Who knew buying a couch off Facebook Marketplace could be so thrilling? After going to look at a like new leather couch and quickly realizing that there was absolutely no way in Hell it would fit in our Subaru Outback (thanks partly to the seller’s very inaccurate measurements, and partly to our hopeless optimism), we had to think quick. U-Haul is always a safe bet. But at $19.95 for the day plus a seemingly high $1.29 per mile for their 8′ pickup truck, we knew better options existed. Enter Home Depot.
For those unfamiliar, Home Depot offers what they call “Load ‘N Go Rentals which features a fleet of four practical vehicles to rent including a Ford Transit 250 based flatbed, a Ford Transit 250 Cargo Van, a Ford Transit 250 based box truck, or my choice for the day: the Ford F-250 XL with an 8 foot flatbed.
Unlike their direct competitor U-Haul, you can rent these vehicles for as little as 75 minutes, starting at only $19 with unlimited mileage. It’s an additional $5 charge for every 15 minutes thereafter. This made it the perfect, cheaper choice to quickly move an impulse driven couch purchase a total of 9 miles.
U-Haul prides themselves on offering the largest fleet of new trucks in the business, alongside the convenience of a 24/7 app called Truck Share that lets you pick up and return anytime, day or night using just your phone. Home Depot, well they make you wait in the same customer service line people attempting to pick up an online order, handle a return, or locate a lost child. But once an associate is free, and the phone stops ringing long enough for them to ask how they can help, you’ll be behind the wheel in no time!
After handing the gentleman working the computer my license, a copy of my current insurance, and a valid credit card, I quickly signed a contract that I didn’t bother reading, and was handed the key. I was told, and I quote, “It’s parked somewhere near the back of the side lot. If it has less than a full tank, lemme know.” With that extremely confidence-inspiring comment, I headed out to find the truck.
Luckily it’s pretty hard to miss a heavily wrapped F-250 with a giant metal 8-foot flatbed. Upon walking up to it, I was immediately taken aback by just how filthy it was. That’s another thing U-Haul seems to do very well: take pride in their equipment. This truck feels more like an overworked intern than a valued coworker. I did my quick walk around, making sure to document some of the more serious dents and marks, and walked over to the driver door.
XL Series Ford trucks have the strangest key. For whatever reason, the key blade is rotated 90 degrees from the plastic top of the key. It definitely takes a few extra seconds to put the key in the cylinder and turn it. At least once you open the door, you’re greeted with the finest interior Dearborn could design.
See, in my defense, all the dirt made it look more like a King Ranch than an XL. This truck was the fleet special: vinyl bench seats, manual locks and windows, vinyl floors, and no cruise control, all propelled by the 6.2L V8 gasser engine. As I turned the awkward key into the ignition, I was hoping for a full tank and no warning lights.
The truck turned right over and I immediately breathed a sigh of relief as the gas gauge pointed right at that “F”. I closed the door and was finally able to see just how used this 2018 truck was. 50,179 miles. Considering most of that mileage was done in 75 minute bursts, this rig was absolutely used as a work truck. But credit to the vinyl, the seats still looked and felt new. After a quick, albeit limited seat adjustment, I remembered that I literally was on borrowed time, and pushed the column mounted shifter into reverse.
Unfortunately being an early-built 2018 truck, I did not have a backup camera. And with the giant metal rack combined with manual, barely adjustable mirrors, rear visibility wasn’t as great as you’d expect. Luckily, I was able to find comfort and confidence in the optioned backup alarm, which does a hell of a job at warning people to watch out. It was time to hit the road.
Despite not having the costly diesel option, this truck had plenty of power. With 385-hp and a class-leading 430 lb-ft of torque, I had no issues keeping up with traffic. The ride was surprisingly quiet too, with the aftermarket metal bed creating the most noise. This was especially evident every time I hit a bump in the road, which would likely go completely unnoticed in higher-trimmed trucks. My truck definitely needed brake work done based on the constant grinding sound and pulsating pedal, but I can’t hold that against Ford. After all, they more than likely were still the original pads and rotors.
Another big win for Ford would be their air conditioning. I don’t know what their secret is, but Ford trucks seem to have some of the strongest, coldest air conditioning in the industry. Within a couple of minutes the cabin was genuinely cold. The standard radio was, however, a different story. Seemingly unchanged since the mid 2000s, the only “modern” amenity was a 3.5mm aux input, which my Google Pixel 6 Pro was unable to use due to its lack of a headphone jack. After finally finding an FM station that wasn’t playing commercials, I got to experience the 4-speaker sound system in all it’s glory. After about 10 minutes, I came to the conclusion that it at least had a radio.
Back at the couch seller’s apartment, I threw the hazards on and backed up as close to the curb as possible. Home Depot’s aftermarket flatbed is quite nice because all three sides are able to easily fold down. The bed floor is covered in tie-downs, and there’s even a built in ramp! We quickly loaded the couch, covered it with some moving blankets, and used some ratchet straps to prevent anything from blowing away. Once the tailgate was locked back in place, we were back on the road.
It was a pretty short, 9 mile drive back to our house. The good news was that it was entirely back roads, meaning I never had to go above 35 MPH or worry about red lights. The bad news is that these back roads were narrow, winding, and still somewhat wet from yesterday’s rain shower. You don’t realize just how wide this truck is until you’re on a narrow “bridge” with no shoulder and it feels like you’re about to either kiss the guardrail or trade paint with the SUV in the opposing lane. These rougher roads also allowed me to enjoy constant rattles and crashes which always made me worry I had broken something.
As we arrived back home, I quickly backed the truck into the driveway and realized the time. Home Depot was 10-minutes away, and we only had 21-minutes left on our rental. Quickly unloading the couch and leaving it in the driveway in front of our two cars, I hopped back in the rental and headed off to return this coworker. Luckily, the fuel tank held a whopping 34 gallons, and hadn’t moved off the “full” marker. I was back in the Home Depot Parking Lot with 6-minutes to spare.
Quickly taking some more photos to document it’s location, fuel level, mileage, and condition, I hustled inside and got stuck in a three-person deep line at the counter. I began wondering if they’d be able to roll back my return time since I was stuck waiting. To my shock, the line moved incredibly quick and I was being helped with 4 minutes to spare on my 75-minute rental. There was no final walk-around. She didn’t ask for the mileage when I returned it. She wouldn’t have even checked the fuel level if I didn’t show her the photo. I signed one paper and was told that I’d have the deposit refunded to my card in about 3-business days.
When all was settled, this rental cost me $25.26. And for that, it was a fantastic vehicle. Next time you impulsively make a large furniture or appliance purchase, I’d definitely recommend this over the competition. Unless you absolutely need to keep the truck overnight, you can’t beat the savings and convenience. The couch is pretty nice too, even though our dogs are getting more use out of it than we do most nights.