In a few months my beautiful wife and I will...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 2001

Dear Tom and Ray:

In a few months, my beautiful wife and I will be moving across the country, from San Francisco to Ithaca, N.Y. My dilemma is this: I am torn between the option of driving my car and towing a small trailer (which would force us to sell much of our stuff) and the option of renting a U-Haul truck and towing my car behind it. While the U-Haul option would clearly put less mileage and wear and tear on my 1994 Acura Vigor, it would also be much more expensive -- $1,100 more, to be exact ($1,700 vs. $600). What would you guys suggest? -- Oliver

TOM: Oliver, did your beautiful wife know that she was marrying such a cheapskate when she exchanged vows with you? Or are you just coming out of the closet now?

RAY: And did she know that you were going to move her from balmy San Francisco to ice-encrusted Ithaca? And sell all her stuff?!

TOM: Well, we'll write to her separately, but there's no question in my mind that you should rent the truck, Ollie. It might cost $1,700, but a new car when you get to Ithaca is going to cost you $17,000. And if you pull a heavy trailer over the Rockies and across the country at highway speed with a car that was never designed to pull heavy loads, you certainly will shorten the life of its engine and transmission.

RAY: Plus, those 5-by-8-foot trailers that U-Haul rents are dangerous, in my opinion. They blow around in the wind, they're skittish in the rain and, personally, I'd hate to drive 3,000 miles towing one of them. Unless, of course, I could keep my brother in it.

TOM: So suck it up and rent the truck, Oliver. Remember, it's the stingy man who spends the most. And count your blessings -- the money you'll save on housing costs alone getting out of San Francisco should more than cover the cost of the truck ... in a couple of weeks.

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