…and a Corvette, Camaro and a Chevelle. :-)

Good luck.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3211 days

#10 posted 10-23-2013 05:14 PM

A lot of Box Stores will also let you borrow/rent one of their Pickups to haul Lumber home with.

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2457 days

#11 posted 11-06-2013 04:05 PM

OK, well updating this as I am actively shopping for a vehicle now. Wife wants to keep her Passat at least another year and she told me I should replace the Caravan now.

“Yes, m’am!”

I’m looking at used vehicles in the $16,000 (ish) range. My niece works at a Hyundai dealership which is part of one of those big groups that handles just about any make and has locations all around the area.

Anyways…. right now I’m looking at the Hyundai Santa Fe with a 6 cylinder. I drove one with a 4 and it sounded like a frightened sewing machine when I nailed the gas pedal. The 6 is like night and day difference. (175HP 4 cylinder vs 275HP 6)

8 foot boards will stick out about 20 inches if I have many of them. If I just need a few I can pass them between the front seats and get them completely inside. It’ll tow 3500 pounds, but I’ll never come close to that. It WILL have a hitch receiver on it and I already found I can rent a trailer from u-haul for 15 or 20 bucks a day if I need to move a lawn tractor or snow blower or pick up some plywood. The truck rental from HD here is $20 an HOUR so the trailer would make more sense. And I don’t buy much GOOD lumber from HD anyways.

Not married to getting a Santa Fe yet. I found 2 in my price range. A 2009 and a 20010. Neither has over 28K miles on it and both are still in the original warranty. The 2010 has 2 years or 33K miles left on the bumper-to-bumper warranty. Since retiring, my driving is probably down to something under 10K per year. Oh and NEITHER of the 2 I found is within the group of dealers my niece works at (figures, right?) so they are trying to work out a dealer trade or something to get one of them to sell to me. If that works out, fine. If not…then I buy either something else from within the group or I go to one of the dealers that has what I want (sorry, Ashley).

99.9% of the time it’s just me and some groceries or me and the wife going somewhere. But I want to be ABLE to go pick up a few boards easily and have the OPTION of getting a trailer to get bigger stuff. Oh and I need seating for 4. I started this adventure thinking I wanted a crew cab pickup, but man…. they are just so much more expensive going in and all the ones I liked would punish me every time I pulled up to a gas pump.

So I’m kinda narrowing it down to SUV/Crossover type vehicles and they have to have a 6 cylinder and they have to be able to tow.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3142 days

#12 posted 11-06-2013 07:36 PM

Might look at Mazda.
Their small SUV/Crossover type vehicles are pretty nice.
My son works for Ford and said they share a lot of parts with the small Fords.

Also know a couple folks who love the Santa Fe.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2457 days

#13 posted 11-07-2013 12:11 AM

crank49, yessir. Actually the Mazdas are part of my scan. I look for and CX5, CX7, or CX9 that comes along and see if it fits my needs and budget. So far…. nobody seems to want to get rid of one with low mileage AND fitting my budget :)

OPh, and my wife’s brother has a small pickup. The size of a Ford Ranger. It’s a Mazda. And on the door post where it has the VIN and specs and stuff it says Made by Ford Motor Company plain as day. Basically… a Mazda badged Ford. :)

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2457 days

#14 posted 11-09-2013 12:11 AM

Got the 2010 Santa Fe. It’s a 6 cylinder and has a factory installed towing package. So upgraded radiator and fans AND a hitch receiver with lighting plug. When I got home I was showing my wife the storage and found a plain cardboard box, still sealed in a compartment. It was the drawbar and pins for the hitch. Never used. There was also a first aid kit. Also still sealed. It only has 24K miles on it. Still has 20 months or 36K miles on the factory bumper-to-bumper warranty. Came with free oil changes for as long as I own it AND a brand spankin’ new set of tires. No excuses for not changing the oil on time now, huh? I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised at how it handles. It’s a lot more fun to drive than the Dodge Caravan I traded in. Kinda “sporty” for an SUV. But then, I’ve never owned an SUV before so maybe that’s how they are.

And quiet? Man, it’s SUPER quiet inside.

I still have to come to grips with the fact that it’s eventually going to have to get dirty. :) And that the dogs are going to scratch up the driver’s door when they greet me pulling in. But….. I’m pretty happy. :)

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