Truck-Loaning Etiquette 101, Part 1: So You Want to Borrow My Pickup

Truck Barrow 2 II

By G.R. Whale

Sooner or later a buddy will find a great deal on a boat, apartment or car and ask to borrow your pickup truck. With any luck he or she will know not to request your showpiece, long-term project or fresh-off-the-lot new truck. With the help of a few common-sense rules, you'll still be buddies when your truck is returned.

I've borrowed vehicles from at least 50 people throughout the decades, everything from Porsches, Mercedes-Benzes and Cadillac limos to pickup trucks, flat and dump trailers. Nothing's been stolen, but flat tires and rocks have happened. Because we followed some simple guidelines, my friends and I are still on speaking and loaning terms.

The truck owner is taking a risk for you, so practice risk management while the truck is in your possession. Drive defensively; accidents do occur and it bodes well for you to show you weren't speeding or texting, were sober and using signals, and didn't have the truck overloaded. Park it with safety in mind: in a garage if you have it or off the street if you don't.

Loaner and loanee should both check with their insurance agents about coverage. In most cases, the policy of the person lending the vehicle is the primary insurance in the event of an accident. If the loanee has a license but no car or insurance, make sure he understands in advance that he's on the hook for any deductible if things go wrong.

Make sure the loanee knows the location of the registration documents, just in case. Give the truck a thorough once-over to make sure the owner hasn't left behind personal items, especially those that might get both of you in trouble.

Ensure everyone is on the same page about what the truck will be used for, the approximate miles that will be driven and when it will be returned. If the loanee will be towing, he should use his own tow ball on rusty trailer tongues, and he should provide bed protection and tie-downs for loads in the pickup bed.

Know how to work everything and what grade fuel the pickup uses. Locking gas caps or wheel lugs without keys can create problems as do uninflated or missing spare tires. Make sure the loanee has what he needs before he takes off. Also make sure the loanee knows the vehicle's quirks — things like finicky fuel gauge or speedometers, gears that don't work or how the theft-protection system works.

Unless the loanee is a regular truck driver, make sure he or she knows the dimensions of your truck, including the height. I've driven plenty of stock pickup trucks that will not fit into residential garages; people driving unfamiliar, large vehicles forget to look up, account for footwide mirrors or remember the bus-size turning radius.

If the truck has memory seats, make sure the owner's is set before you start adjusting. Don't put your own setting in and do not change the radio presets, navigation destinations list, owner's phone book or anything else. If out-of-town family members are borrowing the truck, verify that "home" is set in the nav system.

Don't eat or smoke in the truck unless the owner does and approves you to do the same. I don't ride with anyone a borrowed-truck owner hasn't met beforehand. Your wet hunting dog or workout gear don't go on the seats, nor does ketchup or hot fudge.

Have a breakdown plan — what you'll do if the truck stops. I've been told "take it to the dealer," "call my cellphone" and "leave it DRT [dead right there]." I'm capable of rebuilding an engine but some owners prefer I do no more than change a fuse or fan belt.

If the loan requires putting significant miles on the truck, ask the owner if it's due for maintenance of any kind during your loan window and how to handle it. An oil change usually costs less than a daily rental, even at some dealers, so consider offering to have that done.

In part two, we'll cover how to return the truck.



When I loan my Ford I give my friend/family member my AAA info because it is guaranteed to break down on them.

Never lend out your truck.....period.If someone needs to pick up something or tow something,you do it for them.Don't lend out your truck,you'll be sorry if you do.

lohchief, well stated!

@lohchief: I have to large a family to do that. I would never work!

Good news is they do pay me to borrow it (sometimes).

I also agree with lohchief; lend the use of the truck, not the truck itself. That way you know it won't be overloaded or mistreated. You're also the one who knows its quirks and personality, so your truck won't scare the borrower half to death when it does something you're already familiar with.

I don't lend out my truck I will drive somewhere with someone to pickup something for them, but I don't trust anybody.

Must a another slow news day


Obviously, you never read these comments anymore, but I'm going to try to plead with you anyways, I hope others go along with me.

Please start TESTING TRUCKS AGAIN. These fluff pieces are B.S. There was a time when putc was the first source to get news, rumors, and tech specs, but now poorly writen fluff pieces dominate this site.

I can tolerate the mindnumingly immature posts in the comments, when the article actually contains technical info. But having an article about truck borrowing is absolutely stupid.

Three trucks that can be tested, and haven't been even though they have been on sale for quite awhile:
1) Ram HD Hemi 66rfe (true six speed). This combo has been on sale for over a year and pickup enthusiasts still have seen no test on a pickuptruck website. The last shoot out showed the 5 speed ram on the heals of the domestic counterparts while having less displacement and less gear.
2) Ram 1500 hemi 8 speed. This combo has been available for almost half a year now, with not even a mention if an up coming test. How does it compair to the EB?
3) Ram HD Cummins HO with Aisin 6 speed and Standard Output Cummins with 68rfe. I understand these have just started showing up on lots, but at least get the ball rolling. I have read on a couple of forums that the new 2013 standard output Cummins has dyno'd, to the wheels, over 700 ft lbs of torque to the wheels. That is ~100 more then the outgoing trucks and more the ford and GM were previously dyno'd. What has Chrysler/Cummins done to improve power to the wheels, besides def.

I know with these trucks I have suggested, that I sound like a butt-hurt Ram fan, but I would love to read tests about other manufacturers as well


When I loan my Ford I give my friend/family member my AAA info because it is guaranteed to break down on them.

Posted by: FordTRucks1 | May 16, 2013 7:40:44 AM

I hear ya FordTRucks1. I loaned my 2011 Super Duty out to my buddy with 60,100 miles on the clock. While pulling his flat bottom boat back from the dock it dropped a transmission. Needless to say I was out the cost for a new trans. If Ford had a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty like all the others I would not have been in that mess. Never again is all I can say.


I'd rather be the driver. If someone needs help, I will come with my truck. I got roped into helping a wife's friend's husband. The numbnut was going to put 20 135lb bags of landscaping gravel into his minivan but the supply store told him NO.
I took 15 which put me at 2000 lb and he took the rest. The guy is a crappy driver to boot.

I've refused to help tow a stuck vehicle because extrication would cause more damage to the vehicle. That is within the city limits. If I'm in a remote area, I'll go out of my way to help a stranded/stuck vehicle unless it is a lost cause and I'll get into trouble too.
Discretion is always the better part of valour.
if your gut says NO, it is always best to follow your instincts.

Rental companies exist for a reason.

I myself will never loan my truck, but will almost never refuse to lend a hand, and take the time to help a friend in need, with my truck if necessary, about the only time I will refuse to help, if is I have asked them to help me in the past, and they refused me.

FORD couldn't afford a 100k powertrain warranty in their trucks. My boss is a "die hard FORD man" but he can afford to trade 'em in a couple hundred miles before 60k because they start falling apart. He had an '05 and kept it a few thousand past 60k because he was going through a divorce and he was a nervous wreck! She ended up getting stuck with that truck in the divorce because the boss had a great attorney!

Never would and never will loan my truck. Those that ask to borrow, have poor quality vehicles and don't maintain them at all, either.

Easy answer: NO. Same as with CDs/DVDs/books/chainsaws/good power tools.

If it's close family, I am borrowed with the truck. Others? "Try U-Haul. They rent pickups."

to many ford hater bull crapers, dont lend your truck.

i borrowed a friends truck (a ford :) ) to get my drivers license which i passed and i brought it back washed and with a full tank. i also bought a couple tim hortons coffees and donuts. it went over very well. respect the person and their vehicle and things will go very well.

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