Need a pickup truck for a day or more? You can rent a pickup through a major rental car company or an outfit that specializes in truck rentals—but be sure to use every trick in the book to get the best rate possible. Here’s how to rent a cheap pickup truck.
Where Can I Rent a Pickup Truck?
All the major car rental companies—Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, National, Payless and Thrifty—rent both full-size pickups (Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado or similar) and smaller/midsize pickups (Nissan Frontier or similar). Hertz even offers its so-called American Collection, which includes the Dodge Ram 1500.
Of course, you can also rent trucks of different types from trucking companies like U-Haul and Penske or from home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot.
How to Save on a Pickup Truck Rental
Book early and track your reservation.
You should book your pickup truck as soon as you know that you need one. There are always deals out there, but if you don’t have the time to do hours of research, we can do that for you, for free. When you ask AutoSlash for a quote on a pickup truck, we automatically search publicly available discounts and coupons offered by major rental car companies.
When you ask for a quote, you’ll be prompted to select your desired vehicle type. Be sure to select “pickup truck” from the menu.
Unlike airline tickets, rental reservations can usually be canceled without a penalty. So if prices drop—as they often do—there’s no reason you can’t cancel and rebook at a cheaper rate. The best strategy is to book as early as possible, and then keep checking to see if prices go down.
If it sounds like a time-sucking chore to constantly check for lower rates, AutoSlash offers tracking as a free service. After you book your truck, ask AutoSlash to track your reservation. We’ll let you know if there’s a price drop before your pickup date, so you can cancel and rebook at the lower rate. Simply by tracking your reservation, we can help customers save 30 percent, on average.
Tell us about your memberships.
When you ask us for a quote, we keep track of all your memberships—from AAA to Costco to AARP and beyond—to make sure that you’re not missing out on any other discounts you are entitled to. This is how you can be sure you’re getting the very best rate, and it saves you hours of research time. Many of our customers have benefited from significant discounts for pickup rentals thanks to our process.
Check both on and off airport.
Flying in to your destination? An airport rental might be convenient, but it might also be pricey. Taxes at airport locations can push well past 30 percent, and a short bus or Uber ride to a nearby neighborhood rental location could cut your rate in half. But off-airport rates aren’t always cheaper, so it pays to check both.
Prepare to fork out for rental insurance.
If you own a car and have personal auto insurance, you may typically decline the car rental insurance when you rent a car. But your personal car insurance may not cover a pickup truck rental, so it always pays to check with your insurance provider to find out if there are limitations on your policy. Likewise, your credit card coverage is likely to exclude pickup truck rentals. It’s possible you are already covered, but it is wise to check before arriving at the rental car office.
Say “no thanks” to extras.
One sure way to jack up your price is to add unnecessary extra options. Most rental agents work on commission, and the bulk of profits come from sales of insurance and services you probably don’t need. So think long and hard before ticking the box on a service that can end up costing as much or more than the rental itself.
Belong to AAA? We recommend membership for the discounts alone. Membership will cover everything the rental company’s expensive roadside assistance does. And don’t fall for prepaid fuel options—it’s cheaper and just as easy to bring the car back full.
Your smartphone works as a GPS, so why spend $15 a day for one from the rental car company? Instead of spending $8 a day for satellite radio, play your own music—or download the TuneIn Radio app for access to hundreds of radio stations and podcasts.
The bottom line is that you can politely decline anything the agent recommends or even tries to strong-arm you into.
Play with your dates and times.
Sometimes adjusting your pickup and return times forward and/or backward by just a smidge can lead to savings. Even slight tweaks can affect rates significantly. For example, instead of reserving for your 12:00 am flight arrival, try checking rates for an 11:30 pm and 12:30 am pickup. A slight change to a new calendar day can sometimes drop rates by half, and picking up an hour or two before or after your scheduled arrival time is almost never a problem.