The Evolution of U-Haul Trailers

Jan 19, 2016

U-Haul trailers have come a long way from the first trailers that rolled into service in 1945. The evolution of U-Haul trailers has been a thoughtful process to ensure the best product for the customers.  The very first trailers used old automobile rear ends for undercarriages. Within a couple years, however, U-Haul was designing and building its own trailers.

Today, U-Haul has applied their know-how acquired over the last 70 years to build the most state-of-the-art, durable trailers in the do-it-yourself moving industry. Here’s a look at U-Haul trailers and how they’ve evolved over the years.

1946 U-Haul Trailer $2 day


Some of the very first U-Haul trailers had wooden sides, emblazoned with “$2.00 PER DAY.” In 1946, the first one-way trailer rental went to Seattle. By 1948, U-Haul had a fleet of about 200 trailers and was renting them one-way throughout the U.S.




Tarp Top Trailer



In 1949, U-Haul introduced tarp-top trailers, which were the forerunners of today’s van-type trailers.






U-Haul started producing dual-axle trailers in 1959, and the first 6’ x 12’ RV trailers rolled off the assembly lines in 1969. At this point, U-Haul offered 19 different trailer sizes and models—the widest selection in the industry.






In the 1990s, U-Haul modernized its trailer fleet, including the use of fiberglass reinforced plywood (FRP) on the sides. Trailer production ramped up dramatically to meet growing demand. By 2004, all of the U-Haul one-way trailer models had been modernized.





Many of the early U-Haul open trailers were cut-down versions of van trailers. In 2000, U-Haul started producing galvanized open trailers. In 2002, U-Haul unveiled a 5’ x 9’ galvanized ramp trailer (RT) for one-way rentals—a U-Haul exclusive. And in 2009, we produced RTs that included an integrated motorcycle chock to help secure motorcycles—another U-Haul exclusive.






In 2010, swing doors were added to the 5’ x 8’ AV. Other new features included a lower profile for better fuel economy, more D-rings for added tie-down locations and more water resistance.




As you can see, U-Haul trailers have consistently evolved over many years in order to provide our customers with the Right Equipment at the Lowest Cost.

Have you ever towed a U-Haul trailer? Tell us about your towing experience in the comments section.

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