Moving can prove a costly proposition, especially when you're renting a van or relying on professional movers. Your own trusty pickup truck or trailer might do the job quite nicely—saving you significant money in the bargain. But foul weather can turn your self-move strategy into a messy, difficult, or even dangerous endeavor unless you're properly prepared. Here are some essential considerations to make as you plan your adventure.
Use a Truck Tarp
The elements pay heed to no one, not even movers carrying a load of vulnerable belongings in the bed of a truck. If you're not certain of the weather forecast or you anticipate the worst for moving day, the easiest way to keep your items as dry as possible is to rent an enclosed vehicle such as a box van. But if you're determined to save money by using your own pickup truck, you can make this strategy work just fine—as long as you invest a few dollars in one or more truck tarps first.
Tough, flexible, weather-resistant truck tarps can keep the rain off of your antique wooden finishes and cardboard containers while also preventing loose objects from flying away in the wind. Modern truck tarps adhere to the truck bed with magnets, but you can still find the old-school grommeted kind if you just want to tie the tarp into place over your stuff. Take care to secure the edges tightly so wind can't get underneath the tarp and work part of it free. If you use a general-purpose tarp instead of one expressly designed for trucks, choose your material carefully. Truck tarps are commonly made of water-resistant vinyl, but some general-purpose tarps are mere canvas that offer no moisture barrier. Get in touch with a representative from a company like Lehman Awning Co to learn more.
Get Roadside Assistance Service
Whether you're trucking your worldly possessions across town or across the United States, you don't want to find yourself broken down on the road in a pounding hailstorm without professional roadside assistance coming to your rescue. But even if you clearly recall signing up for such a service, don't set off on your journey until you've taken a good hard look at your current coverage—or you might be in for some nasty surprises.
These days it's easy to obtain various kinds and degrees of roadside assistance through your credit card provider, your cellular service, or a dedicated automotive assistance program. But be warned that the "free" service you've been enjoying may apply only to an initial grace period, after which you were supposed to pay a recurring fee to keep the service. Did you follow up on this not-so-little detail? Additionally, many roadside assistance services allow you a limited number of trouble calls per year. If you've blown through one provider's annual usage limit already, sign up for another program through a different provider before you make your big move. Last but not least, make sure your roadside assistance covers the driver (you), not just whatever vehicle you were driving when you first signed up for the service (as might be the case if the automaker issued the coverage).
Make Extreme Weather Preparations
You may not have much control over the timing of a move. Your home might sell sooner or later than you'd figured on, or your employer might suddenly assign you to a different city or state. This means there's a good chance you might have to move your possessions across significant distances during a blazing Arizona summer or an icy Missouri winter. Extreme temperatures can put both your vehicle and your health at extreme risk, so make sure you cover the following bases before you go anywhere:
- Seasonal vehicle care—If you're moving in hot weather, get your vehicle's tire pressure, oil filter, coolant, and radiator checked by an automotive professional. If you're traveling through frigid temperatures, check your tire tread wear and consider adding snow chains to tires. Additionally, you'll want to check your wiper blades, brakes, bulbs, oil, and cooling system.
- Emergency supplies and equipment—Stash jugs of drinking water in your vehicle in case you find yourself stranded in the hot sun. Carry blankets, heavy clothing, and food to help yourself stay warm in the event that you're suddenly stopped in your tracks during a frigid winter move. Kitty litter, salt, or sand can all help you maneuver your car out of a snowbank.
Don't let foul weather foul up your efforts to move yourself as safely, efficiently, and affordably as possible. Tie down the truck tarps, confirm your roadside assistance coverage, and equip your vehicle for extreme conditions!